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Light, fruity and refreshing or big and rich? Try both

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For this very warm summer weekend I was trying to decide whether to write about light, fruity, refreshing reds that can be served a little chilled, or big, rich reds to marry with grilled steaks, ribs and so on.

Then the light came on — I have time to suggest both!

Although Beaujolais is part of “greater Burgundy”, it differs from Burgundy in many respects. Out of the 77,000 acres of the gamay grape planted throughout the world, more than 48,000 are in the Beaujolais area, spread over 38 villages.

Maison Joseph Drouhin has always had a special affinity for this area and, since their pioneering work in the early Fifties, has assiduously promoted it around the world.

Made from grapes harvested in villages celebrated for the quality of their terroir and microclimate, this wine represents, vintage after vintage, the true spirit of the Beaujolais-Villages appellation. The nose is both refined and intense, with notes of violet, peony and red fruit syrup. As you drink it, it feels fresh and silky. Both freshness and fruit remain for quite a long time on the palate.

James Suckling rates our Drouhin Beaujolais Villages 2018 90/100 and comments: “Some rich and ripe aromas of cherries and spiced blueberries here. Good complexity and plenty of youthful interest.” Stock #8165; $20.55,/b>. I suggest 40 minutes in the fridge before opening.

The Beaujolais appellation is at the southern end of Burgundy so we only have to go a little further south to get to the Rhone and find a wine with concentrated dark fruit aromas of syrah, grenache and mourvedre. Chocolate adds to the big, rich and ripe palate of Laurence Féraud 2015 Gigondas.

Laurence manages this iconic estate with her father, Paul, and they offer some of the best wines in the region. Parker refers to her as a “brilliant” winemaker and her châteauneuf-du-papes (that we stock) are legendary. Serve with strong cheeses, red meats or portobello mushrooms; it can also stand up to game and richly flavoured stews. Stock #7911; $31.50.

Back up to Beaujolais and we are going to step it up a bit and go for a bottle of Saint Amour. I mentioned that beaujolais villages comes from 28 designated villages, but there are also ten very top ones that are referred to as “crus” and Saint Amour is the most northerly.

Without a doubt the 13 acres of Domaines des Billards make the very best and they farm without the use of any chemicals. They are all about silk, velvet and textural pleasure.

The website Vinous rates our Domaine des Billards 2016 Saint-Amour 92/100 and says, “Shimmering violet. Pungent cherry liqueur and blackberry aromas, complicated by suggestions of allspice, peony and liquorice. Palate-staining dark berry, floral pastille and succulent herb flavours are lifted and sharpened by a spine of juicy acidity. Shows excellent clarity and solid thrust on the impressively persistent, floral-driven finish, which is given shape by smooth, slowly building tannins.” Stock #7892; $26.55.

Now a long journey to find a “biggie” in Australia and I am thinking of Mollydooker 2017 The Boxer Shiraz. I often consider Canadians as rather reserved, but their most popular critic, Natalie MacLean, does not hold back on this wine with: “The Boxer 2017 comes out fighting. This is a blockbuster shiraz with ripe cherry, plum, sweet and pepper spice flavours and a long dark chocolate finish on the palate. Great balance and poise. Decant and enjoy with a roast venison tenderloin. Enjoy now and for the next five years. 92/100.”

The winemaker comments, “This alluring and unashamedly bold shiraz has hints of spiced plums, blackberry jam, and cherry all at the fore and finishes with coffee cream, liquorice, and vanilla. Full-bodied with vibrant berry fruit characteristics, yet elegant with restrained tannins, resulting in a soft mouthfeel. This 2017 Boxer is sure to be a knockout!”

Writer Wilfred Wong calls it “explosive”. So put on the spicy ribs and pair with our stock #6096; $39.70.

A hop over to Oregon and we try Chehalem Ridgecrest Vineyard 2014 Gamay that they describe in this way: “Aromatically, the gamay quickly dives into bright cranberries, cherries and raspberries with back aromas of leather and pepper. On the whole, this wine seems energetic and playful with a vein of seriousness that you cannot ignore. It will evolve if laid down and will not disappoint at any stage.”

Wine Enthusiast magazine feels this way: “Bursting with fresh, bright scents and flavours of strawberries, raspberries and huckleberries, this juicy, polished wine is spring in a bottle. Lush and lively acids underscore the fruit and lead into a long, spicy finish.” Stock #8385; $32.50.

A few days ago, to celebrate a marriage in 1978 and a chance meeting in 1977, we opened Dry Creek cabernet sauvignon from both these years! I just sent a picture of both bottles to the Stare family that founded this winery in the 1970s and I reminded them that Bermuda was their very first export market.

So why not put a little Dry Creek Vineyards 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon aside and try it in 2058!

Keep in a constant temperature, light and vibration free. Our cellar is set at 59F.

Wine Enthusiast gives this 78 per cent cabernet sauvignon, 10 per cent merlot, 5 per cent cabernet franc, 5 per cent malbec and 2 per cent petit verdot a very fine 94/100 and comments: “This impressively balanced yet sleek red shows a tart currant tone, with a hint of blood orange. Grippy in tannin and oak, accents of dark chocolate and cinnamon round it out.” Stock #6513; $32. It will be scrumptious now and amazing later.

This column is an advertorial for Burrows Lightbourn Ltd. E-mail mrobinson@bll.bm or 295-0176. Burrows Lightbourn has stores in Hamilton (Front Street East, 295-1554), Paget (Harbour Road, 236-0355) and St George's (York Street, 297-0409). Visit wineonline.bm

Nice tipple: James Suckling rates Burrows Lightbourn's Drouhin Beaujolais Villages 2018 90/100
Nice tipple: James Suckling rates Burrows Lightbourn's Drouhin Beaujolais Villages 2018 90/100

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Published July 24, 2020 at 9:00 am (Updated July 24, 2020 at 9:17 am)

Light, fruity and refreshing or big and rich? Try both

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