Red wines tend toward the stronger end of the wine flavor spectrum since the nature of the red winemaking process more easily results in forceful, flavorful wines than delicate wines of grace. However, one big exception to this is the wines of the scenic Beaujolais region of central France. There, the local gamay grape makes some of the world’s lightest and brightest red wines.

Beaujolais is most famous for its affordable “Beaujolais Nouveau,” sappy young red wines that are made by a special fermentation method that allows them to be drunk almost immediately. They are released with great hoopla in the November following the harvest, and feature a cheerful candy-apple color that matches their flavor.

Sadly, though, the popularity of these not-terribly-serious wines has led many Americans to overlook the region’s serious wines as well, which are labeled as either “Beaujolais-Villages” or under the name of a specific village in the region as a signifier of superior quality. Most of these wines use standard red wine practices and age the wine before release as well, but the gamay grape’s naturally low levels of sugar and tannin result in pale and delicate red wines, like this one, that taste of strawberries and cranberries. Beaujolais-Villages makes a brilliant partner for lighter foods, from seafood and salads to white meats and even vegetarian recipes.

Louis Jadot Beaujolais-Villages
Courtesy of Louis Jadot
Louis Jadot Beaujolais-Villages

Louis Jadot Beaujolais-Villages — Burgundy, France (12.5% ABV)

On sale for $12.99 through 9/29 (regularly $14.99); PLCB Item #7208

Also available at: G’s Liquor Gallery in Gloucester, N.J. ($10.09); Joe Canal’s in Marlton, N.J. ($10.09); Total Wine & More in Cherry Hill, N.J. ($10.17)