Every November, the big buzz award seems to go to Beaujolais Nouveau, the immature French red that signifies the year's wine harvest. I may or may not pop open a bottle, decide it tastes like paint thinner, and dump it down the drain. It's not a wine known for its complexity or balanced flavors.
Cru Beaujolais, on the other hand, is a serious wine in its own right. It may have a hard time shaking off its little brother's reputation, but Cru — which comes from one of 10 designated areas in the Beaujolais region — can have legitimate sense of place, complexity, and aging potential.
I've had an obsession with the stuff lately, especially with wines from Morgon. It's the second-largest winemaking village in the region, with volcanic soil that makes wines like this 2009 Raymond Bouland earthy and loamy, but with a ripe, dark fruit bouquet and nice length. Next time you're looking for a complex red under $25, I urge you to ask your local wine shop for a Cru Beaujolais recommendation. Have you had any nice bottles of Beaujolais lately?