There is a reason I keep coming back to the Cru wines of Beaujolais. For one, they’re friggin’ delicious. (They’re “Gamay-zing,” as one friend recently called them). Secondly, they seem like spring’s perfect partner on the red-wine spectrum: light(ish), playful, yet still savory and potent enough to ward off that vernal chill at night.
My personal Beaujolais craze was solidified when I finally got a chance to visit the region a few weeks ago. There will be more on that visit in the coming weeks, but I have to say, the landscape of Beaujolais’ ten Cru villages is captivating. It is an undulating terrain decorated with cute villages and covered with stubby old vines. In the distance: the Alps. For a photographer with an inclination toward wine, it is heaven.
Last week, my wife and I went to our favorite restaurant in Denver and ordered a bottle of Charly Thévenet’s “Grain & Granit,” from the Cru village of Régnié. This whole-cluster fermented Gamay featured a surprisingly firm structure, and an exhilarating bouquet that stopped our conversation a few times. Best of all, it had the modesty to work with four very different dishes. Gamay-zing indeed. Go get some.
2015 Charly Thévenet “Grain & Granit” Régnié
Grapes: Gamay (100%)
Ratings ★★★★ 3/4 (out of five)
• Aromas, Flavor & Structure: ★★★★ 1/2
• Food-friendliness: ★★★★★
• Value: ★★★ 3/4
Tasting notes: A gorgeous, shape-shifting bottle of Bojo that demands respect from gastronomes. It’s blossoming aromas bring to mind bing cherries, violets and a sharp note of anise seed. As it passes over the palate, it maintains its elegance while surprising with its upright structure. Fans of Cru du Beaujolais will recognize this trait; those more familiar with Beaujolais Nouveau (you’re still drinking that?) won’t.
Considering its versatility, I give it my highest rating for food-friendliness. Buy a case and play recipe roulette. It’ll do just fine.
Recommended for: Anything you can re-create from Mercantile’s current menu. We enjoyed this wine equally with such divergent dishes as burrata salad with green strawberries and black garlic, Colorado lamb agnolotti, spring risotto with truffle egg, and braised short rib.