Sunday, July 22, 2007

The Beaujolais Challenge - Regnie

Look for yourself - do a search using "Regnie" as the keyword, try "Regnie Wine," "Beaujolais Regnie," whatever you like. There isn't much out there that I could find. Here is what we know: Regnie is the most recent addition to the group of Cru Beaujolais appellations, gaining its status in 1988. Regnie is sandwiched between Morgon to the north and Brouilly and Cote de Brouilly to the south, and its vineyards are high in the hills surrounding Regnie-Durette church. I am guessing that this is a lovely spot, and BrooklynLady is already lobbying me to go there with her one day.

Why is there so little to read about Regnie, or Chiroubles, or Saint Amour for that matter? Are Morgon, Julienas, Fleurie, and Moulin-a-Vent so much more impressive? Is there a place where people know and love little Regnie? I bet there is, and probably not just the cafes of nearby Macon, or Paris. Not sure where else, but there is now an apartment in Brooklyn where people love Regnie.

BrooklynLady and I made a yummy weekend lunch of poached eggs served on top of arugula and cherry tomatoes (thanks to Maxwell's farm) with a little finely grated Parmesan and some crusty bread. I was thinking of a Gruner Veltliner, as its lithe body and peppery flavors might go nicely with the arugula. But then I remembered that it was almost Sunday and I had not yet opened the Cru Beaujolais of the week. Oh, the things we do in the name of blogging, eh?

2006 Georges Descombes Regnie, $20 (Chambers Street Wines).
Transparent violet purple color with immediate fresh sweet raspberry smells. There are also interesting tomato leaf and potting soil smells darting in and out, along with some dark flowers and a dried banana smell that I am starting to recognize as classic Beaujolais, probably a result of carbonic maceration. This wine is all fresh fruit on the palate, and a little spicy. It's light textured and elegant, the most pretty of the Beaujolais wines I have tasted in recent memory.

Georges Descombes makes wine without sulphur or filtration and is known for Morgon. This is the first year that he bottled a Regnie and it is released earlier than the Morgon, made for early drinking.

The wine went perfectly with our lunch. As it warmed a bit from cellar temperature the floral smells became more prominent and the juiciness of the raspberries was more pronounced. There was also a fresh grapey-ness, for lack of a better word. I will confess, we drank the whole bottle and it was barely 1:30 on a Saturday afternoon. Just impossible to stop, the wine was so pretty, and it was beautiful outside on the deck. Thank goodness the wine was not more than 13% alcohol, although we did need a nap before dinner.

Okay, so what about the $20 price tag? In my view this is easily worth $20 - it is beautiful and serious wine, the finest Beaujolais I've had in this exercise without question. Better than the Desvignes Morgon Javernieres? The Tete Julienas Cuvee Prestige? I didn't taste them head-to-head so it's hard to say, and clearly we will need to have a Big Blind Beaujolais Tasting...


Anonymous said...

Dear Brooklynguy
My name is Sorin Mihailovici and I live in Edmonton, Canada. I have been working in a major liquor store here for the last five years and I could say I am a big wine enthusiast! I just came across your blog and I am glad I found it. It seems like you put a lot of work into it.
While working in my liquor store, I also decided to go to school - I am a student now taking TV productions at one of the most prestigious colleges in Western Canada, Grant MacEwan College.
Trying to mix my two passions I have created a couple of short movies - one is a minute and a half long, the other one 59 sec. The fist one is called "Remove red wine stains with white wine!" and the other one is "Open a bottle of wine without a corkscrew". Although they are short I put several hours of work into them.
If you have a couple of free minutes please take a look at them. If you like them maybe you could post them on your blog up for a discussion, I would really like to know people's opinion. (underneath every movie there is the embed code -copy and paste it on your blog so people could just click on it...)
If you don't like them I apologize for taking you the time to read my message.
Regardless of your answer - thank you and I will see you on your blog!
There are my movies:

Thank you,

Joe said...

Hi BKG - I love the way you changed your wine plans because of your blogging schedule - been there, done that. I have had most of the cru villages (I love Morgon best, to date), but I am not sure I have had a Regnie (it was probably Duboeuf). I love the makers that do not go for filtration - hard to believe a Beaujolais can burst forth with such flavour.

Brooklynguy said...

Hey Joe - that's the beauty of Beaujolais I think, that the wines can be so modest in price and aspiration, and yet so flavorful and great with food. Something soulful there, I think. Wine made for drinking and enjoying with people, still serious wine, but not made for collecting. For drinking.

Joe said...

Unfortunately I have too many cellar wines and not enough drinking wines. (I have a M. Lapierre Morgon waiting for the right occasion) Anyway, I keep telling the Dok I need help! Perhaps next year's Biannual Montreal wine tasting will see you visiting our beautiful city. By the way, congrats on your Dr. Vino/Wine&Spirits shout out - I would love to see your hit counter the next day. Cheers!

Brooklynguy said...

Hey Joe,
I would LOVE to go back to Montreal. When is that tasting? You should open that Lapierre the next time you have dinner at home with your wife, a special occasion that is greatly underrated.

thanks for the congrats - a really nice honor to be mentioned by Dr. Vino

Joe said...

Yup, dinner with my wife is a special occasion - it's the three rascals that render it rather ... chaotic? I don't know what tasting you are referring to - we just had a Bordeaux night (see the post). I have one with Marcus/others in August.

Brooklynguy said...

The biannual Montreal tasting you mentioned...and you have THREE kids?!? Are you nuts?

Joe said...

The tasting is here:
Three kids (9, 6, and 3) is not nuts - taking three kids on a tour of a cave in Champagne - that's nuts.

bevmoid said...

Just browsing the online wine world and came across your blog while researching about Regnie. I think this site might be of some help with a little more information on the area:

Anonymous said...

Hello, I'm a little slow on the uptake here but I just wanted to say that in 1973 I spent 2 weeks in and about Regnie working as a grape picker. I found the work through an agency in Lyon which placed many hundreds of university students looking for adventure in the French wine country. Due to the narrow window in which the grapes for Beujolais wine are usable, a large number of students, including me, descended in and around Regnie to participate in the harvest. It was a little unnerving at first. It was nighttime when the vintners arrived in Lyon to pick up their crew and head back. Assignment seemed to be completely random and I suddenly found myself and 5 European university students being driven to Regnie in a Citreon station wagon by an apparently sullen and silent old man. What have I gotten myself into I wondered?
Another carful were bound for the same location, which was a cooperative of 4 families who lived condominium style next to each other. Part of the deal was that you would be paid (I think about $10/day) and provided with all meals, basically all the wine you could drink and a bed. All of the Europeans spoke English and I relaxed. When we arrived we were rushed immediately up to the living quarters of the Ducroix family where, in a huge dining room that could seat 30 people, dinner was waiting for us. And thus began one of the most pleasant and certainly THE most demanding 2 weeks of employment in my life. The meals, all 3 of them each day, were gargantuan and delicious French country cooking. Wine was routinely drunk at breakfast, lunch and dinner - Beaujolais usually, but others as well.
Even during the long and backbreaking work of harvesting grapes Monsieur DuCroix, who turned out to be a pleasant if particular employer, would walk around every hour or so with what must have been a 2 gallon basket wrapped bottle which contained half water, half wine!
I have more to say but I'm uncertain whether there is even an audience to write for. If there is do let me know at brucealan at gmail. net. - Bruce