For our end-of-summer vacation, my family rented a house on Lake Champlain for a week spent enjoying Vermont's beautiful scenery. After days out on the water or hiking, the six of us would take turns cooking dinner, taking advantage of the neighboring small farms’ fresh produce (sweet corn for the grill, just-picked tomatoes and apples), the state's artisanal cheesemakers and the homemade blueberry and apple pies at the local market.
Although I knew my brother would be picking up growlers from the Burlington-area breweries and we'd be stopping by a couple local wineries (more on that another time), I also carted several bottles of wine from home to be sure we could start the week off right.
For my first turn at the stove, I made chicken breasts with roasted tomatoes, kalamata olives and feta and a side of orzo and greens. Despite fumbling with the electric stove and an unfamiliar kitchen, it all came out fine, the chicken more tender and moist than I usually manage. From among the wines on hand, we chose a Beaujolais, Louis Jadot's Chateau des Jacques bottling from the Morgon cru.
The 2009 vintage was an exceptional year for Beaujolais, and the wine had a depth and intensity that impressed even my brother, who has been known to mildly grumble about not being fond of Gamay when I bring it out at Thanksgiving. The smooth texture and juicy, rich blackberry and black cherry flavors were enlivened by cinnamon, nutmeg and other baking spices and a fresh finish that called for yet another sip. 90 points, non-blind. The bottle disappeared all too quickly, but the wine itself should still go strong for a couple more years.
WineSpectator.com members: Get the original blind-tasting note for Louis Jadot Morgon Château des Jacques 2009 (90 points, $22).
• Plus, get scores and tasting notes for more recently rated Beaujolais.