Beaujolais-Villages 2009 – Henry Fessy
Historically, Beaujolais – a region originally settled by the Romans and nestled in the Southeast of France – wines are known for their lighter body, fruit-forward characteristics. The ’09 Henry Fessy Beaujolais-Villages however strives to break the mold of uniformity and take on characteristics of other Southern French reds like Côtes du Rhône and Bordeaux, inhibiting dryer, earthier elements.
This particular bottle – while 100% Gamay – is a collection of grapes harvested from several villages in the northern part of the region where vineyards mostly rest on hillsides. The consistency of grapes, growing methods, and climates certainly lend to congruity of aroma and taste throughout the bottle. Like most recent Beaujolais, this wine is meant to be enjoyed sooner rather than later; a true differentiation from
other French wines which can be shelved for many years.
Having read several favorable reviews of this wine online, I was excited to break into the bottle. Personally, as a fan of dryer, earthier, and spicier old world reds, I was curious to see how this Beaujolais stacked up against other Southern French reds.
The bottle has a nice white label proudly displaying the Henry Fessy brand (which is most likely a tip of the hat to impressionist painter, Pablo Picasso) and an orange foil that stands out a bit more than darker foils typically seen on French wines. Once opened, the cork has a deep, burgundy color and is only slightly saturated with the wine.
Upon pouring the first glass, I’m hit with scents of intense red fruit (particularly strawberry and raspberry), hints of wood, and dry grass. After several minutes of swirling the glass to open up and oxidize the wine the overall aroma hadn’t changed, leading me to believe that this was going to be a wholly consistent bottle, both in aroma and taste.
My first sip was followed by a big whiff of the wine. I let it sit in my mouth for a few seconds and I immediately tasted the red fruit that is ever-present on the nose. It’s evident that this Beaujolais is more of a medium-body wine, a slight contrast to other wines from the region. There are sparse flavors of wood and spice buried under the fruit and I picked up a modest touch of acidity on the back-end.
I was delightfully surprised by the dryness on the palate, however the finish was particularly smooth and refreshing while the dryness lingered on the tongue. This subtle complexity was enjoyable as it made me really pay attention to each sip.
My assumption that this bottle would be mostly consistent throughout was confirmed after pouring, smelling, and tasting the second glass. Each aroma and flavor experienced on the first glass was still present and I only noticed a very small inclination of additional dryness (again, an attribute I distinctly enjoyed).
The overall aroma and flavor characteristics were homogenous throughout each smell and sip.
The ’09 Henry Fessy Beaujolais-Villages is a delightful choice for any novice or experienced wine drinker. Fans of both full-bodied and light-bodied wines will most likely find several characteristics they’ll enjoy. The overall consistency of the wine will not present any surprises along the way, but will undoubtedly delight. Enjoy on its own or with red meat and/or mild cheeses.
When paired with the Oliva V Ligero Especial, the wine provided a nice, delicate balance of smooth, fruit flavors that pair nicely with the cigar’s woody notes.