Before The Fun Fall Wines Come In, Try Some Serious Beaujolais

Grapes are now being picked and wine is being made across the Northern Hemisphere as autumn rushes toward us. Before long it will be November, and Beaujolais nouveau will be arriving from France. So before we drink fall's fun wine, let's first consume some serious Beaujolais, made from the gamay grape that is grown in the 10 designated villages or crus where the best stuff is made. Here is a sampler:

2010 Villa Ponciago "La Reserve" Fleurie ($19). Bright strawberry fruit that finishes with dark, savory overtones and a fair amount of tannins.

2010 Domaine des Billards Saint-Amour ($19). Very bright cherry-raspberry tastes, full, with some sweet vermouth and bitters notes and a touch of savoriness in finish — about as similar to a pinot noir as the gamay grape gets.

2011 Voute des Crozes Côte-de-Brouilly ($19). A very good example of a good Beaujolais food wine, this one has rounded black raspberry tastes, good mineral flavors, light tannins, and is moderately lean.

2011 Daniel Bouland Chiroubles ($24). Smooth and very drinkable — lots of strawberry and lighter raspberry tastes, with a lean finish and moderate tannins. This one could have fun with a grilled strip steak.

2011 Christophe Pacalet Chenas ($19). A pleasant gaminess with a full body yet a crisp finish. Dark cherry flavors.