Recently, I hosted a lunch at Scarpetta as part of the New York Wine & Food Festival. Seated next to me was a young woman who was taking classes at the French Culinary Institute in Manhattan. She had recently fallen in love with Julia Child and was gearing up to make Child’s beef bourgignon recipe from Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Vol. 1. It’s one of those benchmark dishes that everyone should make at least once, because the laborious process gives you a truly detailed look at the thought and techniques that make French cuisine so great.
I told her that I had once cooked the dish for Emeril Lagasse, with the result that he reminisced all during dinner about his happy and funny memories of Julia. Her eyes widened.
“What wine would you recommend I use in the recipe?” she asked.
“Beaujolais,” I said. “It’s technically part of Burgundy, so it’s legitimate. It has enough fruit to add some real flavor to the dish. And though you can spend $20 and get a not-so-good bottle of actual Burgundy, the same amount gets you an excellent Beaujolais.”
Talking about Beaujolais made me thirsty for it, so I went home and opened a Beaujolais-Villages from the ripe, round 2009 vintage, a cuvée Georges Duboeuf bottled for Sherry-Lehmann ($10). It was drinking beautifully: bursting with cherries and plums, with hints of earth and herbs, a nice balance of soft acidity and gentle tannins, just a pleasure to drink. Nothing spectacular, but nothing out of place. It was delicious with a roast beef sandwich; I rated it 85 points, non-blind.
WineSpectator.com members: Read the original blind-tasting review for Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais-Villages Flower Label 2009 (84 points, $10).
• Plus, get scores and tasting notes for more recently rated Beaujolais.