Let’s do a little retro. Turn the clock back two or three decades and dare to party with the summer wines of your parents’ era! Assuming that your parents were sophisticated of course — and drinking French wine. Muscadet and Beaujolais were the white and red of choice back then. French wines with names that were easy to pronounce. Instant sophistication — at a reasonable price. Mon dieu!
But fashion changed. French became expensive, the quality became iffy, and a new generation switched to California Chardonnay.
Everything goes in cycles and now many wine drinkers are ready to return to the hits of the ’70s. Reconsider Muscadet and Beaujolais because they have had a makeover. Not only is the quality better, the prices are reasonable — even a bargain.
Muscadet is a frank, fresh white. There’s not much flavour but it livens the palate every bit as quickly as a dry martini. It’s a great summer refresher, or aperitif wine. Serve well chilled and toast $10 wine.
Beaujolais is a lighthearted, lively red that should get invited to every summer party. Its message is “lighten up,” and it is equally good on its own or with food. You must have at least one summer evening of
Beaujolais and grilled salmon. Lightly chill the wine and have a second bottle ready.
Muscadet and Beaujolais are part of the “youth camp” of wines — for gulping in their first year. Lively stuff for the summer season. Almost forgotten wines that are fun to revisit.
• P.S. My recommendations for this Saturday’s Vintages release are posted on www.billysbestbottles.com(weekly wine picks).
Billy Munnelly is author, wine critic and publisher of Billy’s Best Bottles Wineletter and Billy’s Best Wines For 2007, a guide to the best wines at the LCBO, available in bookstores or through www.billysbestbottles.com. Sign up for his free wine e-letter at www.billysbestbottles.com.