Tasting Notes: Louis Jadot Beaujolais-Villages

A couple of weekends ago, Kevin and I did a virtual class with Elizabeth from Wine for Normal People where she walked us through how to taste wines. I have done several different classes around tasting skills, and I always pick up something new from each class. Every person has their own way of describing things, and I enjoy learning tips and tricks from all! Elizabeth is so personable and has a (for lack of a better word) no-bullshit approach when it comes to wine. Hence, Wine for Normal People. Anyway, this Beaujolais wine was the red wine selection for the class. Kevin and I were both surprised by how much we liked it, so I thought I'd share!

As a little background for those unfamiliar with the region, here are some notes on Beaujolais. There is a classification system, specifically three (or four) levels:

  • Cru Beaujolais - The highest level, and only 10 of the 96 villages are able to label their wines as such. These typically are labeled as the Cru name and the 10 villages have their own personality. To get a summary of the different personalities, check out this post from Wine Folly.
  • Beaujolais-Villages - Tier below Cru. There are 38 villages that are in this bucket, and the wines are a bit lighter than Cru and more fruit forward.
  • Beaujolais - The lowest level and most general description. I think of this as the "Kleenex" issue... all Kleenex are tissues, but not all tissues are Kleenex. Similarly, all Crus can be Beaujolais, but not all Beaujolais can be Cru. Note that wines just labeled as "Beaujolais" can vary widely in quality.
  • Beaujolais Nouveau - These wines are released the 3rd week in November. I've seen some in stores that have crazy colorful bottles. Many feel that these wines have not fully developed before they're shipped because there isn't much time between harvest and bottling. You can therefore get sort of funky notes like banana and bubble gum. 

The Facts

  • Producer: Louis Jadot
  • Region: Beaujolais, France (south of Burgundy)
  • Vintage: 2015
  • Variety: 100% Gamay
  • Where I purchased: Total Wine
  • Price: $9.97

Edit: I also found this at my local grocery chain for $15.99.

Jadot Beaujolais Villages
  • Eyes: Lighter and more of a cherry red in color, fairly transparent. This immediately gives me the impression it'll be a lighter bodied wine.
  • Nose: Very fruit forward! Smelled like ripe red berries. Some other students picked up on a more earthy smell, but the fruit is what was most apparent to me.
  • Mouth: This is one of those wines where what you smell is what you get. It is very fruity with cherry and strawberry shining through, but don't confuse fruity with sweet. It's not sweet. I also picked up on a hint of earthiness, which is common in French wine, but I didn't feel like I was eating dirt or anything. It's had a nice medium body with good acidity. Tannin was not apparent, which is characteristic of the grape. 
  • Thoughts: This red, and Gamay in general, is a great summer wine because it's light and fruit forward. It's also best when slightly chilled, so perfect for those warmer days! I think think the fruit flavors and slight earthiness would work great with pork dishes. For die-hard cab lovers, this is probably too light, but if you like Pinot Noir or other lighter grapes, give Beaujolais a shot!

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Tasting Notes: Domaine Mousset Rosé

Life is busy. So. Busy. That's no excuse, I know, but May and June have been crazy with work travel. I've been on the road six out of the last eight weeks, and it's exhausting, let me tell you. On the plus side, I've been racking up those HHonors points for future fun travel, so score! Now onto the wine... I returned home from my travels last weekend to an empty home (plus a dog). Kevin was off gallivanting around Charleston and I wanted a nice, cold bottle of rosé for the weekend. I stopped in the Total Wine that just happens to be across the way from where our dog was being boarded, and what do you know... they have a huge display of rosé! I browsed through the description cards, liked the sound of the Domaine Mousset, and the price was right. I just hoped it didn't disappoint!

The Facts

  • Producer: Domaine Mousset
  • Region: Côtes du Rhône, France
  • Vintage: 2015
  • Variety: Grenache - 60%, Carignan - 30%, Cinsault - 10%
  • Where I purchased: Total Wine
  • Price: $12.99
  • Eyes: The picture does a pretty good job of showing an accurate color. It may be a bit lighter than it shows, but not much. There's a definite pink tinge or salmon-ish color, which to me gave me an idea of bold flavor. My advice: DON'T fall into that trap! I listened to a great podcast on rosé from Wine For Normal People and the guest, a rosé expert, pointed that out specifically.
     
  • Nose: This wine was very fragrant, smelling strongly of strawberry and watermelon, if you can believe it. There was also a hint of cherry, but it was very fruity on the nose.
     
  • Mouth: Wow, STRAWBERRY! That was definitely what stood out the most. Fruit, all fruit. It had good weight and what they call "mouth feel"... wasn't too heavy or too light in body. With it being chilled, the acidity was very nice. I think some people could see this as "sweet", but I really think it's just really fruity. 
     
  • Thoughts: I am a HUGE fan of this rosé! If you tend to lean toward more of a mineral flavor profile when it comes to white or rosé then this may be too fruity for you, but I love it. I think that it has great flavor and I still find it has enough minerality to be refreshing. This is perfect for the summer and rosé is actually a wine that pairs with a lot so it'd be a great addition to a July 4th BBQ! At the low price of $12.99, this is a must!

