The Domaine de la Prébende Beaujolais 2017 is a AOP Beaujolais Villages designated Gamay Red wine. The actual name of this bottling is the Anna Asmaquer Beaujolais Villages 2017, but you will only find this in small print on the back label. Anna is the Great Grandmother of the winemaker, Ghislaine Dupeuble, of Domaine Dupeuble of Beaujolais. The Domaine de la Prébende Beaujolais is from the Kermit Lynch Wine Collection. Kermit Lynch is a very well-respected wine importer and one of the things to remember about import wine is “follow the importer“. If you find a wine from that importer that you love there is a good chance you will find others in their collection that speak to you.
The Domaine Prébende Beaujolais is a cuvee, not because it is a blend of different grapes, it’s 100% Gamay. But because it is a blend of vineyards, the grapes come from 89 year old vines, 79 year old vines, and 39 year old vines. If this were a California wine there would be “old vines” written in large letters on the label, but that is not how they do things in France. This Beaujolais is produced the traditional way, natural yeasts, no added sugar and the wine is unfiltered, meaning there may be some grape sediment in your glass. There are records of Gamay being grown in this region since the 1300s.
Beaujolais has a couple of categories to keep in mind. The first is wines simply called Beaujolais, these are wines produced from villages (about 100) thru-out the region. The next category is Beaujolais Villages, these wines are produced from grapes grown near 38 designated villages. And finally the top category, Beaujolais Cru, which are sourced from a vineyard near one of 10 villages. The Domaine Prébende is a Villages wine, but that does not mean the grapes came from all 38 villages, it looks like no more than 3. If a Villages wine comes from grapes grown near only 1 village, they can put the village name on the label.
So, you have one grape, Gamay, and only a hand full of classifications to figure out. That makes Beaujolais one of the easier growing areas to get a handle on. The Gamay grape will remind you of Pinot Noir. Beaujolais is located on the southern side of Burgundy, the top Pinot Noir and Chardonnay growing district in the world. Champagne is on the north side of Burgundy, they use Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, too. Since Burgundian wines and Champagne are seen as Premium growing regions, Beaujolais and Gamay wines are comparatively under the radar and far more affordable. I found this wine for $12.99 and excellent Beaujolais wines are available for under $25. The Cru Beaujolais tend to be age worthy wines and can get pricey, but the rest are relative bargains.
The color is garnet with black highlights. The nose is ripe red berries and a savory note, a touch of spice, a little pepper, with a light floral edge. The Domaine Prébende Beaujolais has an interesting mix of New World fruit and Old World structure. Yes, it is fruit-forward, but it is still very French. It tastes of tart cherry, a touch of herbs, a slap of black pepper, plums and spice. There is a nice “edge” to this Gamay, that you rarely encounter in $12.99 American wines. This is a versatile food wine, there is enough structure to do well this roasts and grilled meats and would do equally well with Easter ham. This is a wine where the acidity engages your palate, while the finish isn’t particularly strong, it doesn’t fade.
- When buying European wines follow the Importer. They tend to have “house styles”, if you like one there is a good chance you will like others. The actual name of this wine is in small print on the back label. Kermit Lynch’s name is on the front label on top.
- Don’t be afraid to explore Beaujolais wines. They only produced 3,500 cases of this wine, a fairly small production for a $12.99 wine. You will not find it at very wine shop in every town in the US. Take a chance, grab a wine you don’t know. It’s not expensive and you never know where your Beaujolais wine journey may lead.