Sunday, July 15, 2007

The Beaujolais Challenge - Chiroubles

Chiroubles? Honestly, have you ever tasted a bottle of Chiroubles? I never had until the other night. I probably could not have named Chiroubles as one of the cru Beaujolais appellations until this self-imposed challenge. I'm glad I know about it now, as the wine we tasted was just lovely, a quintessential Beaujolais.

Like I said, I don't have much of anything technical to share with you - I really don't know sh*% from Chiroubles, but here is what I can share with you (most of it from Jancis Robinson and Hugh Johnson's books): Chiroubles is right next to Fleurie and Morgon, two of the better known areas in the region, and it is the highest appellation in Beaujolais with vineyards at about 400 meters of elevation. Both Jancis and Johnson say that wines from Chiroubles are light, fresh, fruity, and made for young drinking.

The only producer mentioned by both Jancis and Johnson is Domaine Cheysson, and that happens to be the wine I found. My pal Adam and I enjoyed this wine out on the deck with a couple of scallion omelets and a salad of baby lettuces, candy stripe beets, and string beans.

2005 Domaine Cheysson Chiroubles, $20 (Chambers Street Wines).
Pretty dark ruby color. The nose is closed down at first, showing only rusty wet iron and just hinting at blackberry. With about 15 minutes open and some swirling the nose opens to reveal sweet blackberries and bright cranberry. The wine is quite light and fresh on the palate, as advertised. There is a nice balance of light and elegant berry fruit, and after another 15 minutes or so an earthy underbrush flavor shows itself underneath the fruit. Great juicy acidity and prominent iron minerality are part of every sip. This wine is interesting and delicious and it was great with our light summer dinner.

Is this wine a good value at $20? There are plenty of cheaper Beaujolais out there that are equally satisfying (although maybe not as complex) - the Beaujolais-Villages by Vissoux I tasted earlier, to name only one. If you are someone who likes Beaujolais enough to keep a couple of bottles of Beaujolais around the house for every day drinking, there are others that you might turn to. But if you are interested in exploring Beaujolais, this is definitely a worthwhile bottle. It was an excellent wine and well worth your $20. Do you want to spend $20 on the Beauj if you can spend $13 - that's your call. I like geeking out on obscure appellations like Chiroubles though, as evidenced by this whole Beaujolais Challenge thing, so I feel like it was money well spent.

How much did I spend on my bottle of Regnie, and was it any good? You'll have to wait, holding your breath I'm sure, for the next installment of the Beaujolais Challenge.

Before you go, tell me - have you ever tried a Chiroubles? Did you like it?

Correction - this wine was $16 at chambers Street, not $20. That changes everything in my mind, as there is no question that for a few extra bucks, this wine is well worth the step up from the two previous wines tasted in this series. It's the complexity, while remaining light and refreshing that does it.


Anonymous said...

1999 Domaine E.C. (Emile Cheysson) Chiroubles Clos les Farges

I loved it, bought 14 more, and think I have one left. $10/btl (Bottle Barn) in Nov/2001.

Note: Back then, it was only identified as "Domaine E.C." on the bottle.

Anonymous said...

Hi there. Just a note to say I'm really enjoying your Beaujolais Challenge.

Brooklynguy said...

Hiya Jack - I should have known it would be you! How did the wines hold up over the years? Supposedly a young drinking type of wine. Are you going to open the last bottle this summer? I am curious to hear about it.

Hey Kitch!!! Long time no hear. I suppose that gallivanting about Spain eating at a million tavernas might prevent me from browsing blogs too. Good to see you back, and I really enjoyed reading about your Spain adventure, by the way. My favorite bit was how after two meals at two different bars, completely stuffed, you guys got ice cream for dessert before bed. Impressive endurance on your part.

Glad the Beaujolais Challenge is working for you. See you around...

Anonymous said...

Hey, when you get to Morgon as well as Brouilly, see if you can track down any Dominique Piron wines. They're fantastic and they don't seem to get as much attention as they deserve, maybe because they don't have the Kermit Lynch machine behind them. His Chenas Quartz is unlike any other Beaujolais I've had...h

Brooklynguy said...

Hey JB - I saw the Chenas Quartz at Astor Wines recently and mean to get back there for a bottle. Thanks for the tip. I sense that you are not in fqavor of the Lynch machine?

Anonymous said...

Oh, no. I don't have anything against Kermit Lynch (I like Foillard and Lapierre, et al). Lynch just gets a lot of airtime and there are lots of other worthy importers who don't get the same attention as he does. I'm no playa-hata!

Anonymous said...

Yeah... ice cream... The ice cream was good (though I don't think I ate all of mine), but the real dessert was the total tourist experience of sitting on the plaza at midnight in summer and soaking in the night life.

Brooklynguy said...

I agree JB - don't hate the playa, hat the game.

My wife and I are choosing between Italy and Spain for a vacation next year Kitch. I am guessing that you recommend Spain...thanks for stopping by.