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Tasting Notes: Joel Gott California Grenache

The Facts

  • Producer: Joel Gott
  • Region: California
  • Vintage: None listed
  • Variety: Grenache
  • Where I purchased: Whole Foods
  • Price: I lost my receipt, but I believe it was around $14.99.
  • Eyes: This wine was a maroon color, definitely a "purple-y red". It was translucent which always makes me think it will be more subtle in flavor. I'm pretty sure that's not a fair association, but it is there nonetheless. I also noticed the legs on the wine. The legs were very pronounced which indicates a higher alcohol content. This was corroborated by looking at the bottle... it was 14.3% alcohol!
     
  • Nose: The first thing I noticed on the nose was pepper. There was a also a hint of raspberry. The last thing I noted was kind of a weird aroma... I couldn't think of exactly what to call it other than cough syrup. I know that sounds horrible, and it was definitely not my favorite aroma, but it didn't deter me from proceeding on. In fact, it made me more curious to know what it tasted like. Did it also taste like there was a hint of Robitussin?
     
  • Mouth: First, I did not taste any hint of Robitussin, which was a relief. The flavors I tasted first were vanilla and dark red fruit like raspberry and plum. I think the pepper I smelled on the nose was actually more of a smokey flavor on the tongue. There was definitely another non-fruit flavor present other than the smoke. I had to do some research on Grenache to identify what it was, and I think what I would pin it as is leather. Finally, I felt that the wine had a velvety finish despite the higher alcohol content. 
     
  • Thoughts: I enjoyed this wine and so did K. I thought the flavors were tasty and the bottle was on the less expensive end of our collection, although it is on the border of what I would pay for an every day wine. If you like medium bodied reds, I think this would be a great one to try! The medium body of the wine also lends itself to being paired with a variety food dishes, so it's a great choice for a wine with dinner. While I haven't seen this one widely available (although I haven't really looked), if I ever came across another bottle, I would definitely pick up one for a dinner party. I think it would be a crowd pleaser! 

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Tasting Notes: Kitchen Sink Red Table Wine

This is the fourth wine from my Total Wine 2015 Challenge

The Facts

  • Producer: Kitchen Sink
  • Region: California
  • Vintage: No year specified
  • Variety: Red Table Wine - a blend of Zinfandel, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Sirah
  • Where I purchased: Total Wine
  • Price: $9.99
  • Eyes: This wine is a "medium" red. It's dark, but not opaque like some of the more full-bodied wines I have had. Also, while swirling my glass, the wine seems more viscous. Both of these wines lead me to believe that the wine will be lighter bodied for a red blend.
     
  • Nose: This wine has a good nose... pretty fragrant for a red. The most prominent smell that came across was a dark berry, like raspberry or blackberry.
     
  • Mouth: My instinct from the "eyes" portion was correct. This wine is medium bodied and pretty smooth. It's what I like to call "drinkable"... easy to drink with good flavor. It is fruity with little spice and medium tannin. Based on my research, other flavors that have been identified are creme de cassis (liquor made from blackcurrants), plum, and pepper. I didn't taste any pepper notes, but that could just be my palate. 
     
  • Thoughts: I would say this pretty good for the $9.99 price point. As some of the other less expensive wines I've had, I definitely think this is a good intro for those trying out red wines due to the low tannins. I prefer more spice and "bite" to my red if I'm have a good meal, but I would say it's a nice choice for every day table wine. We ate this with sauteed chicken in a light tomato sauce, and I thought it paired quite nicely!

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Tasting Notes: Backbone Cabernet Sauvignon

This wine was not part of the wine challenge, but we have somewhat of a stockpile of bottles, so I figured it was best to work on our inventory for a bit before buying more. I'll try to wrap up the 2015 challenge before the end of 2015 though. 

The Facts

  • Producer: Motto Wines
  • Region: California
  • Vintage: 2013
  • Variety: Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Where I purchased: Wine dinner at a local French bistro. It appears that they are sold in our local grocery store, Harris Teeter, as well. They have a "Find Wine" feature on their website to help you locate their distributors. 
  • Price: $15.00 on their website, but we were able to get it for $7.99 from the distributor that was at the dinner. Average price appears to be around $11.
  • Eyes: It is a very pretty red color. It's more of a cherry red color vs a deeper purple-y red that I sometimes find with bolder reds. Definitely not "opaque" like some of the red blends I've had. It makes me anticipate more fruity flavors and a more medium-body for a cabernet. 
     
  • Nose: Definitely fruit forward. Some deep red fruit like raspberry, but I also smelled a hint of spice. Didn't pick up too much probably because I had been cooking spaghetti sauce before and the garlic smell was overwhelming.  For future reference, I should probably taste my wine prior to cooking.
     
  • Mouth: I think the spice I was smelling was wishful thinking (I love spice), and I tasted more of a vanilla flavor. The wine was very smooth to drink with little tannin, which I find to be common in less expensive cabs. It was fruit forward, with some raspberry and maybe some cherry in there.
     
  • Thoughts: Another great choice for every day drinking! I would say it's very "drinkable", meaning it was easy for me to pour more than one glass. For the price, I was very pleasantly surprised with the good flavor in the wine. As I wrote my tasting notes here, I pulled up the wine's fact sheet to see how my notes compared to what the winery said. The first thing I noticed is that this is not 100% cab, which is actually quite normal.

    Fun fact: In the USA, in order to list the wine as one varietal, it must contain at least 80% of that grape.

    Anyway, this wine is actually 80% cabernet sauvignon, 10% petit verdot, 10% petit syrah. I think these other varietals added to the complexity of the flavor well. Their fact sheet also mentioned flavors like plum and caramel. Regardless of these details, I am chalking this up to a success and adding this to my every day list.

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