Saturday, May 16, 2020

Cru Beaujolais – Cedric Lathuiliere Fleurie Paired with Frog Legs #Winophiles


Cru Beaujolais Cédric Lathuilière Fleurie and Pan-fried Frog Legs

In May, the #Winophiles has ventured out to Cru Beaujolais to learn about this French wine area's geo and to taste these high-quality Beaujolais wines. Our host, Cindy from Grape Experiences introduces wines from Fleurie, which is the 'Cru' of my featured wine from Domaine Lathuilière-Gravallon. 

Cru Beaujolais - 10 Crus

Cru Beaujolais lies north of Lyon and immediately south of Burgundy. Cru is vineyard in French, and Cru Beaujolais refers to an entire standalone AOC - wine-producing designated area that consists of ten crus, starting the most northerly Saint-Amour, Juliénas, Chénas, Moulin-à-Vent, Fleurie, Chiroubles, Morgon, Régnié, Brouilly, to the most southerly Côte de Brouilly. The soil types in the area are (pink) granite, schist, clay, sandstone and limestone. The climate is semi-continental thanks to its proximity to the Mediterranean. The region is overall warmer than Burgundy, which vines consistently bear fully ripen grapes year after year. The dominant grape of Cru Beaujolais is Gamay (over 99%). Cru Beaujolais offers Gamay wines that are the most affordable, robust, food friendly, and age-worthy. Let’s take a look at the geo breakdown.

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  • Saint-Amour

Saint-Amour is Beaujolais’ most northerly appellation, featuring wines that are light, youthful and causal-drinking and have dominating flavors of ripe red fruits. Wines from Saint-Amour show their best within a year or two after harvest.

  • Juliénas

Juliénas is located below Saint-Amour. The wines there are known for their structure, slightly more tannic profiles, abundant notes of dark berries and violets, hints of warm spice, and vibrant acidity. Because of this tannic structure and solid backbone, wines from Juliénas are some of the bottles that demonstrate strong age worthiness out of the Beaujolais region.

  • Chénas

Chénas is the smallest cru in Beaujolais. Wines coming out of Chénas are full-bodied and bold, highlighting their dark fruits, spicy, floral profiles.

  • Moulin-à-Vent

Wines from Moulin-à-Vent are considered as some of the most structured and have the highest cellaring potential in all of Beaujolais. Despite of the wines’ solid frame, these wines are not overly tannic and maintain an elegant and approachable persona. On the palate, wines from this Cru are complex, presenting flavors of ripe dark berries, crushed red flowers, and wild-life game.

  • Fleurie

Fleurie has one of Beaujolais’ highest concentrations of world-renowned producers, fetching a remarkably high regard among both the industry and consumers. Vines in Fleurie grow over decomposed and loose granite on the higher slopes and produce wines with more mineral characters than those from the lower clay slopes. Wines from Fleurie are fuller and are known for their floral and mineral notes, showcasing sophistication and silkiness - soft, violet, rose petal, and red fruits.

  • Chiroubles

The vineyards of Chiroubles sit at the highest altitude out of the ten Crus. The wines are wildly fun, having notes of iris, strawberry, and bright red fruits. These are the ready-to-pop wines for immediate consumption.

  • Morgon

Morgon is the second-largest Cru in Beaujolais, just after Brouilly. Like Fleurie, Morgon is the home to a lot of high-end producers, including the renowned ‘Gang of Four’ vignerons, Lapierre, Breton, Thévene and Foillard. Wines, having cherry, metal and crushed stone notes, are full-bodied and super friendly with meaty and hearty dishes.

  • Régnié

Régnié, the youngest Cru in the area, produces the region’s most interesting wines due to its mineral-laden soils. Its wines are aromatic and bright, and are dominated by flavors of raspberry and red currant.

  • Brouilly

Brouilly covers one fifth of Beaujolais’ entire area and has the highest wine production of the area. Its soils are broken down into mostly pink granite and limestone marl. Wines from Brouilly are all-out fruit-forward, the typical Parisian ‘bistro’ wines that are light and easy-drinking.

  • Côte de Brouilly

Côte de Brouilly sits within the larger Brouilly appellation. Their wines are structured, age-worthy, meat- and cellar- friendly, and have flavors of dark berries and wet stones.

Domaine Lathuilière-Gravallon - Cross Six Appellations in Beaujolais

Domaine Lathuilière-Gravallon is located in Villié-Morgon, in the heart of the Beaujolais region for five generations. In 2013 Cedric Lathuilière and his wife, Cathy Gravallon took over the Domaine from Cathy's parents and continued its legacy in the Beaujolais wine regions. The vineyard, which consists of 15 hectares of vines, spreads across six appellations including Chiroubles, Fleurie, Morgon, Brouilly, Beaujolais and Beaujolais Villages. Hand-harvest is typical at the vineyard as it sits on sleep hillsides. The Domaine's philosophy is to practice sustainable viticulture which respects the terroir, minimizes manual manipulation, and discourages herbicides and chemical products.

