Beaujolais Party @ Mathilde
I'm continuing to expand my duties at K&L this year and one area I thought I could be of help was our Burgundy department. For years we were rather stagnant in terms of growth and tracking down interesting new producers, but since Trey and Alex took over last summer we've been turning the department around. This past Spring, the two boys visited Beaujolais for the first time and met with a number of different small producers (petits producteurs, as they say) in the region. They were thrilled with the quality and purchased a number of different expressions that arrived at K&L earlier this month. The only person who may have been more thrilled was me (or maybe G Eazy's producer Christoph Andersson who LOVES Beaujolais). I've been drinking nothing but Beaujolais since because, to me, the wines simply taste like Fall. They have crunchy cranberry notes and bits of earth and spice. But there's two important things to know about these particular new Beaujolais wines:
1) They were purchased directly and imported directly to CA; no middlemen. Hence, low prices!
2) These are cru Beaujolais wines, not the carbonic and fruit juice-like Beaujolais Nouveau wines that are released at the end of each November. There's a HUUUUUUUUGE difference.
Cru Beaujolais wines are made from gamay just like Beaujolais Nouveau, but they're vinified just like normal red wine. Beaujolais Nouveau, on the other hand, is fermented in whole clusters, meaning the juice is not pressed out of the grape per the norm. Instead, the fermentation starts inside the berry, meaning low amounts of oxygen and skin contact. The result is a lifted, bright, super fruity wine with minimal tannic structure. One that can often be chapitalized or sweetened, as well. Cru Beaujolais, on the other hand, is more like real pinot noir from the Côte d'Or, but darker, fleshier, and more concentrated. Much like Bourgogne rouge can be classified by commune or village—Volnay, Pommard, Marsannay, etc—there are several village classifications in Beaujolais as well. You've got Brouilly, and Morgon, and Chiroubles, plus a few others. These wines do not taste like Ocean Spray and bubble gum. They have much of the same variety and complexity that I find in wines from Louis Jadot or Domaine Bart, except for one very important thing: they're waaaaaaay cheaper!
As I referenced in yesterday's post about grain whisky, when a market is misunderstood and poorly explained to consumers, prices remain low and affordable. I love dabbling in those grey areas because I love finding unexpected value. Cru Beaujolais is definitely one of those places. If I even mention Beaujolais as a potential recommendation in the store, I see the customer's face begin to frown and their lips quiver. "I don't like Beaujolais," they invariably say. "It's too fruity, or sweet, or something."
But they're, of course, referencing Beaujolais NOUVEAU. I'm talking about an entirely different wine.
Remember this place I mentioned the other day? It's Mathilde in San Francisco, on 5th Street just up from our Harrison St. location. I thought maybe we should head back over and do an intimate cru Beaujolais dinner for 28 fun-loving folks who want to get their French on. Alex Pross and I are going to host. We're going to bring (at least) eight of the wines mentioned in that post I linked to above. We might bring even more. We're going to sit in the exact same place you see in that photo above, except this time they've got a band playing French music in the corner! It's going to be a legit soirée! Check out this prix fixe menu we put together to go with it. You can choose one item from each group:
House made Charcuterie:
cornichons and mustard
Mussels Marinieres style:
with white wine and cream
Beef Bourguignon Ravioles:
Arugula, Parmesan shaving and truffle oil
Organic raw beet salad:
arugula and crumbled goat cheese
Bouillabaise seafood stew:
halibut, salmon, prawns in saffron tomato broth
Pan seared Flat iron steak:
Caramelized onions and red wine sauce
Coq au Vin:
pearl onions, mushroom and bacons
Gnocci a la Parisienne:
Parmesan cheese, truffle oil
Mousse au Chocolat
Valrhona bitter sweet chocolate
Tarte Tatin: apple tart with caramel sauce and whipped cream
soft meringue and caramel sauce sweet almonds
If you haven't been to Mathilde yet, this is the perfect time to join us. You're going to drink a lot of good wine, eat a lot of good food, listen to a lot of good music, and maybe learn a bit about Beaujolais if you didn't already know something. Tickets are an extremely reasonable $65 (which is about what three or four glasses of wine would cost alone). You can reserve your spot here:
I'll see you there! Email me if you have further questions!