The White Whale of Beaujolais! Even in the Kingdom of Gamay, there is room for an occasional white wine. This blanc proves that Chardonnay deserves its place at the [Beaujolais] table.
Producer: Château Thivin
Region: Côte de Brouilly, Beaujolais, France
Tasting Notes: Yellow Apple, Apricot, Lemon Zest, Toasted Hazelnut
Pairings: Fish and seafood, snow crab salad, pasta with white wine or cream sauce, poisson cru
Price (approximately): $28
Buy: Fujioka's Wine Times
Ah, Beaujolais, the forgotten brother. While it is administratively linked to Burgundy, its famous neighbor to the north, the two regions are vastly different in terms of climate, topography, terroir, and wines produced. This has produced, to the North, some of the most sought after and expensive wines in world, leaving southern Beaujolais in the shadow of its prestigious brother.
But that has not stopped Beaujolais from making incredible wine. Wine production in the appellation can be traced back to the Roman era, when the Roman Legion traversed north from the Rhône Valley into Beaujolais. Where Legions travel, wine and frivolity follows! The wines, fine tuned by the Benedictine Monks, sufficiently intoxicated the residents, but rarely ventured outside its borders. With the advent of newly-expanded train routes in the 19th Century, Beaujolais wines cultivated new admirers in the lucrative Paris metropolis and beyond. The light, easy-sipping Beaujolais region now produces more wine annually than the rest of Burgundy combined.
The region is made famous for its fresh, vivid, easy-drinking red wines. Unequivocally, this is red wine country. However, elevation in its volcanic regions (Côte de Brouilly and Côte du Py), combined with occasional limestone patches, create opportunity for winemakers to craft compelling white wines. Enter Chardonnay, the shining white star of Burgundy. Nestled atop the ancient volcano of Mont Brouilly, the iconic Château Thivin enjoys cool nights and unique terroir (consisting of limestone and blue granite) that affords focused flavors, bright floral elements, and balancing acidity. These are ideal conditions for Chardonnay.
The nose greets you with fresh ripe fruit of apricot and yellow apple, followed by lemon zest and floral elements. On the palate, the wine has an oily and full texture (though not unpleasant), with plenty of fruit, lightly toasted hazelnut (from the oak aging) and finishing strong with refreshing citrus acidity and minerality.
On the rare occasion you can find a Beaujolais Blanc, you must take advantage! In Honolulu, pick up a bottle at Fujioka's Wine Times.