Cédric Lathuilière Fleurie (SRP $15)

Charming Cedric Lathuilière Fleurie!

Cédric Lathuilière Fleurie is intensely floral but less fruity, ending with a touch of wet stone note. It’s a very modern and food-friendly wine that absolutely pairs well with many foods – pan-fried frog legs, T-bone steak and shrimps in my plate.

Frog legs are considered as delicacy in many parts of the world due to its high nutritious value, high price tag (e.g., $12.99 per pound for live frogs in the Asian grocery store) and scarce availability. Frogs are rich in protein, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin A, and potassium but ultimately the novelty dictates the price.

Fishmonger will 'prep' the frogs just like cleaning fresh fish! 

I know people may start thinking about the notorious ‘wet markets’ in Asia... Frogs are popular in high-end restaurants in Europe and are available in US restaurants too. Of course, the "prepping" of the frogs is behind-the-scene and I usually tell people to think about frogs like a food group in a pure gastronomical context rather than a prince. 

Scarcity in availability fetches the high price - a frog weighs nearly 1 pound ($13) but only the pair of legs are meaty!

For me, since I grew up in Hong Kong and had eaten frogs cooked at home or in restaurants in so many ways like pan- and deep-frying and sautéing, I see frogs as expensive seafood and cook them at home for special occasions. While there are fully prepped and degutted frozen versions out there, I do opt for fresh frogs if they are available. Fresh frogs just taste so differently from the frozen ones as the fresh ones have that pleasant and sweet taste that you can only find in very fresh fish like live sea bass and rainbow trout.

To cook any really fresh seafood, less is more. I simply pan-fried the frog legs with a bit olive oil on the heat-up cask iron pan. The key thing is not to overcook them - 2-3 minutes each side is good enough. Season with a bit black pepper and salt. The frog legs serve as the perfect appetizer along with the steak, shrimp and sweet potato. The best part is that this was the birthday dinner for one of the adventurous eaters at home, my younger daughter who enjoyed the frog legs a lot. As she said it, "Yummy! it tastes like chicken!"

Check out other #winophiles bloggers' great Cru Beaujolais finds: 


  1. Sounds like the frog legs were perfect with the Fleurie. This would be an adventurous pairing for me - but you've made it sound simple and delicious!

    1. The Fleurie is a perfect match as frog legs are almost a cross of firm fish and chicken. Gamay works well with poultries, no doubt about it. I also like to add a bit Wow to the blogs I write right now if I could. For frog legs, it's not my normal go-to ingredients due to the costs. But I carved for it and have to pay for the price.

  2. The Fleurie sounds lovely. I have to admit that while I've had frog legs, I didn't love them. However, I don't think they were exactly the best prepared version, and from reading your description, I also think they weren't the fresh versions either 9likely frozen). Will have that in mind whenever I do try them again. Cheers!

    1. I tried the frozen frog legs and honestly didn't taste much of anything. Hope you try the fresh ones whenever you see them!

  3. Those frog legs with Fleurie!!! Fascinating pairing and I love the simple way they're cooked (I've only had frog legs fried). Thank you!

    1. I like simple cooking methods like pan-fry, steam and sauté with fresh seafood. I don't like saucy food in general. Yes, this Fleurie pairs really well with the frog legs, steak and shrimp.

  4. Another Fleurie cru! I hadn't read about this cru having a mineral quality. Anxious to chat with my local shop, hoping they have one with this characteristic. On to the food, great tip re how to think about frog legs. They haven't been high on my list but I'm actually looking forward to tasting them.

    1. My Fleurie has noticeable minerality which I like a lot. To me, frog legs by no means are my favorite seafood. Since it's so rare to see the fresh ones, I always want to have them when available. The taste is just so unique.

  5. Gosh, I haven't had frogs legs in such a long time! My ex-husband is French, and he'd cook them from time to time. Love that you paired them with your Fleurie!

    1. Glad you tasted them before. They dont sell the fresh ones in grocery stores at all. Yes, one of the great pairings I did at home!

  6. Frog legs are so French and appropriate for the region! I must confess I like the "mock" frog legs better.

  7. Love your surf-and-turf pairing, and hard to wrong paired with Fleurie!

  8. It's so fascinating to me that Domaine Lathuilière-Gravallon has vineyards across 6 Crus! I had frog legs many years ago (before I was really into wine) Tasty!