Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Battle of the Bojos


No, not the bozos. "Bojo" is short for Beaujolais, and I am sure as Hell not talking about that plonk that arrives in November labelled "Nouveau". Frankly, if you're into that, then there's nothing of interest to see here, please move along to the next blog. Seriously. Go away.

I am talking about real Beaujolais, which is real wine. Delicious wine. Long-lasting, intensely satisfying wine. Stuff that makes you wonder how Nouveau can even exist at all. Made by small farmers with a real love of the land, it speaks of its terroir as well as its northern cousin, Burgundy. It's also something I really like and appreciate, even if I haven't really written that much about it. I suppose I was too busy drinking it to really stop and write about it.

And in case you were wondering, it's made from the Gamay grape, once called "a treacherous grape", as it is quite vigorous and can make tons of crappy wine if not cultivated carefully. It was banned from Burgundy in the 14th century, and found a new home south of that region, in the Beaujolais. And here it's made some fantastic wines that are really not appreciated by either the serious drinker or the wayward wino.

Well, recently, I had the chance to open two Bojos side by side to see how they were doing. Admittedly, it wasn't completely fair, one was 2007 and the other 2008. That extra year was really important, as I've had the 2007 and it was completely different from the 2008.

The 2008 Jean-Paul Brun Terres Dorees Vieilles Vignes L'Ancien Beaujolais was the first victim. Right from the start, this smelled gorgeous of light cherries and earth, yet was completely tight and unforgiving. Things in the mouth had yet to come together. This was like looking at the sketch of a beautiful suit, handling and choosing the fabric, but not finishing the stitching job. We decanted this for several hours, and it still refused to come to the party. Smell was great, taste was just not there. The 2007 of this is absolutely fantastic, BTW.

Compared to that, the 2007 Pierre-Marie Chermette Domaine du Vissoux Cuvee Traditionelle Beaujolais Vieilles Vignes was a sex bomb on the nose and in the mouth. With a sappy, ripe smell of cherries and light fruit and plums wrapping a core of earth and smoke, you just wanted to sit there smelling it. The palate was similar with a gorgeous mouthfeel that was almost velvety and ended with some crisp minerality with a long finish. Beautiful.

OK, so it wasn't a real battle, more of a skirmish. But I really encourage folks to drop their Nouveau and try one of these. It'll change the way you think of Beaujolais. And best of all, these wines cost less than $20 each.

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