Taste: A gorgeous Beaujolais Cru, this bottling embodies the wine style of Joseph Drouhin in its balance and harmony and the wine profile of the more complex side of Saint-Amour. Aromas of violet, raspberry, kirsch, musk, and spice— a delicate peppery spice like pink peppercorn, are found in the glass and follow through to the palate, which is focused around minerality and fresh (not baked or overripe!), crisp red fruit and stone fruit like a fresh peach with staying power on its lingering finish. This should be served slightly chilled (at cellar temperature) to highlight its pure-fruited character and mineral texture.
Pairing: Youthful Saint-Amour wines are good aperitif wines or pair well with summer dishes like barbecues (check out the Huli Huli chicken recipe below), Mediterranean vegetable tarts, kefta kebabs, salmon or tuna dishes, carpaccio or charcuterie and fromage platters. Other options include poultry with cream and morels, poulet roti, stuffed turkey, patés, terrines, rillettes, and jambon blanc.
Huli Huli Chicken
Recipe from Alana Kysar
Adapted by Margaux Laskey
About. Since 1880, Maison Joseph Drouhin has built a reputation for wines that primarily reflect their individual terroir and vintage. Faithfully preserving the individuality of each appellation, the Drouhin firm constantly strives for wines of breed, finesse, and elegance.
A balance of tradition and modern techniques characterizes Joseph Drouhin's wine making and vineyard management: on-site nursery, plowing, leaf removal, 100% hand harvesting, open fermenters, fermenting, and aging in oak.
As a result of its historic location deep in the heart of Beaune, the quality of its vineyards, and the expertise resulting from years of experience in the cultivation of vines and traditional vinification, Maison Joseph Drouhin is uniquely placed to uphold authentic Burgundian style.
Starting with Joseph Drouhin, who founded Maison Joseph Drouhin over a century ago, a great estate has evolved with important holdings in Côte de Beaune, Côte de Nuits, Chablis, and, most recently, Oregon.
About the area. Saint-Amour is the most northerly of the ten Beaujolais cru areas, located just to the south of the Maconnais appellations of Pouilly-Fuisse and Saint-Veran. Saint-Amour wines are among the lightest of the Beaujolais crus, often displaying spiced berry and stone-fruit characters with a marked minerality.
Just under 320 hectares (800 ac) are planted to the Gamay grape variety on the south- and east-facing hillsides on the western banks of the Saone River, making up the viticultural area of the Saint-Amour appellation. While most of the ten Beaujolais cru areas were established in the 1930s, Saint-Amour was not officially delimited as a cru until February 1946. Today, it is one of the smallest Beaujolais appellations, larger only than Chenas.
The topography here in the northern part of Beaujolais is hillier than in the south. Clay loam soils made up mainly of schist and granite are complemented by smaller amounts of limestone. These lightly textured soils are often credited with contributing to the minerality that marks the wines of Saint-Amour.
The hills to the west of Beaujolais shelter the vineyards of Saint-Amour from heavy weather systems from the north, instead giving rise to a dry, warm wind that helps to keep moisture out of the vineyards, reducing the risk of mildew. The angle and elevation of the vineyards maximize sunshine exposure, ensuring grapes have ample sunlight during the ripening period. The harvest in this part of Beaujolais often comes earlier than that in the flatter vineyard areas in the south of the Beaujolais region.
The Saint-Amour appellation takes its title from the Saint-Amour-Bellevue commune, itself named for a Roman soldier who escaped death by converting to Christianity. Legend has it that he established a monastery in the area, and was later canonized as Saint Amateur (amateur meaning 'lover' in French). Sales of Saint-Amour wine therefor tend to soar around St. Valentine's Day in February with 20 to 25 percent occuring in the month of February.
A large quantity of white wine is also made from Saint-Amour's vineyards, mostly from Chardonnay and Aligote grapes, although under appellation laws they must be labeled under the more-generic Beaujolais Blanc designation, or under the Saint-Veran appellation that overlaps slightly with Saint-Amour.
Wine Styles, an excerpt from Jamie Drummond in the article titled ‘Exploring Beaujolais : A Look at the Saint-Amour Cru,’ published Jul 26, 2018 in Good Food Revolution.
“The wines of Saint-Amour can be classed into two quite distinct categories.
First we have the lighter, fruitier, easy-drinking wines that have gone through a quicker maceration and are best consumed within 12 – 15 months of the harvest.
Then we have the bolder, more intense, structured, and usually more mineral-focused wines that have seen a longer maceration. These wines usually drink their best somewhere from four to 12 years after the the harvest, although it is rare to see Saint-Amour with this much age on it as most are unaware that the best examples are quite ageworthy.
What with the varied soil composition, the wines of this small region can vary quite dramatically. Typically one will find expressive fruity and floral aromatics that often include red berry fruits (strawberry, raspberry), mignonette (not the sauce but another name for the fragrant Reseda flower), peony, stone fruits (namely peach and apricot), kirsch, and delicate peppery spice that is reminiscent of pink peppercorns.”
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