Régnié is a Cru village in Beaujolais, and after recently having and being blown away by Marcel Lapierre’s Morgon, I knew that when I saw a shelf of 15-20 Beajolais Crus at Esquin in my recent trip down to Seattle that I would be bringing some of these profound wines home.
Beaujolais is often associated somewhat with Burgundy, but geologically the land actually has more in common with the Northern Rhone, namely acidic granite. Each cru has distinct soil components, and Régnié, located in the lower half of Beaujolais, has soil that consists of part sandy granite and part schist. Of course, there is a huge debate about how soil impacts a wine’s flavour, and many people seem to focus more on fruit and earth when describing Beaujolais Cru wines. However, I personally detect plenty of minerality in the wines of Beaujolais, and in fact think it is one of their main charms. Does it derive from the soil? Well, recent studies seem to suggest that when one tastes minerals in wine it is not because they are tasting the same minerals that are present in the soil. However, whether or not soil impacts the minerality of a wine in some other way, or soil combined with variety, remains to be understood.
For me, the profundity of Beaujolais Cru wines, especially as opposed to their Nouveau brethren, is their enigmaticalness and lithe flavours, which seem to pair with all sorts of food. And, while I don’t have a lot of experience, it is clear to me so far that each cru can provide a profoundly different expression of gamay than the next – so much so that I am consistently blown away by the singularity of the wide variety of inexpensive wines. And yes, it is amazing how inexpensive these wines are, often coming in at prices that shock the senses, especially when compared to something with as much personality from a better known region.
This particular wine was beautifully rendered. With a nose of mud, fresh strawberries and strawberry leaves, this tastes like the dirt the berries grew in – as if they were freshly picked. Some subtle spice aromas like cinnamon, orange peel, clove round out a decidedly compelling aromatic overture.
The palate makes me say wow in the completely opposite way from a “blockbuster” wine: it is very bright, has tons of raspberry and strawberry, dirt, and leaves, and, particularly, a profound lengthy mineral driven finish. This is heaven in a glass, and knocks out wines that cost 5x as much. I hope with all my heart that we get more of this sort of thing in the province. Both the quality and the price is sure to help Beaujolais regain its reuptation and make a few more friends.
$15 at Esquin