Beaujolais wines are often summed up as “light, drinkable reds” — an enticing description that may partially explain their recent popularity. The fruity red wines from France’s Beaujolais region, often made from pinot or gamay grapes, are popping up as more folks embrace such “chuggable” wines, at wine bars and also at home.
But climate change is putting a damper on such wines, says Kae Whalen, beverage director at LA’s Kismet and 2019 Eater Young Gun. Certain grapes “are starting to see things like water stress,” Whalen explains, meaning less water and dryer, hotter temperatures — which means more sugar and more alcohol. “[For] pinot’s thin-skinned, delicate grapes, it can be a lot more difficult to handle these sorts of weather shifts,” says Whalen. “It’s about people adjusting their expectations of what’s coming from a place and adjusting what their idea is of a ‘typical Beaujolais’ — or a typical anything.”
Still, if there were ever a moment for chuggable wines meant for immediate consumption, now — as so many people have been forced inside by the novel coronavirus — is it. If you find yourself not finishing the whole thing in one night (as many of us have), Whalen has tips on how on keep that bottle good for more than a day, shared at our Beaujolais-themed Eater Wine Club, part of the Eater @ Home virtual event series.
Invest $5 in a vacuum pump. “I have one of them at home. I don’t always drink an entire bottle of wine, so it’s nice to be able to preserve it by taking the oxygen out of it. That’s honestly a big factor: how much oxygen a wine sees.” A few options:
- VacuVin Wine Saver ($10 from Bed Bath & Beyond)
- EZBASICS Wine Saver Vacuum Pump with 4 Bottle Stoppers ($15 from Amazon)
- Oxo Vacuum Wine Preserver with Two Stoppers ($17 from Target)
Or use a plastic cork. “If you know you’re not going to drink all of it right away, pour yourself a glass, vacuum-seal it or cork it with one of those little rubber corks — they’re really easy to find online.” A few options:
- All-Plastic Reusable Tasting Corks ($10 for pack of 25 on Amazon)
- VacuVin Wine Saver Vacuum Stoppers ($5 from Bed Bath & Beyond)
- Rabbit Bottle Stoppers ($9 for four from Sur La Table)
Put it in the fridge. “[After you] cork it, put it in the fridge.”
Find out if your wine is made to last (or specifically get wines that are). “Some wines do better [the next day], but there’s no guarantee something’s going to be amazing the next day. Get to know wines and ask your wine professional what they think; a lot of shops are still open and doing delivery and pickup and have different ways you can engage with them.”
Tune into the full Wine Club below and check out upcoming virtual events: