Party Time Party Wine
Château des Gimarets Moulin à Vent 2013
Finding great party wine – or cocktail wine, as my sister-in-law calls it – can be challenging. You don’t want anything too heavy with intense tannins that’ll yank your teeth off (unless you’re into that sort of thing) and you don’t want anything too sweet or too high-acid or too much of anything really, since you’re going to be sipping on it for a while and you don’t want to get bored (or annoyed).
As much as I love Riesling, I once took an off-dry local bottle to a party, had one glass, and started searching for the gin. What would ordinarily have been a delightful sipper – super chilled on a patio or with some spicy Indian food – became cloying and overwhelming. This bottle I’d so looked forward to became a burden – and no one wants that at a party.
That’s why it’s tough. You’ve gotta find something that balances fruit, acidity (you need all that saliva to keep your mouth moist while chatting your best small talk, obvi), and tannin without having too much of any. You want something that’s gonna mind its own business without being a tasteless wallflower. You want something that’s going to be delicious and easy to drink, but not overly simple or shy.
You want Beaujolais.
Made exclusively from Gamay, Beaujolais is the perfect party wine (it’s pretty perfect in general, party or no party, if you ask me). It’s full of character, acidity, and delicious fruit. It’s easy to pair with almost any food, but it’s delightful to drink on its own.
I took this particular bottle to a party over the weekend and it fit in seamlessly with the crowd. It was fruity and light, and while the nose was pretty and the flavours enjoyable, it wasn’t overly complex so I was never so caught up in its perfume that I was taken away from the conversation.
Moulin à Vent is one of the 10 Beaujolais Cru, which typically make the most serious expressions of Gamay, and it’s specifically known for crafting big, age-worthy wines that strut their stuff. I mean, a Gamay-based wine is never going to kill you with tannins or weight, but Moulin à Vent wines are usually pretty big.
Not this one, though. This is probably their entry level bottling, not meant for long-term aging but for immediate, glugable enjoyment (remember “glou glou”?). And for $17, I wasn’t really expecting anything super mind-blowing anyway. But what I got was all Gamay charm, lovely cherry and orange fruit, and a more-ish wine that I could drink all evening without getting bored.
What’s not to like?
Nose: Baking-spiced cherries, orange zest, strawberries, flowers, and pepper
Palate: Juicy, juicy, dripping red berries with a splash of Cointreau, cinnamon, spice, and a hint of vanilla. It’s super easy to drink with buoyant acidity, but the fruit keeps it from being overly puckering. It’s balanced, bright, and fruit-forward, with some structure and texture so the overall impression is of harmony My husband found it a bit bland, but I actually don’t think that’s a bad thing here. It’s not the best Beauj I’ve ever had, but it’s perfect for parties and Monday nights. Oh, and maybe for hate-watching Riverdale. I’ll give that one a try and report back!