Remember that this saturated red-violet Beaujolais is Burgundy, so use a large well-shaped glass and don’t overfill it. Aromas of sun-warmed black plums, wild blueberries, fraises des bois, and rose hips move in and out of the foreground, alternating with more fleeting suggestions of red raspberries, fresh peonies, and dried orange peel, as the nose evolves in the glass. On the palate, the wine is juicy, luscious, and refreshing, like a ripe vintage Côte de Beaune Pinot Noir, with mineral-laced red and black fruit flavors that darken to blackberries and spiced currants over time, adding grated nutmeg, redbush tea, and an insistent suggestion of just-rained-on wet limestone. There is weightless clarity and mineral richness in the long, satisfying finish, and only 12.5% alcohol (making this one an absolutely perfect red wine for the summer).
About this wine producer: Jean-François, Sylvain, and Martine Brondel represent the third and fourth generations of their family to produce fine Beaujolais at Domaine des Crêtes. There are ten hectares of Gamay Noir, grown on a mix of yellow limestone, clay, and a little blue granite; and one hectare of Chardonnay for the Beaujolais Blanc and Crémant de Bourgogne. The “Cuvée des Varennes,” which is always one of the top wines of the Beaujolais appellation, comes from a parcel of seventy year-old organically farmed vines. In 1998, Domaine des Crêtes was a founding member of “Terra Vitis,” now an association of growers throughout France who practice strictly organic viticulture. The family farms nearly 30 acres of vines in tough, granite soils. The farming is natural, with traceability checks carried out by an independent organization operating under the "Terra Vitis" guidelines which were established to protect groundwater and preserve the natural condition of the soils. It is a variation of "bio-dynamie" principals, and is entirely organic.