Louis Tete, Chiroubles 2013, France
The Beaujolais in south-central France is pretty much misunderstood as a wine producing region: much like the great German Rieslings of the Mosel or Rhine Valleys that still suffer in the shadow of the sea of cheap 1970s Leibfraumilch and Piesporter that flooded this country, our memories of the 'Beaujolais Nouveau' craze cloud the picture for many wine drinkers when it comes to Beaujolais. 'Nouveau' is really not much more than a gimmick, a wine that is harvested, fermented and bottled all within a few weeks so that it can be rushed by land, sea or air to tables across the world on precisely the third Thursday of November each year.
But most Nouveau us really very different from the top wines of Beaujolais, especially those that come from the 10 'crus' or named villages. Sometimes these wines don't even feature the word 'Beaujolais' on the label, though they undoubtedly are the stars of the region: Brouilly, Chénas, Chiroubles, Fleurie, Morgon, St-Amour, Côte de Brouilly, Moulin-à-Vent, Réginié and Juliénas.
This week's wine is a 'Cru', from Chiroubles, and it is a very different animal from Nouveau. Chiroubles has the highest of all vineyards in Beaujolais, where ancient plots of vines are harvested by hand to make wines that are much more savoury, much more serious than most Nouveau. Don't get me wrong: this has the abundant cherry and strawberry fruit you might expect, but it also has a typical sappy olive and herb note of the Gamay grape at its best. It also has lovely acidity and balance through to a nice long finish. Do watch my full video review for more information on this wine and the region, and for my specific food matching ideas. The wine scores a fine 88/100 and is available for £10.99 per bottle from Marks & Spencer. Note that at time of writing the price is reduced to £8.99 at M&S's Online shop only.