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Beaujolais Nouveau Est Arrivé! 2021 Edition

November 18, 2021 2 comments

Beaujolais Nouveau Est Arrivé!

It is the third Thursday in November, and that means that the time has come to celebrate this year’s harvest – Beaujolais Nouveau has arrived at the wine store next to you (at least I hope it did, but if you want to get it, you might have to hurry as there is a good chance there is not much of it available).

I had been proactively keeping track of this celebration since this blog has started in 2010 – you can find the full retrospective here, mostly in chronological order. I keep saying that every year Beaujolais Nouveau gets better and better – and this year was no exception – I really enjoyed the 2021 Beaujolais in my glass.

Nevertheless, this year was an exception. Ever since I started writing about Beaujolais Nouveau, there was never a year when I only had one Beaujolais Nouveau wine – for example, last year I had 3 Beaujolais Nouveau wines and one Nouveau from Oregon. Most of the years I had at least 3, and a few years there were only two. But this year there was only one, and even that has limited availability and most likely will not last even until Thanksgiving, at least at the store where I bought it. Yep, you knew this already – supply chain issues. There might be more of the Beaujolais Nouveau showing up later on, but it is not very clear what and when.

Few more interesting Beaujolais Nouveau-related tidbits I never thought of before. First, according to the Burgundy Report, this year there were only 100 different Beaujolais Nouveau wines produced in France, which is significantly down from the last year’s number of 160. I was sure that there are many Beaujolais Nouveau wines produced in France, but I didn’t expect the number to be that high.

While searching for the information online, I came across the article where I learned about the Georges Duboeuf First Wine of the Harvest sweepstakes! Each cork of Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais Nouveau wine carries a unique number (who knew!), which can be entered on the First Wine of the Harvest website, and you will be instantly notified if you won something (I have no idea what you can win, and I won nothing). Apparently, this is not the first the sweepstakes are played, but if I wouldn’t read about it online I would still have no idea it existed.

Finally, let’s talk about the wine. According to the same Burgundy Report I mentioned before, Beaujolais regional Marketing board defined the vintage as “combative” – frost in April, and summer of rain and hail are not exactly the ideal grape-growing conditions. Relatively calm and cool September offer some relief, and while overall yield was significantly down, it was possible to preserve the quality of the harvest.

2021 Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais Nouveau AOP (12.5% ABV, $12.99) has a bright ruby color, a restrained nose of the freshly crushed fruit, and copious amounts of fresh raspberries and cherries on the palate with good acidity on the finish. While the wine is perfectly drinkable at room temperature (68°F), it is showing the best slightly chilled at around 58°F – 60°F.

Back in 2017, Georges Duboeuf started the “Artist Collector Series” of the Beaujolais Nouveau wine labels, where the public is given an opportunity to vote for the favorite design which will be then printed on the label. This year’s Beaujolais Nouveau label features work by the artist Felice Kite called “For The Love Of Flowers”.

Before I conclude my Beaujolais Nouveau 2021 report, I want to offer you a fun exercise – below is the collection of the Beaujolais Nouveau labels from 2010 until 2021 (note that I came across two distinct labels in 2015). I want you to choose a favorite (or 3, or 5) and share your opinion in the comments. I guarantee you that you will get no prize for participation in this exercise, but hopefully, it will be fun.

Beaujolais Nouveau 2021 has arrived, it is definitely worth your attention, it will be perfect with Thanksgiving turkey if you will be so inclined – but you can’t procrastinate if you want to try it. Cheers!

 

Beaujolais Nouveau 2020 Edition

December 5, 2020 2 comments

Yes, I know – we are ending the first week in December, and it’s been more than 2 weeks since Beaujolais Nouveau was released, so if anything, this is not a timely post. And I acknowledge your critique, as you can see in the title – my typical Beaujolais Nouveau post announces “Beaujolais Nouveau Est Arrivé!”, but hey, life takes precedence…

I know that many wine lovers dismiss Beaujolais Nouveau as a gimmick. The beauty of wine is that everyone is perfectly entitled to their opinion, but for me tasting the very first wines of the vintage is always fun. Ever since this blog started more than 10 years ago, I didn’t miss a single Beaujolais Nouveau release – you can check all the previous years here – and I have two main observations. First, the labels are always beautiful and creative. Second, the wines are getting better and better. Well, for sure on the labels – and keep talking about improved wines almost every year, so I guess they had been good for a while.

