On the Trail

The Fruits of our Beaujolais Labor

David Driscoll

Sitting out on the patio at Château Javernand in Beaujolais this past Spring was one of the great highlights of our trip to Burgundy. Not only did we have the chance to taste a number of great (and inexpensive!) local wines, we were able to meet the winemakers in person, have lunch with them, ask them questions about their practices, and get a sense of how the wines fit into everyday life in the French countryside. For me, it was truly a benchmark moment in my ongoing wine education—a chance to kick back a bit, get a glimpse into what table wine means in Burgundy, and get rid of all the smelling, swirling, and analysis. It was time to simply drink and be merry!

While we were tasting mostly reds and a handful of whites, there was one particular rosé that jumped out at all of us and completely stole our hearts. Fabien Collonge's Rosé de Gamay was a thirst-quenching, mouthwatering, berry-bursting blast of fresh acidity, clean fruit, and pure pleasure. When the weather warms up, there are few things better than a cold bottle of rosé and a few snacks on the picnic table. What made this particular rosé so memorable was seeing where it came from and talking with Fabien about the care he puts into it. Typically wines in the $8-$12 range don't have much of a story. In California, they're generally the result of bulk fruit or large batches of parcels, but in the case of the Collonge rosé, it's all select berries from his estate parcels. The charm and snap of the wine was what really caught my attention. Obviously, we're going to offer a great deal on any wine we import directly, but $10.99 was a total steal. I'd compare it with the fantastic Mount Edward rosé from New Zealand, albeit for six bucks less a bottle.

Beaujolais continues to be a prime source of high quality wines with ridiculously low prices, made by artisanal producers we're buying from directly. It's like a bustling farmers' market full of gamay deliciousness. I can't wait to start cracking these bottles open back here at home.

-David Driscoll