With the unseasonally warm weather showing no signs of a let-up it’s time to revisit the classic combination of French charcuterie and Beaujolais - perfect for picnics and other outdoor eating.
Beaujolais has had a poor press in recent years but at its best - and the recent 2005 vintage is a great year - it’s a charming and seductively summery wine. I recently bought a bottle of 2005 Georges Duboeuf Chiroubles which Waitrose has been selling at the knock down price of £5.99 and it was quite simply delicious - full of vivid red cherry fruit. Many Pinot Noirs have followed the trend of red wines becoming increasingly full-bodied but this was beautifully balanced.
If you don’t pick a ‘cru’ Beaujolais like Chiroubles (there are 10, named after the individual villages in the region), make sure you buy a Beaujolais-Villages, a step-up in quality from basic Beaujolais.
Charcuterie, for those of you who are not familiar with the term, is a catch-all description for processed meat products, mainly based on pork. It includes pâtés, terrines (such as the Terrine Beaujolais featured today), rillettes, all kinds of preserved sausages (saucisson sec) and air-dried ham. A good selection with some cornichons (small pickled cucumbers) and a crusty baguette makes a fine meal.