The Gamay grape has had a turbulent history. In 1395 Duke Philip the Bold concluded Gamay was “evil and disloyal,” and banished it from the northern half of Burgundy. For the past six centuries it has found refuge in Beaujolais, where it produces mostly simple reds — fruit-forward and inexpensive.
A few years ago we happened across a small-scale, undiscovered Beaujolais producer named Jean-Marc Monnet. He has no road sign, no website, and no other American importer. But his classic Beaujolais cuvées are as intense and vibrant as any we’ve had.
Forget everything you know about Beaujolais (particularly nouveau), this is intense, delicious, inky red wine — think the fruit profile of a Pinot Noir, but the weight of a Northern Rhone Syrah.
Chiroubles (she-roo-bluh) is usually on the more floral, lightweight end of the Beaujolais spectrum. Monnet’s 2017 Chiroubles is characteristically gorgeous in the nose, but in the mouth it’s far more substantial. The nose shows intense perfume of violets, graphite, honey, earth, and wild cherries. The mouth is punchy and vibrant, with bursting tannins and cool refreshing notes of cranberries and woods.
This is a perfect candidate for your autumn house red — smooth and delightful enough to serve on its own, but with character enough to match food. It’s a dense, juicy, affordable red to match the cooling days and lengthening nights. Skip the Nouveau — this is twice the wine and still doesn’t break $20/bot.
Monnet Chiroubles 2017
bottle price: $18
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