Muscadet & Beaujolais: Turning it on again!
They call it the Phil Collins effect (PCE).
Once household names with world acclaim, then a fall from grace, only to be resurrected by future generations. We might include Muscadet and Beaujolais as PCE contenders. Against all odds if you pardon the pun, these two stalwarts from the last century have regained some of their lost allure thanks to a new generation of wine drinkers (and producers) looking for easy drinkability and modest alcohol levels.
I’m often asked by my WSET students which wines I enjoy the most. The safe and predictable answer is to wheel out the big guns like Bordeaux, Rioja or Burgundy, and whilst I do really appreciate these wines, that’s different to actually ‘enjoying’ drinking them. It’s a bit like owning up to quite liking Coldplay or prog rock when in answer I utter the word ‘Beaujolais’.
Wine, like music, is all about mood and – let’s face it – affordability. Gamay, the black grape responsible for Beaujolais, is never going to make truly great wines like its illustrious neighbours, but what it does score highly on is its ability to provide simple, unpretentious, great-value pleasure, glass after glass after glass. It’s my wine comfort blanket, a go-to when I need something familiar and homely to sip.
Same too with the wine equivalent of old-school hip hop Muscadet, that bracingly fresh, tongue-tingling white wine from the mouth of the Loire river that instantly perks up the senses and doesn’t demand too much of you except just chill.
Both Muscadet and Beaujolais are now enjoying a renaissance thanks to forward-thinking producers working with old vines and consumers looking for value for money as prices rise for the more prestigious French wines. I can’t wait to give these underrated wine regions the red carpet treatment on Thursday 16 September.
I won’t go so far as to say that I’ve been waiting for this moment for all my life, but oh Lord, it’s definitely time to think twice; Muscadet and Beaujolais: let’s turn it on again!