For 2020, I something interesting for you in the store – errr, on the blog. It appears that it will be the first time I will include a non-Beaujolais “nouveau” wine in this post. I know I had other new vintage wines before, released at about the same time as traditional Beaujolais Nouveau – I can only guess I was never happy enough about those to include them into this special coverage. But this year, the non-Beaujolais nouveau wine was excellent, and hence I’m including it in the group.

I’m not trying to drum up the drama – here you can see the full set of Nouveau 2020 wines I was able to find at my local wine store: All the wines were in the range of $10 – $13, thus I didn’t write down prices for each wine. Here are the tasting notes:

2020 Domaine Dupeuble Pere et Fils Beaujolais Nouveau AOC (12.5% ABV)
Dark ruby
Fresh berry, cherry cola
Fresh raspberries, a touch of lemon, crisp, crunchy, acidic.
7+

2020 Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais Nouveau AOP (13% ABV)
Garnet
Raspberries and blueberries on the nose, a touch of mint
Fresh raspberries, round, clean, less acidic than the previous wine, very pleasant.
8-/8, can be consumed without regards to the Nouveau designation. Long finish full of pure raspberry joy.

2020 Joseph Drouhin Beaujolais Nouveau AOC (13% ABV)
Ruby
Complex nose with herbs and cherries
Slightly tart raspberries, crisp acidity, acidic finish.
7+/8-, not bad, but the previous wine gives more pleasure.

2020 Union Wine Co Underwood Pinot Noir Nouveau Oregon (13% ABV)
Bright ruby color.
The nose of freshly crushed berries
succulent raspberries on the palate, nice minerality, lots of pleasure
8, excellent

As you can see, Duboeuf Beaujolais Nouveau and Underwood Pinot Noir Nouveau wines were my favorites, and both clearly win the best label contest (can’t decide which one do I like more):

It seems that Georges Doboeuf is pretty consistent with very good Nouveau wines for many years already. Drouhin is pretty consistent too – the wines are not bad, but not super-exciting at the same time. I had Domaine Dupeuble 5 years ago, and I liked it more back then. If I have one gripe it is with the Underwood – nowhere on the bottle the vintage can be found, which is bad – next year, nobody would know how Nouveau is that Nouveau, unless Union Wines will change the label.

As you can tell, this was a good group of wines. Was this tasting fun? For sure. Is the quality really improving? Probably not – but it still stays up, so we have nothing to complain about.

Did you taste any Beaujolais Nouveau this year? Any favorites?

Wine Quiz #129 – Beaujolais Nouveau Edition

November 21, 2020 3 comments

The Wine Quiz series is not meant to intimidate. The whole idea here is to have fun and learn something new. When answering the questions, it is fully encouraged to use all available sources of information, including Google or any other search engine. There are no embarrassing answers – the most embarrassing thing is not giving it a try…

Welcome to your new wine quiz!

Let’s start with the answers to the last quiz #128. In that quiz, you had three sets of items, and for each set, you had to figure out what that set was representing, and which item (or items) didn’t belong. Here are the questions, now with the answers:

Question 1:

Adelaide Hills
Blackwood Valley
Currency Creek
Eden Valley
Hunter
King Valley
Waitaki Valley

Answer: This is a list of Australian wine regions. The item which doesn’t belong is the last one, Waitaki Valley, as this region is located in neighboring New Zealand.

Question 2:

Anjou
Chinon
Jasnières
Orléans
Reuilly
Rully
Saumur

Answer: Most of the items on this list are the wine regions in Loire Valley, except Rully, which is located in Burgundy.

Question 3:

Cayuse
Clos Erasmus
No Girls
Penfolds
Pingus
Vega Sicilia

Answer: This was probably the most difficult one. This is the list of famous producers, which all make wines out of Tempranillo grapes, except Clos Erasmus, a famed Spanish producer in Priorat, which doesn’t make wines out of the Tempranillo.

We didn’t have a lot of players, except Lynn who answered the second question correctly and definitely deserves an honorable mention.

Last Thursday, November 19th, was the third Thursday in November, and thus it was the day to celebrate a brand new Beaujolais Nouveau 2020 release. In honor of that celebration, I have a very simple quiz for you, all about the simple wine, Beaujolais Nouveau:

Question 1: True or False: Beaujolais Nouveau wines can age

Question 2: The ideal serving temperature for Beaujolais Nouveau is

  1. 46°F to 50°F (8°C to 10°C)
  2. 50°F to 54°F (10°C to 12°C)
  3. 54°F to 57°F (12°C to 14°C)
  4. 57°F to 61°F (14°C to 16°C)

Question 3: True or False: During the first half of the 20th century, Beaujolais Nouveau was released and celebrated in December instead of November.

