Musings of a Chicago-Born New Yorker

April’s Wine School: Beaujolais

April brought tulips and Beaujolais. Even though I’m super late with this one, I’m still putting it in the blog because wine.

But first let’s talk about tulips. Tulips in the springtime was on the list of reasons why I loved being a Chicagoan. Our mayors spend inordinate amounts of money covering the city in red, yellow, orange, and pinkish-purple cups. So beautiful and totally worth the money, at least in my opinion.

I was pleasantly surprised to find that they do that in NYC too. This spring is my first ever here. I came in March once years ago, but it was still kind of cool outside, not really flower blooming weather.

But New York does tulips right. It felt very welcoming to a Chicago girl like me. But to put its own twist on it, there’s also tons of lavender here. If you like the smell of lavender and the sight of tulips, come to Midtown Manhattan in the spring. You’ll be as happy as I was to see April arrive. I still feel that way, even though April was colder than it should’ve been.

Back to Beaujolais. That’s the wine Eric Asimov picked for The New York Times Wine School for April. After surprisingly falling in love with Bordeaux, I didn’t think I had room in my heart for any more new loves.

Since March, whenever it’s available, I order Bordeaux out at a restaurant. It’s so good with any read meat, any hearty starch, and sweet-yet-savory dish, especially if there are berries involved. It’s just freaking delicious in my mouth. The more I drink it, the more I want it.

But March had gone and April arrived. So I bought the Louis Jadot Beaujolais-Villages 2011. It was the only one I could find online, and I wasn’t mad that it was also the lowest price.

I have to say, I didn’t love it like I loved the Bordeaux. I’m sure some people welcomed the light flavor, especially if the Bordeaux felt too heavy-handed and lingering. I really tried to drink the Beaujolais as its own wine and not compare… but I couldn’t help it.

I liked it, but I didn’t love it. To me, this is more of a meatball & spaghetti wine, not a steak and potato wine. Just like in March, I drank it over a period of days, trying it with food and alone.

I like the wine the best when I had it with a delicious meal of farfalle pasta with ground turkey and sautéed onions and mushrooms in a tomato sauce. I didn’t really like it alone. I couldn’t pinpoint the fruit I was tasting, but whatever the fruit was had a good taste.

Easy liked the wine more than I did I think. I’m just glad Eric Asimov made it clear that it was okay if you don’t actually like the wines he suggests. It’s all about learning what you like and what you don’t like.

So now I know, when it comes to red wines, I like tannins. Lots and lots of tannins. Anything too fruity or light won’t do. And this makes sense because I remember the first time I tried Merlot. It wasn’t a great Merlot, and it tasted like rancid grape jelly to me. I didn’t try the wine again for years after that.

It’s nice to have a guide that can point to the best versions of whatever I’m going to try. Now I can speak with confidence on my opinion of Beaujolais. And my opinion is: “meh.”

2 responses

  1. That’s why I love going to wineries for tastings. You get to try all kinds of different wines and there’s never an obligation to like everything you try…and there’s always something new to experience. Asimov has the right idea to make sure that you are always trying something new, with no obligation to feel that you are going to like everything you taste.

    June 8, 2014 at 20:57

    • I sometimes feel obligated to like everything. Which is why I’m so frustrated that I can’t find a tofu dish I like. I will not give up!

      June 10, 2014 at 21:11