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Laboure Roi Beaujolais Villages 2004
The Beaujolais appellation covers a total of 23,920 acres, of which 23,450 are to the north of Lyon in the Rhone department and only 470 to the south of Macon in the Saone-et-Loire department. The region known as "the Beaujolais" is the most southerly vineyard region in Burgundy, whose vineyards total 53,250 acres, and include Beaujolais, Beaujolais-Villages and the ten "crus" of Beaujolais. The area is divided into the Haut-Beaujolais in the north, with a clayey-sandy topsoil on a schistous-granite base, from which come all the Beaujolais-Villages and the "crus", and the Bas-Beaujolais to the south, with a more limestone-clayey soil, producing Beaujolais and the young, fruity wine known as Beaujolais "Nouveau" or Beaujolais "Primeur". These latter wines should be drunk as soon as released and even Beaujolais is best drunk within the year after the vintage, to enjoy its lively fruit. Labouré Roi's production averages 22,000 cases .
The grapes are hand-harvested usually in mid-September from vines close planted to between 4,000 and 5,000 vines per acre. Once picked, the bunches are placed without crushing into fermentation vats which may be of wood or concrete. The weight of the grapes at the top presses on those at the bottom to produce free run juice which is pumped over. The alcoholic fermentation is short, 4-6 days, and the grapes are then pressed to extract the rest of the juice and the wine pumped into vats where the malo-lactic or secondary fermentation is encouraged to take place. Fermentation will be over by early November, and the wine destined for the "Nouveau" market will be bottled, while the rest will remain in vat until early the next year. While the wine keeps well in vat or barrel during the winter, it does not benefit from aging in bottle.
Young red with violet tints
Blend of red berry fruits
Jammy fruit, lively acidity, very quaffable
Always serve cool, around 50-55 Fahrenheit. On warm days Beaujolais, even though it is a red wine, should be placed in the refrigerator.Drink with cold cuts, pate, chicken, light meats, soft creamy cheese.
Under the leadership of Armand and his brother Louis who later joined him, Laboure-Roi has become what is today the third largest source of Burgundy wines.
A key element in the transformation and continued success of Laboure-Roi is the Cottin brothers' readiness to embrace progress, supported by their extensive investment in state-of-the-art technology. The Laboure-Roi winemaking facility in Nuits-Saint-Georges is indisputably one of the finest in Burgundy. The winery, which boasts a cellaring capacity of 2,000 barrels, supplements the house's historic cellars. Dating back to the 16th century, the ancient cellars are still used today for the storing and aging select bottles.
Laboure-Roi pioneered the concept of presenting single estate wines under each respective domaine's label. Laboure-Roi's staff of five winemakers provides these growers with ongoing guidance to ensure that each individual wine meets the house standards of quality and reflects the unique characteristics of its respective terroir.
A legendary wine region setting the benchmark for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay worldwide, Burgundy is a perennial favorite of many wine lovers. After centuries of winemaking, the Burgundians have determined precisely which grape clone grows best on which plot of land, determined by the soil type, the elevation, and the angle in relation to the sun—this is a region firmly rooted in tradition and the concept of ‘terroir’ reigns supreme here. Because of the Napoleonic Code requiring equal distribution of property and land among all heirs, vineyard ownership in Burgundy is extremely fragmented, with some growers responsible for just one row or even one vine. This system has led to the predominance of the "negociant"—a merchant who purchases fruit from many different growers to vinify and bottle together.
Burgundy’s cool, marginal climate and Jurassic limestone soils are perfect for the production of elegant, savory, and mineral-driven Chardonnay and Pinot Noir with plenty of acidity. Vintage variation is of particular importance here, as weather conditions can be variable and unpredictable. Spring frost and hail are near-universal risks. The Côte d’Or, a long and narrow escarpment, forms the heart of the region, split into the Côte de Nuits to the north and the Côte de Beaune to the south. The former is home to many of the world’s finest Pinot Noir wines, while Chardonnay plays a much more prominent role in the latter, though outstanding red, white, and rosé are all produced throughout. Other key appellations include the Côte Chalonnaise, home to great value Pinot Noir and sparkling Crémant de Bourgogne; the Mâconnais, producing soft and round inexpensive Chardonnay; and Chablis, the northernmost region of Burgundy and an acidity-lover’s Chardonnay paradise.
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.
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.
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.