Pavillon de Chavannes Cote de Brouilly Beaujolais 2009
Gamay from Beaujolais, France
Highly scented and finely—fine is the adjective that comes to mind—concentrated wines. It helps too that winemaking here is traditional and simple, with little extraction in the modern sense (Pavillon's wine could well be labeled the antithesis of modern extracted power).
The Wine Advocate - "The Chavannes 2009 Cote de Brouilly Cuvee des Ambassades (their prestige bottling, price notwithstanding) is complexly scented with red currant, kirsch, fresh blackberry, violet, and lavender. Firm and bright on the palate, it offers hints of crushed stone, salt, and beef juices, along with pungent herbs and tart berry skin, leading to a long, fascinating, if understated finish. Don't look for the sweet overt ripeness or exuberance more characteristic of the vintage here – and I wouldn’t doubt that the wine really is under 13% alcohol as its "12.5" inscription intimates – but follow this excellent value over the next 3-4 years and you will be richly rewarded by a versatile dinner companion. "
Pavillon de Chavannes Winery
On the flanks of an extinct volcano, the Mont Brouilly, first planted by the Romans, our vineyard is situated in an exceptionally beautiful landscape of growing vines which many observers from the French novelist Colette to Pierre Salinger have found hightly attractive. The summit of the volcano belonged to the estate and part was donated for the construction of the Chapel Lady of Brouilly in the celebration of the victory over vine mildew by the Beaujolais.
The Lafond family whose head was a peer of the French realm and the adminsitrator of the Bank of France sold Chavannes to Pierre Jambon Chanrion in 1861 and it is his grandchildren who still run the vineyard. The Jambon family has often distinguished itself in winemaking since that time, most notably in the improvements its members made the Gamay grape of Burgundy and their perfecting of the techiniques for supporting growing vines on steep slopes.
The vines grow on blue granite soil, well exposed to sunlight over an area of a little over 40 acres. The type of vine is naturally the clear juiced Burgundy or Gamay black grape. Harvesting is manual, all impurities being removed (soil, leaves, unripe grapes). The winemaking process is carefully managed, fermentation temprature being monitored and pressing progremmed. The wine is matured in oak casks. View all Pavillon de Chavannes Wines
About BeaujolaisView a map of Beaujolais wineries (boe-show-lay)
Upon hearing Beaujolais, many think of the large celebration for wine that comes out the 3rd week of November, that year's vintage of Beaujolais Nouveau. But the region of Beaujolais, situated at the bottom of the Burgundy AC, is more than just the nouveau. Some Beaujolais wines can be kept (gasp!) for up to 10 years! Those are usually the Cru Beaujolais and are much lower in production than the drink-it-now.
Even though Beaujolais is technically part of Burgundy, its climate, soil, grape varieties and winemaking methods make it completely separate in character. The primary grape of Beaujolais is Gamay, a very thin-skinned, light bodied grape that does particularly well in Beaujolais. It also does particularly well with the method of winemaking in Beaujolais – Carbonic Maceration. Carbonic maceration is anaerobic fermentation – meaning the fermentation takes place INSIDE the berry. How does this happen? Whole grape clusters are carefully put into a tank, given carbon dioxide and sealed to prevent contact with oxygen. Then a chemical process occurs inside the grape, turning sugars in to ethanol, aka alcohol. The process allows the fermenting juice to extract the color of the skins and the fruitiness of the grape without the harsh tannins of the skins. Not all Beaujolais use this method, but almost every Beaujolais Nouveau does. The result is a very fruity wine with fresh berry favors and super-light tannins and body.
The ACs of Beaujolais
Over half of the production of Beaujolais is under the Beaujolais AC. The second level is Beaujolais-Village, and the final is Beaujolais Crus, of which there are ten. Beaujolais Villages AC is a bit better quality than the first level, and the ten Crus are even higher quality. Most Cru Beaujolais AC wines use regular fermentation rather than carbonic, and some even let their wines age a bit in oak. In fact, after a few years in oak and bottle, a good vintage of Beaujolais can be mistaken for a Burgundy! But this is the exception to the rule - the majority of Beaujolais should be drunk within the first 2 years. In a good vintage a few of the cru wines may hold up for more, but Beaujolais is known for being fruity, light and easy drinking for right now. Serve a bit cool and enjoy without thought.
The 10 Cru Beaujolais to look for: Morgon, St-Amour, Juliénas, Chénas, Moulin-à-Vent, Brouilly, Côte-du-Brouilly, Fleurie, Chiroubles, Regnié.
About France - Other regionsWhen it comes to wine, France is a classic. Classic blends, grapes and styles began in the country and they still remain. Think about it - people ask for a Burgundian style Pinot Noir, they refer to wines as Bordeaux or Rhone blends - Champagne even had to pass a law to stop international wineries from putting their region on the label of all sparkling wine.
The top regions of France are: Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne, Languedoc-Roussillon, Loire, Rhone. And these regions are so diverse! It makes sense that wine regions throughout the world try to emulate their style. Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah are no longer French varieties, but international varieties. They may not be the leader of cutting edge technology or value-priced wines, but there is no doubt that they are still producing wines of great quality and diversity.
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Alcohol By Volume GuideMost wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Fruity
- Red wines that are more fruit-forward and lighter in tannin and body.
Smooth & Supple
- Medium bodied reds that go down easy, with smooth tannins and supple fruit.
Earthy & Spicy
- Wines where earthy and/or spicy dominate the flavors – typically medium to full body.
Big & Bold
- Full bodied wines that have concentrated fruit and are higher in alcohol and/or tannins. Some need age.