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Domaine de la Madone Beaujolais-Villages Le Perreon 2016

Gamay from Beaujolais, Burgundy, France
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    Winemaker Notes

    The summit of Le Perreon is a sight to behold; a patchwork of Gamay vines spill in every direction. The wine comes from some of the region’s highest-altitude plots, with many vines pushing past 100 years old. This is, above all, an expressively aromatic Beaujolais, with waves of baking spices, blueberries and raspberries. Concentrated, balanced, and very age-worthy.

    Pair with roasted chicken or turkey; flavorful cheeses like Roquefort; grilled pork sausage

    Critical Acclaim

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    Domaine de la Madone

    Domaine de la Madone

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    Domaine de la Madone, Beaujolais, Burgundy, France
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    The Bererd family’s vines are some of the highest in region, sitting between 1,600 and 2,000 feet above sea level. Vineyards are perilously steep, far too dangerous for tractors; harvesters need to be as agile as mountain goats to cut and gather the fruits of the family’s ancient Gamay vines.

    Vines range from 40 to 60 years old, with many 100 years old or older. Soils are mostly pink decomposed granite, like cru Fleurie. The family practices sustainable farming, avoiding pesticides and following organic methods whenever possible.

    Grapes are harvested exclusively by hand, and sorted at the cellar door. Fruit is fermented on indigenous yeasts in temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks, and aged also in tank.

    Beaujolais

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    The bucolic region often identified as the southern part of Burgundy, Beaujolais actually doesn’t have a whole lot in common with the rest of the region in terms of climate, soil types and grape varieties. Beaujolais achieves its own identity with variations on style of one grape, Gamay.

    Gamay was actually grown throughout all of Burgundy until 1395 when the Duke of Burgundy banished it south, making room for Pinot noir to inhabit all of the “superior” hillsides of Burgundy proper. This was good news for Gamay as it produces a much better wine in the granitic soils of Beaujolais, compared with the limestone escarpments of the Côte d’Or.

    Four styles of Beaujolais exist though most is sold under the basic Beaujolais appellation. The simplest, and one that has regrettably given the region a subpar reputation, is Beaujolais Nouveau. This is the wine that is made using carbonic maceration (a quick fermentation that results in sweet aromas) and is released on the third Thursday of November in the same year as harvest. It's meant to drink young and is flirty, fruity and fun. The rest of Beaujolais is where the serious wines are found. Beaujolais-Villages, which must come from the hilly northern part of the region, offer reasonable values with some gems among them. The superior section are the cru vineyards coming from ten distinct communes: St-Amour, Juliénas, Chénas, Moulin-à-Vent, Fleurie, Chiroubles, Morgon, Regnié, Brouilly, and Côte de Brouilly. Any cru Beajolais will have its commune name prominent on the label.

    Delightfully playful yet at its best capable of impressive gravitas, Gamay is responsible for juicy, berry-flavored wines in Beaujolais and parts of the Loire Valley. It has received some criticism for its role in Beaujolais Nouveau, a young beverage more reminiscent of fruit punch than wine. But make no mistake—the Gamay grape is very capable of producing light yet serious wines, especially in the cru villages of Beaujolais. The variety is also widely planted in Savoie and Switzerland, and has recently found success on a small but growing scale in Oregon.

    In the Glass

    Gamay can be decidedly light and fruity with flavors cherry candy and cranberry. Made for Beaujolais Nouveau, with a quick fermentation process, the wines give fun and flirty aromas of banana or bubblegum. The Nouveau style is to drink early and not contemplate. More complex Gamays (Village or cru level) offer dark blackberry or ripe cherry flavors with enticing aromas of baking spice, violets and dark wet earth as well as aging potential.

    Perfect Pairings

    Gamay is delicious on its own, especially with a light chill. It is the quintessential picnic red and goes well with simple charcuterie, country pate, and terrines. Served at a cool temperature, it is an unexpected but outstanding partner for freshly shucked oysters. Gentle tannins and bright acidity make it a great option with Asian food, even dishes with a bit of a spicy kick. Gamay can also be a great pairing with poultry, especially duck or Thanksgiving turkey with cranberry sauce.

    Sommelier Secret

    Within Beaujolais, there are ten different crus, or highly ranked grape-growing communes. Each one has its own distinct personality—Fleurie is delicate and floral, Côte de Brouilly is concentrated and elegant, and Morgon is serious, structured, and age-worthy, capable of rivaling some red Burgundies.

    SKRFMD062_2016 Item# 166133