Walk into the wine store on third Thursday in November, and most likely you are greeted with the abundance of wines with brightly colored labels, which were not there just a day ago. Yes, that means that Beaujolais Nouveau, the wine of new vintage, made out of grape called Gamay in Beaujolais in France, has arrived.
As with many other wine in France, Beaujolais wines have a very long history, despite the fact that officially Beaujolais AOC was established only in 1937. It was always a tradition in the region to make young fresh wine of the current vintage just to celebrate harvest. For the long time this was only a local tradition. In the 1970th, it became national phenomena in France. In the 1980th, the tradition of celebration spread out in Europe and then got to the North America – largely with the help of Georges Duboeuf, a négociant who recognized the marketing value of Beaujolais Nouveau (here is Wikipedia link if you want to read more on the subject).
Interestingly enough, the sheer marketing success of Beaujolais Nouveau became its biggest problem, as many serious wine drinkers simply dismiss the wine as a marketing gimmick, which was definitely not something intended to happen.
This years marks 30th anniversary of Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais Nouveau celebrations, so a little bit of magic had being used to acknowledge the occasion. Each bottle of 2012 Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais Nouveau is wrapped in an Augmented Reality label, which can be used to deliver magical experience via free Georges Duboeuf Magic application available for download from iTunes (for more information use this link).
For many years by now, I’m always looking forward to trying Beaujolais Nouveau once it is released. What I remember from those past years is that the wine would show up very grapey and not very balanced. True, it is a young wine, but overall, I didn’t get much pleasure out of it. However, for the past 2-3 years, Beaujolais Nouveau had been steadily improving, showing more finesse, more substance and more balance. This year, 2012 – it simply got me to say “wow”.
2012 Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais Nouveau (ABV 12%, $8.99) had nice and inviting bright ruby color. From the moment the wine went into the glass, the aromas of fresh strawberries and raspberries literally filled the room. This is the wine which I can smell indefinitely. On the palate the wine was fresh and open, with the same strawberries and raspberries flavor profile, supplemented by good acidity. Medium body, very balanced and with medium length finish – definitely the wine to enjoy. Drinkability: 8
Almost as a tradition by now, I always get another bottle of Beaujolais Nouveau – for the most of the cases it is Beaujolais Nouveau made by Joseph Drouhin. This 2012 Joseph Drouhin Beaujolais Nouveau (ABV 12%, $10.99) had very similar color to Georges Duboeuf wine, may be a touch darker. The nose was less explicit with the actual fruit and somewhat grapey. On the palate this wine was a touch more dense than Georges Duboeuf, but also more closed in comparison with it. While Joseph Drouhin was a very decent wine in my opinion (Drinkability: 7), my strong preference goes to the Georges Duboeuf.
I don’t know how do you feel about Beaujolais Nouveau overall, but 2012 is definitely not to be missed. The wine is not only representing a great QPR, but it will also give you a lot of pleasure. Beaujolais Nouveau wines don’t age, and when they gone, they are gone. Don’t miss your chance to experience Beaujolais Nouveau – it’s worth it.
That’s all I wanted to share with you, folks. Until the next time – cheers!
It seems that the weeks are flying – I know that I prefer them at the crawling pace, but – not much I can do, right? Okay, let’s start with the answer to the Wine Quiz #35, What is missing. The wine quiz was dedicated to Tempranillo as we will celebrate tomorrow (November 8th) an International Tempranillo Day, and it was asking to fill the gaps in the group of numbers which were related to Tempranillo.
Of course it was obvious that the chain of numbers represented years. And both VinoinLove and thedrunkencyclist figured out that the years represented the best vintages of Rioja – however, they both only got one of the “best vintages” correctly. The 2001 was a great vintage, absolutely, but the vintage of the last century was 1964, not 1970. Here is the reference to the best Rioja vintages from the Vibrant Rioja web site, so you can check all the great vintages for yourself. We don’t have a winner this time, but hey, there is always a next time…
Now, I need your help with something. If you read the Meritage post from the last Wednesday, I mentioned that I’m fighting the writer’s block and trying to write a post for the wine blogging competition. So I managed to overcome the block and wrote the post (here is the link) – and if you like it, I need your vote! You can vote for it here - just scroll down to the bottom of the page and find the link to my blog there. Thank you!
Now, let’s proceed with “interesting stuff” part of the Metritage. First, the next three Thursdays, we will be celebrating different holidays – of course, they are drastically different in scale, but nevertheless, they all fall on Thursday. Tomorrow, November 8th, we are celebrating International Tempranillo Day. It is very easy to take part in the festivities – just find a bottle of Tempranillo wine (Rioja or Ribera del Duero from Spain, or may be some Texas wine?), pull the cork and enjoy (and if you really like it, write a blog post about it or tweet about it, or leave the comment in this blog).
