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This Old Wine

Essential Drinking for the Beaujolais-Obsessed

© Lawrence Marcus

You don't have to be a hoarder or deep-pocketed auction-goer to drink well-aged wine. Here, we spotlight affordable old bottles to buy now.

1998 Domaine J. Chamonard Morgon Le Clos de Lys: Beaujolais has come a long way since the days of Nouveau mania. The region now boasts an impressive lineup of skilled small-scale producers making fantastic wines with grapes from the 10 cru vineyard areas. The best wines from the Morgon area have often been known to age well, and this year the husband-and-wife team behind Domaine J. Chamonard released a small cache from the 1998 vintage that had been sitting in their cellars since bottling. While this wine isn't cheap (part of the region's appeal is that the best bottles rarely top $30), its quality and rareness justify the expense for any dedicated Beaujolais lover.

The (Wonderful) Effects of Age: Precise, red-fruit flavors are a hallmark of Beaujolais. Even at age 15, this one has plenty, though what might have once been sharp raspberry has mellowed to soft, sweet red cherry and strawberry. There's also a healthy amount of a pleasantly gamey, earthy note that comes from long aging. The fruit and funk work beautifully together on a light, silky-textured frame.

Drink It With: Something simple, like Judy Rodgers's classic herbed roast chicken with bread salad. Younger, brighter Beaujolais can work well with stronger flavors, but they could overshadow this subtler, more complex old wine.

Best Price Online: $49 at Chambers St. Wines. Find more stores.

Related: Beaujolais Guide
A Winemaker's Oregon Nouveau Party
Top-Vintage Bordeaux for Under $20

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