Bottle of red wine, grapes and cheese isolated on white
The French Wine You Should Know About For Foolproof Pairing
By Jennifer Sweenie
The rules for pairing food and wine are not hard and fast or as black-and-white as many seem to believe. There are some general rules of thumb to follow, but when it comes to a foolproof red to whip out for any large dinner gathering or party where the menu options and diners’ palettes run the gamut, one variety reigns supreme: Beaujolais.
Hailing from eastern France, Beaujolais wine is made from Gamay grapes, with sturdy, prolific, and easy to maintain vines that fare well in the volcanic soil of the region. A unique process called "carbonic maceration," where the entire grape bunch — branches and all — is added to the vat, gives Beaujolais wine a fruity taste and lower tannins than other red varieties.
The modified fermentation process the grapes undergo, combined with the granitic soil and terroir of the region, lend to flavors and aromas of banana, plus other fruits such as cherry and raspberry. Some bottles have notes of mushrooms, smoke, and even bubble gum, per Wine Folly.
Known for a lighter body and a higher acidity than most reds and best served chilled, Beaujolais is touted for being easy to drink and versatile. Fiona Beckett of Matching Food & Wine says a charcuterie is its ideal match, but it pairs well with sushi, seared tuna and salmon, duck, lamb, and steak frites — and even with Chinese food takeout.