The next Thursday, November 15th, is Beaujolais Nouveau 2012 Day. This year will actually mark 30th anniversary of the Beaujolais Nouveau celebration – you should definitely look for the festivities around you, and as usual, get a bottle of Beaujolais Nouveau (I have to say that the wine had been steadily improving its quality over the past few years) and enjoy!
And then the Thursday after that, November 22 is…what, Thanksgiving is already here? Yep, Turkey day is arriving in mere two weeks. There is always a question of wines for the Thanksgiving celebration, so here is my post from the last year – I’m sure the actual wines will be different this year, but the ideas will be the same.
Last (but may be not least) – do you think wine reviews can get you sued? Here is the post by Steve Heimoff – if anything, it is an interesting read.
That’s all for today, folks – the glass is empty. Cheers!
Wednesday’s Meritage – Wine Quiz Answer, International Tempranillo Day, Beaujolais Nouveau, Bad Wine Reviews and more
Let’s start our meritage post from the regular place – an answer for the last week’s Wine Quiz #34 – Hello, my name is… I would like to say that I’m quite happy with this quiz, as there was a very good participation, and there was a full range of answers, covering all available options.
And the winners are (drum roll, please) PSsquared, VinoinLove and thedrunkencyclist as they all correctly guessed that Predicament is not a wine name. Believe it or not, but the rest of the names on the list are for the real wines. I don’t have the labels to show you for all of them, but here is some information and the links.
if you see kay: the wine is made by Jason Woodbridge, and yes, the name is controversial – here is one of the articles on the subject.
No girls: an actual wine by Christophe Baron, the winemaker behind Cayuse – here is the link to the winery’s web site, and here is the link to my short post about that wine (I’m a happy owner of a few bottles from the inaugural release).
Frequency: I can’t show you the label or a good link, as 2011 Frequency Central Coast GSM is the first release of the wine. You can search for it on Wades Wines web site (I guess this is the only merchant carrying it right now).
To the rescue: an actual wine by legendary Sine Qua Non, California’s cult Rhone style winemaker. The full name of the wine is Sine Qua Non Grenache To The Rescue, and you can look for it on Wine-Searcher (don’t be shocked at the prices, and if you will get a bottle for yourself, can you get one for me too, please?).
Let’s move on to the interesting news from around the vine. First, I want to bring to your attention that November 8th is International Tempranillo Day – if you read this blog for a while, I’m sure you know that I’m very impartial to the Spanish wines, and Rioja in particular, and Tempranillo is a star there. Tempranillo is also successfully grown in many other regions of the world – Australia, California and Texas come to mind first. Find a bottle of Tempranillo and join the celebration on November 8th!
Talking about celebrations – Beaujolais Nouveau 2012 is almost here! The new harvest celebration, originated by the French wine maker and wine merchant Georges DuBoeuf, takes place on third Thursday in November, which this year will fall on November 15th. The Beaujolais Nouveau arrival is celebrated with parties and events all around the world, and celebration this year will be special, as it will be the 30th celebration of this tradition. Look for the events in your area – I’m sure you will find some interesting places to visit and celebrate in style. At the very least, make sure to pick up a bottle of that young wine and celebrate in the comfort of your home.
One of my favorite wine bloggers, W. Blake Gray, is back from vacation, so I’m offering to your attention an interesting blog post about bad wine reviews.
Last but not least, here is the post by Joe Roberts, a.k.a. 1WineDude, where he is defending usage of oak in the wines. I’m also curious what do you think about oak in your wines, so feel free to use comments section and express yourself.
That’s all for today, folks. The glass is empty. Happy (and spookingly exciting) Halloween Wine Wednesday! Cheers!
Appearance of Beaujolais Noveau bottles in the wine stores squarely underscores an important notion which is up in the air anyway: the holidays are here, and the year is going to wind up very quickly from here on. But the last six weeks of the year are not going away without a bang – there will be lots of great food and great wine everywhere.
So what do you think about Beaujolais Noveau 2011? Here are my impressions. To begin with, I like the label of the Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais Noveau 2011 – it is very bright and attractive, purely an urban statement with graffiti lettering. As as the wine itself is concerned, it was okay, more in style with the years prior to 2010. Let me put it this way – the Beaujolais Noveau 2010 was real wine of a good depth, a thought provoking wine (here is the link to the post about 2010 wines) – 2011 Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais Noveau was just that – a Beaujolais Noveau wine which can be gulped quickly without much reflection. Bright fresh fruit, very grapey – but in need of an overall balance.
I liked the taste of Joseph Drouhin Beaujolais Noveau 2011 more, as it was combining brightness of the fresh fruit with an overall structure – this wine had legs to stand on, had a nice balance with good acidity and some earthy notes – this will be one of the wines I want to see on our Thanksgiving table (we will talk about Thanksgiving wines in the next post). In any case, drink your Beaujolais Noveau quickly – these wines are not meant to be kept for the long time.
