A couple weeks ago, Frank Morgan, from DrinkWhatYouLike Wine Blog, organized a Beaujolais tasting at Ripple, a chic wine bar located in the Cleveland Park section of Washington, DC. Ripple has a fantastic spread of charcuterie and cheeses as well as small plates and dishes, all following the farm-to-table concept. Their sommelier and General Manager, Danny Fisher, has selected a variety of fine wines and is very knowledgeable assisting you with any pairing requests or questions you may have. Ripple is also a great establishment for a #WineChat dinner. I am not too familiar with Beaujolais wines as they are generally too light bodied and lack the intense tannins that I usually crave. However, I am not one to turn down a wine dinner or an opportunity to chat, eat, and sip vino with a few oenophiles like myself. Also in attendance was Christian Schiller (of Schiller-wine, a German wine blog), Tai-Ran Niew (of Musings of a Stoked Wino), Tanisha (of Girl Meets Glass Wineblog), and Stephen Ballard (Owner of Annefield Vineyards). After Danny stopped by to say hello and we all placed our dinner orders, it was time to taste some wine. So which Beaujolais stood out as the top choice of the evening? Let’s take a peek at my tasting notes.
- 2010 Domaine de Prion Fleurie Vielles Vignes ($24): A wafting aroma of cherry, plum, cedar, and cigar box give way to a soft palate with supple cherry and plum flavors, finishing smooth and memorable. My top choice of the night
- 2011 Chermette Domaine du Vissoux Fleurie Poncie ($22): A jammy raspberry explosion on the nose of this big bodied Beaujolais, adding more prominent raspberry flavors with blackberry meeting mid-palate tossing hints of spice on the lengthy, balanced finish
- 2011 Pierre-Marie Chermette Domaine du Vissoux Moulin-a-Vent Les Trois Roches ($27): Wood and dark fruit fight for dominance on the nose while herb and mushroom flavors polish up the palate adding spice towards the finish and strong, firm tannins
- 2011 Daniel Bouland Côte de Brouilly ($23): Earth, leather, spice and dark fruit are a few aromas that describe the complexity of the nose on this Beaujolais. This medium bodied wine’s backbone is filled with an abundance of tannin with a fleshy mouth feel adding notes of black cherry and chocolate while finishing lengthy and flavorful but with a big tannin presence. Earthy cherry flavors remain well past the finish.
- 2010 Pierre-Marie Chermette Beaujolais Vieilles Vignes Cuvee Traditionnelle ($20): Packed with blueberry and candied raspberry aromas rolled out on a bed of spice and herb adding floral qualities and mineral on the palate that is more or less flat and short lived, lacking fruit and the traditional bright fruit that most crave in a Beaujolais. Meh. Avoid it!
Overall, it looks like the 2010 Domaine de Prion Fleurie Vielles Vignes showed best in my opinion; followed by the 2011 Daniel Bouland Côte de Brouilly and, lastly, the 2011 Chermette Domaine du Vissoux Fleurie Poncie. It was quite the experience, as I have never done a side by side comparison or have been a big Beaujolais fan. After tasting a couple of them, I wouldn’t completely rule out giving a select couple a try, but I prefer to stick with my more traditional Bourdeauxs, Meritages, and Super Tuscans. Great night, great people and another WineChat in the books!
3417 Connecticut Ave NW
Washington, DC 20008