An Easy To Find, Gulpable French Red For Easter

Review: 2009 Maison Louis Jadot Beaujolais-Village $13 (or less)

There's been a lot of hype surrounding the 2009 vintage in France.  But when has there not been hype in France?  The wines are just beginning to hit the market and this is the first red to hit the tasting table here.  One data point does not make a trend, but this is at least a good start.

Beaujolais, made from the Gamay grape (which is pretty much a bastard in many parts), is the stuff that goes into the Nouveau - You know, the swill that gets churned out by the tanker load and celebrated right before Thanksgiving every year?  Well, they also hold some of the better stuff back to age for a bit.

This is some of that other stuff. 

Unprepared to like it as much as I did, it was a pleasing surprise.  Best case scenario, I was thinking fresh fruit that youth-driven wines enjoy when all the stars align.  It's got that.  But what makes this wine more is what it's missing: a lingering, cloying fruit residue that accompanies many less expensive, fruit-driven wines and which is the harbinger of a forthcoming hangover.  In the place of that residue (or, as the French say, residu) is an acidity that lends this Beaujolais both structure and balance without sacrificing a thing.

A versatile, lighter-bodied wine that would be equally matched to chicken salad, a fleshy piece of fish, or a game of p├ętanque.