A PERENNIAL leading question in the wine industry is, what will the next "hit" wine be? My Times colleague, Dan Berger, recently concluded in his column "that Beaujolais is destined to be the next fawned-over wine in the United States, since it's the one red wine that can take a freezing and keep on pleasing."
Beaujolais does take to chilling nicely, and, perhaps more than anything else in its favor, has a youthful freshness that gives it an instant accessibility and an undeniable charm; its bouquet suggests fruit and flowers. And there's no need to age Beaujolais--which fits the American habit of pouring a wine only hours after purchase.
Charles F. Shaw, who produces, in the Napa Valley, one of California's most honored wines of Beaujolais traditions, says: "There's nothing pretentious about it. Buy a bottle, take it home, pull the cork and pour it--and it's wonderful. It's fresh and beautiful--like a vase of fresh-cut flowers; there's no mystery to the enjoyment."
It was the Cru Beaujolais, those finer editions of this popular French wine, that drew Shaw into the world of wine making. A West Pointer who chose to not become a career officer, he left the service, earned an MBA in banking at Stanford and took his first assignment in international banking in Paris. A Swiss friend took him to Beaujolais, where the spell of those nine classic growths, Moulin-a-Vent, Julienas, Morgon, Chenas, Fleurie, Saint-Amour, Cote de Brouilly, Brouilly and Chiroubles, fascinated him.