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Beaujolais Nouveau 2012 – Not To Be Missed!

November 19, 2012 6 comments

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!

 

Tasting Beaujolais Noveau 2011 and a Little Bit of Scotch

November 20, 2011 1 comment

Appearance of Beaujolais Nouveau 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 Nouveau 2011? Here are my impressions. To begin with, I like the label of the Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais Nouveau 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 Nouveau 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 Nouveau was just that – a Beaujolais Nouveau 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 Nouveau 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 Nouveau 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 Nouveau – 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?

Expectations: Thanksgiving Dinner

November 25, 2010 1 comment

Thanksgiving day – friends, family, lots of food and wines. Culinary delight is definite part of the holiday – every possible ( and impossible) web site is full of new recipes to try and recommendations on what to serve.

I would love to write the blog post right after the dinner – but this would be literally impossible, as desire to sleep after a big meal will interfere. Therefore, let me just share my quick expectations. The staple dish for tonight is turducken – chicken inside duck inside turkey, all de-boned, of course, except turkey legs and wings. That is already in the oven and holds a big promise of the tasty meal ( pictures and details – in the later posts). There will be a lot more of traditional fall flavors – squash, pumpkin, sweet potatoes – all taking part in the feast.

Variety of flavors is expected of the food, and it is hard to tell which wine will work the best. Therefore, when in doubt – experiment! We plan to have Beaujolais Nouveau ( Joseph Drouhin), Barolo, Zinfandel and Claraval (Spanish red).  Which one will pair the best? Hopefully one of the wines on the table. And if not – wine program for tonight also includes Rivesaltes 1936 and Bruichladdich 12 – expectations, expectations…

What will be on your table tonight?

Until later – Happy Thanksgiving!

Beaujolais Nouveau 2010 – Live Blog

November 19, 2010 3 comments

What’s up with the “live blog”? No, I don’t plan to show the live recording in the Gary V. style (for those unfamiliar with Gary V. – please go to the Wine Library TV site, I promise you will enjoy it). For all of my posts so far, I don’t write them at the same time as I taste the wine or visiting the restaurant. Yes, I might take some notes, but all of the writing is still done later on, mostly based on the memory (yes, I make an effort to memorize the experience).

However, today is a special day for many wine lovers across the globe. In the 1970s, the tradition started in France, in the appellation called Beaujolais, to celebrate the first wine produced from the harvest of the same year. What was French national event in the 1970s, now became a world-wide celebration, which always takes place on the third Thursday in November, and today is the day.

Beaujolais red wines are made from the grape called Gamay, and the wines are produced in the style of the neighboring Burgundy (which are made from Pinot Noir), but typically are lighter and don’t age that well.

When it comes to the Beaujolais Nouveau, this wine is made in 6 weeks after the harvest, so it is really light and fruity wine which is not supposed to age (should be consumed by May of the following year). Also, similar to the Pinot Noir wines, Beaujolais wines should be served slightly chilled (about 55F).

Therefore, considering such a special day, I’m writing this blog as I actually try the wines, starting with opening of the bottles – and this is why I called this blog “live”. I can also tell you that last year, even before I tried the wines from 2009, I read somewhere that they supposed to be very good wines, so I was already influenced as I was trying the wines (read my previous post if you are curious why is that). This year, I have no expectations whatsoever, except the knowledge that these are young wines and they will taste accordingly to the very young age.

I decided to try Beaujolais Nouveau from two very famous French producers – Georges Duboeuf and Joseph Drouhin. First producer, Joseph Drouhin used regular cork, and Duboeuf used synthetic one, both corks  specifically imprinted for 2010 Beaujolais Nouveau. From the moment the bottles opened, Joseph Drouhin exhibited tremendous aroma of a fresh grape coming strongly right from the bottle, and for Duboeuf the same aroma was also noticeable, but less prominent. From here on, lets diverge and talk about two wines separately.

Georges Duboeuf. Beautiful very intense dark garnet color. Nose is very solid, doesn’t have any off flavors which are common with very young wines. Cherries and raspberries are noticeable on the nose. With the first sip comes first surprise – the wine has very noticeable tannins. I don’t remember ever tasting the tannins in the Beaujolais Nouveau wines – wonder if this is the style of Duboeuf, but in any case that was a surprise – rather good on, however. In addition to the cherries I can pick up some plums on the palate, all complimented by good acidity. This wine can be perfectly enjoyed by itself, but will also also work very nicely with the wide range of lighter dishes or mild cheese. Considering the price of about $10 per bottle, this wine has great QPR.

Joseph Drouhin. The color is nearly identical – nice deep garnet. Nose is similar to Duboeuf, again without any off flavors. In addition to cherries I would say that there is a hint of strawberries, and again to my surprise, I would probably add a hint of white pepper to that bouquet, which is not something I would typically associate with Gamay grape. On the palate, I would dare to say that this wine has more flavor. I practically don’t pickup any tannins, but instead there is a great amount of nice supple fruit (again, cherries, plums, raspberries) and very refreshing acidity – oops, and now tannins are coming in approximately 30-40 seconds after the sip of wine. Wow! If the first wine was good, this one is even better – and again, amazing QPR at $11/bottle.

Well, what can I tell you? There is general sentiment among wine industry professionals that quality of the wines is becoming better and better every year. Tasting these two wines today, I can not agree more. I clearly remember a number of years ago tasting Beaujolais Nouveau with only one after thought – “please, I don’t want to ever touch this wine again, and… is it okay to pour the rest of this bottle down the drain?”. My experience this year is totally different. This wines are excellent, and if you didn’t do it yet, you have to go and buy a few bottles… and enjoy! In terms of drinkability, I would rate Duboeuf at 8-, and Drouhin at 8. And, yes, I know it is late, but I need another glass…

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