Sunday, January 9, 2011

Henry Fessy Brouilly `07 AOC $17.99 (Not TJ's) ****

Little did I know that JPH stopping to pick up a good bottle of red to go with dinner would turn into a history lesson for me.  I have been known to deride Beaujolais.  I have in the past made disparaging remarks like "You might as well drink Kool-Aid".  Last night, I learned the difference.  JPH brought home this bottle of cru BeaujolaisHenry Fessy Brouilly. WOW. This wine is proof that a pedigree sometimes does mean quality.  This 100% Gamay was imported to the USA by Louis Latour Agencies.  JPH found it for a great price (for the quality) at our local strip-mall wine shop Greenvale Grapes.  The consensus at the table was that he scored a real find.  This is why:

My first reaction was "mmmm juicy!"  A fresh wine (hmm for an `07 - now that is something) with straightforward juiciness, cherry/raspberry and a finish that is more of a statement; after you have had a sip, you just move your tongue around a bit and you can taste the tannins.  They don't overwhelm - the wine was well on its way to my bloodstream before I even thought about tannins.  There is no doubt that they are there, which is a simple reminder to my brain that another sip would be welcome.  S. and I had so much fun tasting this Brouilly before dinner, JPH worried that we wouldn't have any left to have with dinner. 

After aeration (we used the Nuance): Don't bother.  This wine does not need any extra oxygen to be awake.  It is great and easy to drink right from the bottle. (well, do pour it into a glass first)

Henry Fessy Brouilly `07, with such a plain label (for French standards) packs a lot of controversy and history into it.  This is how I decipher the label: (and I needed the Internet to decipher it!)

Neck label: "2007 Henry Fessy" - straight forward, year and maker.
Bottle front label:  Brouilly  Appellation Brouilly Controlée [Ok, so now I know where it came from, and the French Government say's that it is special!]
Back Label:  Henry Fessy and address, AOC again, The address of Latour as importers, and a warning that you shouldn't drink wine if pregnant.

What this means to me:  Even though this is a Beaujolais wine - Brouilly is a sub-region of Beaujolais.  Latour/Fussy have chosen  not to print Beaujolais on the label(wisely in my opinion).  Was this to to distance themselves from the scandal of Beaujolais Nouveau? (A marketing ploy that has either failed miserably or was successful beyond wildest dreams - depending on who's opinion you solicit)

Maybe one day I'll cast aside my Beaujolais Nouveau cynicism and grab a bottle just off the truck on the third Thursday in November and let my review be my opinion. (note to self: mark 2011 calendar).  No matter what, I had to run to the internet to find that this wine was not only a Beaujolais, but it was 100% Gamay as well. The moral of these paragraphs is that unless you already know that Brouilly is cru Beaujolais and  Gamay, I would have no clue to what you are buying (JPH is better educated in wine than me).  If you went by the label, you would just have a name, year, importer and the assertion that the French Government protects the quality of wine produced in that area (AOC). If you are a novice, like me, you are putting a lot of faith in that AOC on the label.

I'll stop running on about the label and lack of information, it is simply really good wine from a region in France that is surrounded by a lot of history and some controversy.  My thought is that this controversy needn't be brought to the kitchen table at meal time. There is some really great Beaujolais to be found, it may not be labeled Beaujolais, just be aware at time of purchase. Caveat Emptor.

Now for dinner. I went nuts taking pictures, because as historic as our wine was - Beaujolais wine was cultivated by the Romans! A few days ago, JPH decided to make his annual tribute to Delia Smith and by making her Raised Game Pie! Delia's modern take on this ancient recipe is a mouthwatering annual event in this house.  Throughout the year, we sometimes hear wistful voices saying "mmm Game Pie....".  I decided that since I am around this year, I would document the making of the Game Pie (It is a three day process, and I only thought to do this on days two & three - assembly, baking and eating).

Here it is, from marinating meat to final consumption, JPH's Game Pie:

No comments:

Post a Comment