Bob’s Pick: 2016 Domaine J. Boulon Brouilly, $12.99

PROLOGUE: Brouilly is a Beaujolais Appellation Contrôlée at the southern edge of the Burgundy region in France. The grape that they grow and vint there is Gamay.

Used to be that Merlot was the American red wine dandy (before Merlot fell from grace). People could pronounce it, and it had recognizable flavors that could be expounded on with confidence. It became so popular that competing varieties would tout that they were the “new Merlot.” Like any boom though, it busted. Merlot is still (and will always be) one of my favorite varieties, but mostly now, I have to sway people over to it. Nowadays, I say that Merlot is the new Merlot. I want to tweak that a bit, Beaujolais is the new Merlot! Yes everyone, because of that maddeningly wonderful swill that is released just before Thanksgiving, the Beaujolais Nouveau, everyone now knows how to say Beaujolais, and it does have recognizable fruit flavors that can be expounded on to make any regular cork dork feel like a true wine geek. The price is right too! This Beaujolais, from the village of Brouilly (one of the ten Beaujolais Villages) is light in body, bright in color, lower in alcohol, and long on the wonderful spicy peppered strawberry that is the recognizable signature flavor profile of Beaujolais. Bright acidity lets it pair perfectly with afternoon cheeses and light openers. And, while there’s still heat in the afternoon, a slight chill (not cold) makes this wine perfect for September’s lengthening shadows. Enjoy!