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by Fred McMillin
Brouilly (brew-yee) is one of the best and most famous districts in France's Beaujolais region...The wine is one of the most attractive of the entire region, especially when young. Fruity, full-flavored yet soon ready to drink, it is among the most agreeable red wines in the world.
(Schoonmaker Encyclopedia of Wine, Alexis Bespaloff)
If it's that good, let's see where it came from.
100 A.D.—The Romans are planting vines on Mont Brouilly, between modern Macon and Lyon in eastern France.
700 A.D.—A young hermit lived near the ruins of Nero's palace as the Roman empire was collapsing. Benedict of Nursia went on to establish the first order of monks, serious and black-robed. By 700 A.D. the Benedictines had reached France and took over winemaking in a district named after the village of Beaujeu, that is Beaujolais.
1395—Burgundy, named after a Germanic tribe, is north of Beaujolais, and does it a big favor. The Duke of Burgundy, Philippe the Bold, bans the Gamay grape, forcing it to flee south to the granitic soils of Beaujolais, where it shows great improvement.
1676—While no doubt enjoying the new dessert that's the rage of Paris (ice cream), the firm of Mansart & LeNotre is not resting on its laurels (they'd designed Versailles). Instead, they start laying out what will be the largest Chateau in Beaujolais...with 360 acres of gardens, parks and vineyards (100% Gamay), Chateau de La Chaize. It produced our...
Wine of the Day
1998 Chateau de La Chaize Brouilly
Food—When my wife took cooking lessons for eight years from the late James Beard in his Manhattan apartment, he poured quality Beaujolais with these dishes after the class prepared them.
Lamb and rice with pine nuts
Oxtail ragout with Brie
Contact—Office of Paul Wagner, (707) 255-7667, FAX (707) 255-1119.
Price—Expert Anthony Dias Blue says these top-rank Beaujolais at less than $15 are among the best red wine values on the market. This one is right on target...twelve dollars!
The 1,500-foot Mont Brouilly has given rise to two designations, Brouilly and Cote-de-Brouilly. The Cote vineyards cover the upper portion of the hill. Both are 100% Gamay from essentially the same soil and very similar temperatures, so the differences between the two wines are very small. La Chance is a Brouilly, which claims to express the true character of the Gamay a bit more. I don't think it will disappoint you.
This page created September 2000