Le Beaujolais nouveau est arrivé!
That’s right; it’s that time of year again! The third Thursday in November when the audacious French traits of being xenophobic and snooty towards Americans combine in the swinish hoax known as Beaujolais Nouveau!
Sure, this year we could again drink toilet water from the armpit of Burgundy – Beaujolais Nouveau – while some effete, stubble crusted Frenchman chortles. We could also tax ourselves right into another Marshall Plan to bail the EU out of its debt crisis too! Actually, come to think of it, Beaujolais Nouveau is essentially a great bit of tomfoolery designed to bail out what can only be thought of as run-off from France’s huge nuclear power industry. They ship toxic waste into Algeria; why not put it in wine bottles, affix eye-catching labels, and send it to those silly Americans too!
No! And let’s say it together – never again shall we drink Beaujolais Nouveau. But let’s not get carried away. This Thursday, and in fact, this Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday lets drink the good stuff. Let’s drink Amarone.
Amarone, the very antithesis of Beaujolais Nouveau. Where Nouveau is a thin, vapid French wine made via the new-fangled machinations of carbonic maceration, Amarone is Italy’s heavy weight champion, inspiring awe in the imbiber via its dramatic depths completed through the age old process of Appassimento. A vino da meditazione, Amarone’s rich power is guaranteed to knock your socks off as well as spank the Thanksgiving turkey across the table. It is a wine not to be trifled with or to be missed.
Amarone hails from Valpolicella, the inland hills up from Venice, Italy. It is primarily made from the grapes Corvina and Corvinone. But unlike many Italian wines where the region or grape plays a key role in flavor, Amarone’s distinction comes from a process. This process is the Appassimento, or drying of the grapes.
Here is what happens: the grapes are picked normally, like every other place in the world. They are then spread out on perforated straw mats. These mats are placed in an open air warehouse where fans constantly blow air across them. This combination dries the grapes out, in essence, creating raisins.
All of us know the flavor difference between run-of-the-mill concord grapes and Sun-Maid raisins. You can imagine a similar difference when a wine is made via appassimento. But you don’t have to imagine what Amarone is like because we’ve got one on special, right here – Sant Antonio’s!
Sant Antonio’s Amarone opens with smells of blackberry jam spread on warm buttered toast. It feels so silky, so supple going down that it warms you like a late night snack from Grandma sneaked to bed and munched under the covers. Amarone is never a simple wine, and Sant Antonio’s revels in its complexity. Waves of aromas like bittersweet chocolate, violets, musk, vanilla and espresso a combine into a fascinating, heady drinking experience. It truly is a vino da meditazione, a wine to meditate with, as it draws you down into its deep dark depths. Once there, it will snuggle you like a fur coat worn on the beach of a freezing opal sea. Experience this Amarone slowly, and cherish every drop.
As you can imagine, Amarone is never cheap. It is extremely difficult to make and the very act of creating it, the appassimento, lowers the yield, typically by half. What would have been a $30 wine automatically costs $60. The brothers Castagnedi however, want to spread their love of Amarone far and wide. Take advantage of this charitable offer on their Amarone because, as any Italian will tell you, Amarone is not a wine for every day occasions, but it is a wine to have as often as you can.
2007 Sant Antonio Amarone
Retail Price: $59.99
Sale Price: $39.99
And, just to show you we aren’t mean to the fine vintners of Cru Beaujolais, here is another offer!
2010 Lapierre Morgon, Cru Beaujolais
Retail Price: $26.99
Sale Price: $21.99
Here at Waterford, Lapierre’s Morgon is one of our favorite wines. Yes, it comes from Beaujolais, but from one of the “crus” of Beaujolais – Morgon. It is decidedly not nouveau.
We love and prize this wine for its delightful lightness of being, its bright cherry fruits that seem to bound forth with the excitement of a child that just learned how to ride a bicycle, and its charming way of smiling at you like a freshly burped baby. If Amarone is for contemplation, Lapierre’s Morgon is for dancing.
The 2010 vintage gives us the bittersweet reminder that Lapierre’s Morgon has been handed down to the next generation. Marcel Lapierre lost his battle with cancer just before completing the 2010 harvest, and his talented son Mathieu is now at the reigns.
2010 is a great vintage for Beaujolais, especially Morgon, and we would like to think that this wine reflects Marcel’s character: his extraordinary gifts as a winemaker, his brilliant quick wit, his radiant good humor, and his enviable love of life. His wines are of the same personality, full of youthful excitement, snappy jocose acidity, and joie de vivre.
When Marcel started making his Beaujolais the region was known only for Nouveau, which gave rise to Beaujolais’ unjustified reputation as the arm-pit of France producing toilet water wine. That reputation is rightly reserved to Nouveau. Despite these misperceptions and through his belief in natural, non-interventionist wine-making, Marcel started a revolution in Beaujolais. And that revolution has gone on to change the entire world of wine.
Vive le Gamay! Vive le Lapierre! Vive le Cru Beaujolais!
We will be tasting these wines on Friday and Saturday (as long as we don’t sell out of them!)
Half case and full case discounts apply to this offer.
All orders must be secured with a name, credit card number, and phone number. All orders will be available at the time of purchase.
When the wine is ordered your credit card will be charged. The wine will be held in climate controlled conditions until you are ready to pick it up, free of charge. Offer is good while supplies last.
This piece was edited by Tim Hansen who notes that sneaked is the correct usage, not snuck.
Some of the ideas of this piece, “wine of meditation”, “inspire awe”, among others are derived from Nicholas Belfrage’s book Barolo to Valpolicella published by Faber Books. If you are at all interested in Italian wine this book is indispensable.
Parts of the Lapierre section, specifically “Marcel’s character” are from a personal communication with Bruce Neyers at the Kermit Lynch National Sales Office. Thank you Bruce for your heartfelt email regarding Marcel Lapierre.
Amarone bottle tag: richly styled gorgeously fruit driven wine. Drink as a cocktail or serve with boldly flavored foods. Drink now until 2022.
Lapierre bottle tag: bright, cheerful, crisp light wine. Drink as a cocktail or serve with light foods including poultry and seafood. Drink now until 2013.