Question 4: True or False: Nouveau wines (the wines of new harvest) are produced only in the Beaujolais region in France, and not anywhere else in the world.

Good luck, enjoy the quiz and the rest of your weekend! Cheers!

Beaujolais Nouveau Est Arrivé! 2019 Edition

November 20, 2019 Leave a comment

Traditions, Traditions, Traditions.

I’m not sure how much I care about Beaujolais Nouveau at this point, but – I need to keep the traditions. I’m not talking about the tradition of the Beaujolais Nouveau, an annual celebration of a new vintage in Beaujolais – this tradition has a life of its own and surely doesn’t care if I will uphold it or not. I’m now talking about the tradition of this very blog, where I didn’t skip writing about a single Beaujolais Nouveau release since this blog started (proof is here), hence this post is unavoidable. I’m all about traditions, and 2019 will not be an exception.

Every third Thursday in November is celebrated as a Beaujolais Nouveau Day. What was the local French phenomenon for a very long time, celebrating the end of the harvest with a young and simple wine, became an international movement, largely due to the efforts of Georges Duboeuf, French negociant. In France alone there are more than 120 celebrations related to the Beaujolais Nouveau. The most famous festival, called Les Sarmentelles, is held in the town of Beaujeu, the capital of the Beaujolais region. The festival starts one day before the third Thursday and lasts for 5 days.

Beaujolais Nouveau wine has its share of controversy. Many professionals and consumers alike dismiss the Beaujolais Nouveau wine as a gimmick, simply a marketing plot to sell something which is not supposed to be sold. I wouldn’t say that I’m buying the Beaujolais Nouveau wines by the case, but they are as mysterious as any other unopened bottle, and having a tradition in place helps undecisive wine geek at least to know what he will be drinking around third Thursday every November.

Beaujolais Nouveau 2019

How were the 2019 Beaujolais Nouveau wines? Let me offer you my tasting notes:

2019 Henry Fessy Beaujolais-Villages Nouveau Vieilles Vignes (13.5% ABV, $12.99)
Dark ruby color
A hint of fresh raspberries, sage, lavender, more reminiscent of a regular Beaujolais
You can clearly perceive a young wine on the palate, but it doesn’t have characteristic Nouveau grapiness – zesty raspberries, crushed rock, nice herbal component, clean acidity, medium-plus finish
8-, an excellent effort – at this point, this is simply a young wine, not “just another Nouveau”. I bet this wine will age well past recommended 5 months. It would be interesting to taste it again in 3-4 years. And if this is any indication of the quality of the 2019 vintage, this is the one to look forward to.

2019 Georges Buboeuf Beaujolais Nouveau (13% ABV, $9.99)
Garnet color
Upon opening, the nose had the characteristic Nouveau freshly crushed berry medley, but after an hour or so, it morphed into a raspberry jam, a well-made raspberry jam
Ripe raspberries, good minerality, sage, a hint of eucalyptus, good acidity, good finish
8- after an hour of breathing in the open bottle, another perfectly drinkable wine which has little in common with Beaujolais Nouveau as it used to be

Color me impressed. I say every year that I’m impressed with the quality, and that the quality of Beaujolais Nouveau keeps improving. Yet I have to say again that this was the best Beaujolais Nouveau I ever tasted. Is that the 2019 vintage? Is that just global warming? Is that winemaker’s capability to arrive at better and better grapes before the crush? I don’t know – and if you do, please share your opinion. But first and foremost – try the Beaujolais Nouveau 2019 and say if you are impressed as I am.  Cheers!

Beaujolais Nouveau Est Arrivé! 2018 Edition

November 25, 2018 5 comments

Duboeuf Beaujolais Nouveau 2018I find myself lately talking a lot about traditions. These are not cultural or societal traditions, of course not. Much simpler. These are only the traditions of this very blog. One needs time to claim something a “tradition”. This blog had been around continuously for more than 9 years, so I hope I get the right to call some of the permanent, repeated year after year, themes a “tradition”. A tradition such as the yearly Beaujolais Nouveau post.

