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“Huggable,” is how one member of the tasting panel described the 2010 Chateau de Pizay Régnié. “Scrumptious, and addicting,” were another member’s comments. And this is from a group that normally bestows few accolades upon any wine, the least of all a Beaujolais. But Chateau de Pizay is no ordinary Beaujolais. It offers a bouquet redolent with the savory scents of Bing cherry, raspberry and red currant and a flavor profile to match. Elegance, flavor and purity are this wine’s calling cards. And in the mouth, the 2010 Chateau de Pizay Régnié is round, vinous, and positively charming with cherry fruit and spring violet flavors that seem to seep from the wine’s soft, round marrow. Enjoy the 2010 Chateau de Pizay Régnié cool (55º-62º F) after just a few minutes of aeration. Salut!
Chateau de Pizay’s 2010 Régnié needs no other accompaniment than a clean glass. However, we will concede that traditional Burgundian cooking and other savory dishes from around the world will only double the pleasure of this superb wine. Lightly flavored meats such as veal, ham, and pork provide excellent traditional accompaniments to the finest wines of Régnié, especially when the Régnié is young and still in the full bloom of youth. Light game such as Cornish hens, quail, and squab make superb pairings with this wine, too. Coq au Vin, a Burgundian classic, is certainly one of the region’s signature dishes and, perhaps, the most traditional companion to the best that Beaujolais has to offer. But what may come as a surprise to some is that grilled or poached salmon will pair nicely with the 2010 Chateau de Pizay Régnié as well. However, if these choices do not provide enough tasty accompaniments, we suggest a platter of cow’s milk cheeses.
The majestic Chateau de Pizay is one of the oldest and most illustrious estates of Beaujolais. It comprises 180 acres of vines from Régnié and Morgon, two of the ten great cru villages of Beaujolais. The oldest records regarding this eminent property date to 1030, and since the 14th century the imposing keep of Chateau de Pizay has stood atop the foothills of the Beaujolais Mountains of Southern Burgundy. For centuries its wines have been admired by legions of connoisseurs and beloved wine drinkers from far and wide.
Under the dedicated tutelage of Pascal Dufaitre, the estate’s current director, winemaking at Chateau de Pizay combines tradition with the use of stainless steel, semi carbonic fermentation (a traditional form of whole berry fermentation) and modern temperature control methods to ensure preservation of the fruit and freshness in the wines. And indeed, the hallmarks of Chateau de Pizay’s splendid offerings are pure fruit flavors, polish, freshness, and a depth of flavor rarely seen in most other Beaujolais wines. Morgon and Régnié are the estate’s top offerings, but Chateau de Pizay also produces a delicious Beaujolais Blanc and Beaujolais, all of which are bottled in the distinctive Pizay bottle.
Today, Chateau de Pizay is not only one of Beaujolais’s premier wine estates; it is also a luxury hotel with a fine restaurant where guests are able to visit the magnificent old cellars that have hosted many famous banquets. The Chateau and grounds are beautifully maintained, including classic formal 18th century gardens with sculpted hedges.
Beaujolais is situated in the extreme south of Burgundy. It is a vast region of nearly two hundred villages and communes, which are spread out on varying subsoil and many individual terroir. Unofficially, Beaujolais forms the dividing line between northern and southern France. Straddling the un-specified equivalent of the American Mason-Dixon Line, the wines of Beaujolais flow in copious quantities north to Paris and south to Lyon and beyond.
In spite of inherent variations in quality, which reflect the differences in soil composition, altitude, and level of production among the region’s thousands of growers, one common denominator comes to fore in Beaujolais – the Gamay grape variety. Gamay provides the defining character and flavor of Beaujolais. Today, Gamay and Beaujolais are nearly synonymous even though the red wine of Beaujolais can be bottled legally as Burgundy, if it is made exclusively from Pinot Noir, and similarly the appellation’s white wine is entitled to the Burgundy label when it is produced from Chardonnay. However, only miniscule amounts of the entire production of Beaujolais is bottled as Burgundy because of the unique quality of Gamay in the granite rock of Beaujolais and the unprecedented commercial success that Beaujolais has enjoyed since the Second World War. Gamay reigns supreme in this picturesque wine country, and nowhere is this truer than in the ten great cru villages of Beaujolais, which constitute the best that Beaujolais has to offer.
Although wines with a Beaujolais or Beaujolais-Villages AOC can offer very pleasant drinking, the ten cru villages comprise the heart of Beaujolais and offer the consumer the finest Gamay wine in the world. In addition, each of these ten townships possesses a special terroir and individual set of characteristics that make for memorable drinking. In order of ascending prestige, fullness of body, and the proven ability to age, the Grand Cru villages of Beaujolais are Brouilly, Côte de Brouilly, Chiroubles, St. Amour, Fleurie, Régnié, Chenas, Morgon, Julienas, and Moulin-à-Vent. Typically, Morgon, Julienas, and Moulin-à-Vent are the fullest and most Burgundy like of the wines of Beaujolais, enjoying a reputation for ageing up to five or more years in bottle with excellent results. However, in recent years the wines of Fleurie and Régnié have emerged as the region’s true crowd pleasers, as they most typify the virtues of Beaujolais in their balance, freshness, and panache.
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