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Potel-Aviron, Moulin-a-Vent, Vieilles Vignes: 2004

May 13, 2008

~$20US, 100% Gamay, Moulin-a-Vent, Cru Beaujolais, Burgundy France

I’m starting to tire of big wines  – They have their place in my cellar (and heart), but the warm spring weather has really inspired me to dig into the lighter-bodied reds and more delicate whites. I also find myself getting more excited about wine that bucks the trends…wine that is almost uncool, varietals like Muscat, Carignan, some Rieslings, Melon, Cab Franc, etc. And not too expensive….

Cru Beaujolais offers much of what I’m looking for. Made from the Gamay grape, the wines are lighter-bodied, but can be quite complex and interesting in the right hands. The 10 Crus Beaujolais have traditionally proven to be more distinctive and compelling than the simpler Village or plain Beaujolais appellations – with some examples exhibiting the finesse and age-ability of the much more expensive Pinot-based Burgundies. Moulin-a-Vent is probably the most prized (and some say “most serious”) of the Crus especially in terms of power and longevity. The Potel-Aviron was of particular interest to me for 1. Being an Old Vines cuvee, 2. Being a few years old, and 3. Coming from the hands of Nicolas Potel, who has proven a track record of creating quality Burgundies.

Great translucent Ruby color. The nose was just a tiny bit shy, but seductive with red cherry, some wet leaves, and a mysterious crayon-box aroma. Beautifully light and soft on the palate – showing a refinement and velvety finesse that I rarely encounter in under $40 wines. Perfect acidity and balance. Great flavors echo the nose – pure red cherries, but not too fruity or candied, and the crayon/colored pencil/graphite notes really intermingling with some light leather/funk to make for a complex but harmonious wine. Still showing the tiniest bit of tannic astringency on the backend, making me believe this could live on in bottle for another year or 2.

Way over-delivering for the price and great with food. Pair with picnic fare, sandwiches, salmon, or heartier salads. This gets me excited to obtain more of this and the other Crus, and see how they develop. Recommended for a lighter touch and an old-world value.

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