Bob’s Pick: 2016 Jean Foillard Beaujolais-Villages, $23.00

Beaujolais has always been considered the red headed stepchild of Burgundy. While located in the Burgundy region, it uses a different grape (Gamay) and a different fermentation process (carbonic maceration); it’s its own thing. Like the Pinot Noir from Burgundy proper, the Gamay grape more often expresses itself as a lighter bodied wine with bright acidity. Unlike its more uppity cousin, however, the Beaujolais fruit component is not so brooding, not so intellectual, not so mysterious. Where a Burgundy would have dark hair and dark eyes, a Beaujolais is more of a strawberry blonde with freckles and green eyes. And, unlike its flashy cousin, a well stacked Beaujolais won’t cost you an arm and a leg (or even a rib) to take out. Carbonic maceration is simply the process of plopping all the grapes, bunches, clusters, seeds, stems, and all into the fermentation tank. In this process the whole grapes (whole clusters) will actually start to ferment inside the skin. Eventually the carbon dioxide, one of the by-products of fermentation, bursts the grape skin and releases the juice. The wonderful result is a bright flavor resembling strawberries. Like Burgundies, Beaujolais are classified by the village of origin. They can be village specific, a blend from different villages, or just Beaujolais. Jean Foillard is a legendary producer of village specific Beaujolais. This is his first village blend and, while about half the price of his village specific Beaujolias, it is definitely NOT half the wine. Seamless and smooth, it shows a pretty, peppered strawberry nose on the front end. This doesn’t give way, but softens just enough to reveal a wild bramble and wet pebble minerality. This lovely Beaujolais reminds me of a petite redhead I lost my head over when I was younger. And, it either takes me to the end of the bottle to remember her name, or forget it.