Press coverage

Photo credit: Ted Axelrod

The $20 Challenge

Wine Spectator, February 21st 2017

I’ve long been on record as loving cru Beaujolais, which are the 10 districts in the larger Beaujolais region that collectively offer the prospect of the highest quality.

There’s only one problem: Beaujolais prices, especially for the best wines, are rapidly sailing past the $20 price point, especially for wines from the latest-and-greatest 2015 vintage. But there still are, and will continue to be for the next few years, new or less well-known producers who continue to sell their wines for what I happily concede are undervalued prices. High-quality deals are still to be found in cru Beaujolais from two very good vintages, 2014 and 2015.

The Lazy Foodie’s Guide to Pairing Takeout and Wine, February 9th 2017

Chinese food is far more complex than the prevalence of Kung Pao Chicken on most Americanized menus attests. Christoph Eder, general manager of The Source by Wolfgang Puck in Washington, D.C., encourages springing for a bottle of wine. For an addictive round of dumplings, especially seafood ones, he suggests the made-in-Austria “Tradition” Grüner Veltliner from Schloss Gobelsburg. “The wine is crisp with enough body to complement both rich lobster and delicate shrimp,” he explains. For XO sauce–laced noodle concoctions and carnivorous specialties like lacquered duck, underrated Beaujolais comes to the rescue: Stéphane Aviron’s earthy Morgon Côte du Py, for example, “has red berry flavors and soft tannins” that only complements what’s packed inside those white paperboard containers.

Have you been drinking wines before their time?

The Washington Post, January 7th 2017

My eyes also gravitated to one of my favorite French regions, Beaujolais. These wines, from the gamay grape, are fun, food-friendly and consistently underrated. When Georges Duboeuf, the so-called “king of Beaujolais,” visited Washington last spring, he told me 2015 had been the best vintage for the region since the 1940s. Wine Enthusiast agrees, rating the Beaujolais vintage at 96 points out of 100, or superb, and giving us permission to drink these wines now, even though they should improve for at least a few years. (We are advised to “hold” most other European reds and several whites.)

Beaujolais cru wines, those named for various villages throughout the region, are just beginning to reach the market. The few I’ve tasted have been outstanding, and I’ll be on the alert for more throughout the year. One of my favorite Beaujolais importers, Falls Church-based Wine Traditions, has yet to bring in any 2015 Beaujolais cru, so there is much to anticipate.

Catch the Gamay Rays from Beaujolais (All Under $20)

Best Wines Under 20, December 27th 2016

The region of Beaujolais is actually a part of the broader and very highly regarded Bourgogne, or as we call it in America, Burgundy. It’s a wine region that has staked its fortune on one grape, Gamay, or Gamay Noir and while Beaujolais Nouveau certainly gets a lot of publicity, the Cru Beaujolais (which are ten different sub-regions within Beaujolais), make amazing and unique wines of depth and complexity. Beaujolais wines age wonderfully, pair perfectly with food and are priced very, very fairly. If you love the Pinot Noirs of Burgundy but can’t swing the price-tag you will find plenty to like in Beaujolais, wines that are light, lively and food friendly at a fraction of the price.

Beaujolais Isn’t Nouveau for the In-the-Know

The Wall Street Journal, December 14th 2016

Unlike Nouveau wines, which are more often than not simple, crus can be quite distinguished and complex. Beaujolais Nouveau should be opened immediately; cru wines can be long-lived. David Lilllies, co-owner of Chambers Street Wines in New York, advises clients to cellar certain cru Beaujolais for years – although they can also be enjoyed in their youth. And now is a particularly good time to pursue these wines, whether to drink today or keep for later, thanks to two very good vintages (2014 and 2015) and an abundance of reasonably priced bottles.

International Wine Review, August/September 2016

Beaujolais is in a state of transition. Its reputation for inexpensive, easy drinking Beaujolais and Beaujolais Nouveau is changing to include a renewed appreciation and recognition for its elegant Crus expressive of their terroir. Innocuous wines produced by many negociants and cooperatives are slowly being replaced by unique estate and vineyard designated ones. Young winemakers with international experience wishing to make wines from special places are able to purchase underpriced vineyards of very old vines and then craft unique, terroir-driven wines.

Cosmopolitan, July 2016

This fictional story features a group of friends and former college bandmates approaching their 50s, living in Brooklyn, and trying to sort out the many relationships in their lives. So naturally, you’ll want to drink something fresh and calm to go with it. McMartin suggests Beaujolais, a light-bodied red that goes great with summer food. “It’s something you would find on a French wine list in a really cool hole-in-the-wall restaurant in Brooklyn where everybody’s cooler than you,” McMartin says. If you don’t feel like trekking to a restaurant, McMartin says you can also head to a decent neighborhood wine shop and ask for Beaujolais that’s a little nicer than Beaujolais Nouveau; they’ll hook you up.

Matt Kramer, Wine Spectator, June 2016

Pinot Noir is now the iPhone of fine wine. It likely has reached market saturation and very likely cannot significantly grow sales, at least at the prices being asked now. So what next? I think the answer to that question is Gamay Noir. It’s in the same Burgundian mode as Pinot Noir. (Technically, the Beaujolais zone, which is all about Gamay Noir)

Nick Passmore, Forbes, July 10, 2015

Katie Bell, Forbes, January 1, 2015

Hoke Harden, Examiner, May 10, 2014

Marlynn, Urban Bliss Life, April 30, 2014

Jameson Fink, Grape Collective, April 17, 2014

Eric Asimov, The New York Times, April 7, 2014

Bruce Sanderson, Wine Spectator, February 28, 2014

Forbes, Katie Kelly Bell, February 11, 2014

Eric Asimov, The New York Times, April 4, 2013

Bill St. John, The Chicago Tribune, June 20, 2012

“[Gamay] undergirds all the delicious, aromatic reds of the Beaujolais … perhaps the most underrated red wine region of the globe.”

Lisa Airey, The Baltimore Sun, June 15, 2012

“Serious Beaujolais are take-no-prisoners, true-grit sorts that redefine the Gamay grape. If you are looking for wines with guts and stuffing that are not heavy, tannic or saturated with oak, look no further. These wines balance power with finesse and concentration with elegance.”

Jameson Fink, Foodista, June 12, 2012

“If you only know Beaujolais from the annual Nouveau celebration, you are missing out on some of the most charming and under-appreciated red wines in the world.”

Hoke Harden, The Examiner, June 11, 2012

“Gamay (technically, its full name is Gamay Noir à Jus Blanc) has always been lauded for its freshness and vivacity. Combine that with a style of winemaking popular in Beaujolais, partial carbonic maceration … and you have a unique style of exuberantly fruity red wine.”