Growing old gracefully
There is a general view that many wines, especially red wines, will get better with age. As many of our wine loving friends out there know, this can be far from the truth. It is true that many wines will improve with a little ageing, however very few mature with grace and finesse up to a decade or two after they were made. According to many experts, red wines in general do not get much better after 7 years or so. However, there are certain wine types such as Bordeaux, vintage Champagne, Port, sweet wines for example, that will definitely benefit from a longer period of ageing. The tannins can become smoother and rounder and the aromas and flavours more interesting and beguiling. If you are lucky! On the other hand, many wines are made to be drunk young and this has especially become the case in recent years. Many consumers want to enjoy their wines now, rather than cellar them for long periods of time. Winemakers recognise this and often make their wines easier and more attractive to consume in their infancy. With Beaujolais wines, the generally held view is that these are wines to be drunk early on – but the situation is a little more complicated than this! This article will help you gauge how long you should age your Beaujolais wines.
Beaujolais has a reputation for being drunk young and fresh. In fact the time it takes to fetch from the supermarket or wine merchant is often about as aged as it needs to be.
This is usually the case for simple Beaujolais, Beaujolais-Villages or Beaujolais Nouveau. So if your wine comes under any of these umbrella terms, we at 3D Wines definitely suggest you drink yours early on. Made from the Gamay grape, these fresh, light, deliciously gluggable wines can be savoured either on their own, perhaps lightly chilled, or with a selection of charcuterie, paté or brie cheese. In fact their fresh acidity and fruity flavour makes them an ideal food wine.
However, Cru Beaujolais, (that is, from one of the top ten designated villages: Saint-Amour, Juliénas, Chénas, Moulin-à-Vent, Fleurie, Chiroubles, Morgon, Regnié, Côte de Brouilly and Brouilly) can improve greatly with age. In a way, they can develop over time a little like a red Burgundy from the Côte d’Or further to the north. And so it has proved to be for our exclusive Côte de Brouilly Des Lys 2010 from Domaine les Roches Bleues.
Côte de Brouilly Des Lys 2010, Domaine Les Roches Bleues
Domaine les Roches Bleues is chiselled into the blue granite of the Mont de Brouilly and the view from the vineyard is spectacular. It’s the most southerly of the Cru Beaujolais appellations and the estate is brilliantly run by energetic livewire, Christiane Lacondemine and her husband Dominique. It is here that the ancient Gamay vines, some of them over 80 years old, make the most of their sunny place, achieving wonderful ripeness year on year. As a consequence of this excellent terroir, the wines can be the most powerful and complex of all the Cru Beaujolais. Not surprisingly then, they can age well.
‘Attractive medium deep ruby/purple colour. The aromas have to be teased out with double decanting and lots of swirling. However, eventually, you can pick up the most delightful aromas of iris, blackcurrant, dark cherry and a faint whiff of sweet spice. In the mouth it is deliciously sweet, smooth and supple. There’s raspberry, blueberry and cherry and even a touch of wild strawberry. It is really silky and has a lovely elegance and balance to it. There’s no hurry to drink this, but at eight years of age, it has almost reached its joyful peak.’
Vintage 2010 was a very good Beaujolais vintage and the wines tasted deliciously moreish when nubile and fruity. However, as 3D Partners well know, sometimes waiting can really pay off….
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