Wines from the Beaujolais region have suffered a great slander to their image due to the misrepresentation by Beaujolais Nouveau. The latter was originally meant to be simple “New Wine” produced with excess grapes from lower profile parts of the region and released as a “celebration” at the completion of the vintage. But in terms of personality, it was more akin to Pez candy or those horrific banana marshmallow things than it was to the beautiful and polished wines being made in the 10 official “Crus” (sub-appellations). Once the Nouveau started to be shipped internationally as a marketing tactic, consumers less familiar with the traditional wines of the region were lead to understand this was what to expect. This paralleled the struggles the German wine industry has suffered to it’s image. Lesser quality, mass produced bottlings such as Black Tower or Blue Nun from the 70’s taught the international markets to believe such sweet, simple wines were all you’d get from Germany. Nothing was further from the truth. More recently, Yellow Tail from Australia has left the wine industry there with a black eye. Products such as these are created more by a marketing department and a lab than they are the wineries. The general consumer came to believe all the wines from these countries were of a singular style and painted them with the same brush. Once those wines fell out of favour, more serious wineries were left to pick up the pieces. Decades have been spent in these regions attempting to re-educate the consumer that there’s so much more to the wines than they’d been made to think.
Roches Bleuses’ “Soleil de Brulhie” (Burning Sun from the Blue Rocks Chateau) is just such a wine. Located on the “Cotes de Brouilly”, the Bassy family has owned and managed the 4ha estate since 1967. Gamay is the only grape grown in the region though every one of those “crus” has it’s own personality. This is largely due to soil composition but also location as it pertains to the sun, elevation, water retention and numerous other factors. Cotes de Brouilly are considered to be one of the fuller bodied and more age worthy examples amongst the different parts.
Vines for the “Soleil de Brulhie” are 15 to 60 yrs old.
All the grapes are picked by hand as mandated by the regional authority and are then aged in large, old oak barrels called “fourdes”. As the barrels have been used numerous times, they have a neutral impact on the flavour of the wine.
Deep ruby in colour, you’ll find red fruits and spice on the palate along with aromas of peony and violet.
This is a very elegant expression of Gamay and is a good alternative to the much more expensive Burgundies produced north of the region. The wine will benefit if served on the cooler side; 14 – 15 degrees Celsius. You can also hold on to wine for a couple of years is so inclined.
Where to buy it:
Blackfish Liquor Store in Upper Gibsons is the only place where the wine is currently available.
$31.70 + taxes.