Bright and vivid, it’s hard to beat Beaujolais for ‘gluggable’ wines
Caves de Juliénas-Chaintré Villages Cuvée Six, Beaujolais-Villages, France 2018 (from £9.95, nywines.co.uk; eynshamcellars.com; butlers-winecellar.co.uk) It would be very hard to find a red wine region in the world offering better value for money than Beaujolais at the moment. I don’t just mean that the land north of Lyon provides some of the most reliably drinkable red wines you can find for not much more than a fiver. Wines that are relatively light and, with their soft to non-existent tannin and bright berry thirst-quenching juiciness, are the ideal incarnation of that onomatopoeic wine adjective, gluggable. Chillable, wines such as Tesco Beaujolais Rouge or Sainsbury’s House Beaujolais (both exactly £5). The region also regularly hits a thirst-quenching, prettily-scented spot for a couple of quid more, with “villages” wines, from superior vineyards, such as Morrisons The Best Beaujolais Villages (£6.50 until 4 October), Waitrose Blueprint Beaujolais-Villages 2018 (£7.99) or, in super-succulent, vivid, finger-staining, fresh-off-the-bush style, the Cuvée Six made by a 170-strong co-operative of local growers.
Co-op Chiroubles, Beaujolais, France 2019 (£10, The Co-op) As in Burgundy, the northerly neighbour with which it is sometimes bracketed (and more often unfavourably compared with), Beaujolais really starts to shine once you are dealing with wines made in a specific village or cru. French wine law allows 10 Beaujolais villages to put their names on the label, each with a slightly different take on the combination of gamay grape and granitic soils. Pound for pound, these cru wines are often even better value than the straight Beaujolais and Beaujolais-Villages wines – and they’re certainly in a different bang-for-buck league than the equivalent quality level of Burgundian pinot noir, or the syrahs of the northern Rhône a little further south. Certainly, I can think of very few wines that provide as much unmediated pleasure as The Co-op’s recent addition from the Chiroubles cru, with its gorgeously lithe and slinky silkiness and its fresh summer fruit compote flavours.