Seeking a Party Pleaser: Beaujolais Cru versus Barbera d’Alba

In the continuing search for a perfect wine for a dinner for 500 guests, my colleagues and I tried two wines in a lighter style: the 2010 Jean-Marc Burgaud Régnié “Vallières” Beaujolais Cru and the 2009 Giacomo Ascheri Barbera d’Alba Vigna Fontanelle.  We were split between these two options, both of which we liked a lot.

The Burgaud come from the Régnié appellation, which is the most recent addition to the Beaujolais Cru category, having been designated in 1988. Fortunately, the initial aromas of sweat and horse and flavor of leather dissipated after about 20 minutes, allowing the fruit – primarily bright sour cherry and raspberry – to come forward. A couple of my colleagues picked up on a slight green undertone, which I would describe as an herbaceous quality. The palate was dusty with a stony minerality and pepperiness. Medium-plus acidity with modest, but tactile tannins. Streamlined. Unmistakably Gamay in a very good way, I found this to be a very appealing wine.

At Vinodivino for $16.50.

The Ascheri Barbera d’Alba was immediately likeable with pronounced black cherry juice and blueberry aromas.  The palate was ripe, spicier, and richer than the Beaujolais. I thought that the oak had been used judiciously, lending light vanilla, particularly on the palate. Medium-plus acidity, medium tannins, medium-minus body, with a good, long-lasting finish. The longer it was open, the more rustic it started to get.

At Gordon’s Fine Wine for $15.99.

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Katrin is one of the co-founders of Wine Dine With Us. She enjoys sharing her love of wine on the blog, and is particularly fond of wines from Argentine, Alto Adige, and Germany. A lifelong environmentalist, Katrin has become increasingly interested in issues of sustainability in wine and food, local food production, biodynamics, and organic agriculture. When not drinking wine and writing about it, she is a nonprofit professional, specializing in fundraising and special events.

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