WINE REVIEW: Couvent des Thorins 2018 Moulin-à-Vent, France ($27)
by Andrew Chalk
I am really excited to see this wine, and especially to hear that it is now available in Whole Foods. That should make it more accessible to thousands of wine drinkers.
I am excited because Cru Beaujolais is the Rodney Dangerfield of red wine. It gets no respect. But, for all the wrong reasons. People conflate it with Nouveau Beaujolais, a totally different wine consisting of fruit that appears to have completed fermentation on its way through customs. Cru Beaujolais, by contrast, has an élevage more akin to that of a red burgundy. The Gamay grapes are fermented, maybe after a cold soak (21 days in the case of this wine), and then aged, in the case of this wine, for 16 months in stainless steel.
They choose their fruit carefully as well. The 40-year old vines for this wine grew in granitic soils layered over soils rich in manganese and metallic oxides. Viticulture was sustainable incorporating natural soil amendments, manual weeding, and integrated pest management.
The result is a rustic ruby color leading to a nose of Gamay fruit, Beaujolais cru-typical forest floor, a dustiness to the fruit notes. In the mouth, the wine is medium-bodied, grippy tannins provide structure and strawberry and herbal flavors fill the mouth.
It is ready to drink now and best with pork, veal, Asian food that, while it may be spicy, is not too hot. For example, Thai Tom-Yum soup or Vietnamese meat and vermicelli noodles.
Cru Beaujolais is not a common site on American tables. You now have a chance to change that. I predict that it will not be your last.