If you are puzzled by the title of this blog, let me explain. No, Scotch has nothing to do with Beaujolais Noveau – I just happened to stop by Cost Less Wines last Wednesday and try more Scotches from Douglas Laing. Here are some which I would like to note: Linkwood 13 from Speyside was very light, with a hint of smoke and most interestingly, with grape finish. It is very interesting, as it was not finished in any of the wine barrels – it was actually finished in used bourbon casks.
Next, outside of getting into “smoky” category, the Scotch I liked the best was Clynelish 15 from Highlands – it was both very complex and smooth. Complexity is something which I really enjoy in the Scotch (this is why Macallan is never my favorite – I don’t find enough complexity in the taste). Finally my most favorite Scotch from this tasting was Caol Ila 14 from Islay – pronounced smokiness and power, a great scotch if you are into smoky flavors at all. Overall, it was great #WhiskyWednesday, as they say it on Twitter.
The next time I want to talk about Thanksgiving wines – but please tell me, what wines will be on your table on Thursday?
In order to drink wine (better: drink GOOD wine), we all have to get it somewhere. Outside of getting the wine as a present, “get wine” equals “buy wine”. There are few ways to go about buying wine. You can do it at the winery – often works well, you can try before you buy and get information. Then of course you can buy it online – this is most difficult method, as you have to know precisely what you are doing, wine can be damaged during shipping (I don’t mean broken bottle, think about summer heat, for instance). And the simplest way – buy the wine at the good local wine store. Well, it is simplest if you happened to know where this good local wine store is.
I want to bring to your attention my favorite wine store in Stamford – Cost Less Wines & Liquors (1073 High Ridge Road, (203) 329-2900), the good wine store. What am I looking for in a wine store? Yes, of course wine, but this is not the point. In no particular order, but good prices, selection, service, knowledgeable staff and overall store organization are all very important for the good wine store. Lets talk about these elements.
Store organization: Cost Less is easy to navigate. All the wines are grouped into the regions with easy access, with sparkling wines and kosher wines located in the separate sections. Beer and all different types of liquors (Scotch, whiskey, cognac and so on) located along the wall:
Great Selection: Store offers great selection in every section. Despite the limited size (store is not huge), all wine making regions are well represented – California, Washington, Oregon, France, Spain, Italy, South Africa, Germany, Austria, Australia, New Zealand, Argentina, Chile, Israel (I’m sure I forgot something) – and all sections are well stocked. There is a lot of interesting wines on the shelves, such as Staglin Cabernet Sauvignon (96 points from Wine Spectator, and don’t forget to look at the price):
Another point on the subject of great selection is Growers Champagne. Demand for Growers Champagne is quite recent phenomena, so very few store carry them. Here is a brief description from Wikipedia: “While large Champagne houses, such as Mumm, may use grapes sourced from as many as 80 different vineyards, Grower Champagnes tend to be more terroir focused, being sourced from single or closely located vineyards around a village.” Cost Less got great selection already, and probably will offer even more in the future (if you had not tried one yet, I highly recommend that you will try it rather sooner than later):
Great selection of beers, with a lot of quite unique offerings (you can see one of my previous posts on this subject – all beers came from Cost Less). Excellent selection of cognac, tequila and vodka, and amazing selection of scotch, including some very unique offerings (note to self – not to use “unique offerings” repeatedly… but what should I do if I think they are?):
If I may, I would like to mention that Rosebank distillery is closed, so I don’t think there are too many bottles left as the one shown above. And if you take a look at the prices (30 years old single malt for $220 – WOW) that brings us to the next characteristic of a great store – good prices.
Good prices: as you can already see from the pictures, there are great prices all over the store. All the wines and liquors are well priced, compare to any other wine store in Stamford and around. There is also 10% discount on the mixed case purchases (as long as the wine is not sold at the minimum state price). On this subject, I must bring to your attention one of my favorite California Cabernet wines, Ladera:
Service and knowledgeable staff: you got it all. Store owner, Zak, is always available to answer questions, recommend wine or simply stand aside and let you browse through the selection without any pressure – I think this is the great talent ( I really don’t like being attacked in the store as you walk in – that never happens at Cost Less). If the wine you are looking for is not available in the store all you need to do is to ask Zak to get it for you – it is that easy.
And to add one more point: if you reading my blog, you know how much I value opportunity to “experience” things. Along these lines, every Friday and Saturday, there is wine tasting at the store, where you can experience great wines, such as, for instance, Charles Mara or Duckhorn:
With the holidays coming, and wine being definitely important part of any celebration – head on to the Cost Less, you will not regret you did (hmmm, sounds like an advertisement, and I really didn’t mean it… or may be I did, just a little bit). Ahh, and don’t forget that Beaujolais nouveau will be released on Thursday (November 18, 2010) – who knows, I might run into you at Zak’s…