It was May. The skies above were a a light blue, clear and bright. A soft breeze blew, cooling the warmth of the sun on my skin as I sat down under the shade of a tree. Normally at this hour, I’d be in front of my computer, the glow of the monitor searing my face. But today I’d been invited on this rather perfect afternoon to sit down on Acadia’s patio, dine on the BBQ that Chef Patrick Kriss had prepared, and sip and sample from several bottles of Beaujolais. All in good company to boot.

Back in the 90’s, Beaujolais – that bubble-gummy and bright wine – had garnered a bit of a bad rap after an on-fire rise in the 80’s. I missed all that so I got to experience the wines presented to us with a clean slate and no preconceptions.

Before things got underway, I did a bit of running around taking some shots. Chef Patrick Kriss was out with the tables grilling up eggplant for later, inside Acadia the rest of the staff were prepping plates for the gathering crowd.

Just-cooked shrimp on top of Anson Mills grits. Lovely texture and flavour from the corn meal. Paired with Georges Duboeuf, Beaujolais Fun, 2009 and Louis Jadot, Beaujolais-Villages, Combe Aux Jacques, 2011. I found the Louis Jadot to be the best pick for this with its slightly fruitier sweetness and peppery finish. Stood up well to the creaminess of the grits. The Fun was notably bubble gummy – very much the style of the Beaujolais of yore.

Piri Piri chicken leg with yogurt. Paired with the trio of Bouchard Aîné & Fils, Beaujolais Supérieur, 2011; Jacques Dépagneux, Morgon, Côte Du Py, 2011; Joseph Burrier, Saint-Amour, Côte de Besset, 2009. Thought the Jacques Dépagneux lent its fruity big berry flavour to things. Very nice.

Grilled eggplant with peanut, coconut, and curry condiment. Paired with Château de Pierreux, Brouilly, 2011; Villa Ponciago, Fleurie La Réserve, 2011; Georges Duboeuf, Beaujolais-Villages, 2010. I debated between the Villa Ponciago and the Georges Duboeuf and in the end, I gave the win to the Duboef in pairing with the food best. I’d drink the Ponciago on its own though!

Korean short rib with crispy rice, sesame, and chili. Paired with Domaine Manoir Du Carra, Juliénas, 2010; Domaine Du Vissoux, Moulin à Vent, Les Trois Roches, 2010; Domaine Piron-Lameloise, Chénas, Quartz 2009. A lot of those around the table really liked the Juliénas, but I found it had too much of that “farm” taste that certain cheeses can carry. I didn’t think it went with the dish nearly as well as the Chénas, which was bursting with black berries.

To finish, a dark chocolate ganache with chantilly cream and a kernel of caramel popcorn. Nothing paired here, but that’s okay too.

Bottles on the sil, waiting for us to sample…

Overall, the Beaujolais crus – are really quite lovely summer drinkers. This event was most especially nice because I got to eat Chef Patrick Kriss’ cooking before he left Acadia the following week.