I’m sure hope the majority of the wine drinkers are familiar with the Beaujolais Nouveau phenomenon. Every year we celebrate the new vintage by drinking the young, simple wine just made a few months after the harvest. As the tradition of celebrating the new – Nouveau in French – vintage originated in the Beaujolais region in France, we call this celebration the Beaujolais Nouveau. And to set the expectations right, the Beaujolais Nouveau is always celebrated on the third Thursday in November – this is when the Beaujolais Nouveau wines officially hit the shelves of the wine stores around the world.

Every “new” Beaujolais Nouveau celebration brings something new and unique with it. I remember huge celebrations held a few years in the row. Then there was a period when the “Nouveau” movement was joined by the number of US producers. Last few years, however, were rather uneventful – it is, of course, possible that I missed something.

This year 2018 brought in quite a few things which might not be designated as “new”, necessarily, but for sure they were different. First, I almost missed the whole Beaujolais Nouveau celebration, as it came up quite unexpectedly – the earliest possible celebration overall. Beaujolais Nouveau can only be released on the 3rd Thursday of November, which fell this year on November 15th – can’t happen any earlier than that. Okay, I know this is insignificant. Next interesting fact was … the snow. Yep, we got 5 inches in Connecticut right in the middle of November – this is something which generally doesn’t happen. But I was able to take the pictures of the bottles in the snow.

The last “new” was truly a Nouveau event – Georges Duboeuf released Beaujolais Nouveau Rosé. Rosé was never a part of the Beaujolais Nouveau celebration – until now, that is. Not only it was a beautiful looking wine, but it was also a tasty one too!

Beaujolais Nouveau 2018

I know that bashing of the Beaujolais Nouveau as only a marketing stunt is quite popular among wine professionals and consumers alike – and I honestly don’t support it. Even this year, I saw someone asking in one of the wine forums on Facebook “does anyone drinks Beaujolais Nouveau wines”. I didn’t want to get into that conversation, but I can, of course, answer here – I do! The Rosé I would actually gladly drink at any time at all. And I would never refuse the second glass of either one of the reds, so there, you have my answer.

Here are a bit more detailed notes:

2018 Henry Fessy Beaujolais-Villages Nouveau Vieilles Vignes (13% ABV, $12.99)
Dark ruby color
Fresh raspberries with the characteristic Beaujolais Nouveau acidity, mineral notes
Fresh tart raspberries, good structure, good balance, overall quite pleasant. 7+/8-

2018 Georges Buboeuf Beaujolais Nouveau Rosé (12.5% ABV, $9.99)
Beautiful light pink color, very inviting.
Beautiful fresh strawberries on the nose. Strawberries and cranberries on the palate, clean acidity, excellent balance. There is nothing “Nouveau” about this wine – it is just an excellent Rosé. 8

2018 Georges Buboeuf Beaujolais Nouveau (12.5% ABV, $9.99)
Garnet color
Raspberries and violets on the nose
Raspberries and strawberries on the palate, interesting minerality, some baking spices, good concentration, medium plus body, well integrated mouth-plucking acidity. A very solid wine. 8-/8, one of the very best Beaujolais Nouveau.

What do you think of Beaujolais Nouveau phenomenon? Did you taste the 2018 wines? If you did, what do you think of them? Cheers!

Beaujolais Nouveau Est Arrivé! 2017 Edition

November 26, 2017 Leave a comment

Beaujolais Nouveau 2017 I know, it’s been [more than] a few days since the coveted words “Beaujolais Nouveau Est Arrivé” had been heard again, now in 2017 – but my posting desires don’t always match the real life, hence my Beaujolaies Nouveu notes are arriving a bit late this year.

I definitely like Beaujolais Nouveau – not always the wine itself, but for sure, the idea. It is fun to celebrate new harvest, and that’s what Beaujolais Nouveau does – the wines are made from the freshly harvested grapes, and as such, Beaujolais Nouveau wines are not polished – they are fresh, they are rasp, they want to play and don’t want to have any bounds – the babies, what can you do.

Ever since this blog started, I made an effort to share my notes and thoughts about Beaujolais Nouveau wines – here you can find the posts from 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016. The 2012 post has a bit more information about the history of the Beaujolais Nouveau and the celebration overall.

Thinking about the year 2017, I wonder if the Beaujolais Nouveau celebration is getting a little smaller? In the past years, many of the wineries around the world (California etc.) also produced their version of the Nouveau wines – I had not seen those in a few years. I didn’t see much of the promotion and event advertisement for the Beaujolais Nouveau celebration in the USA and around the world. It also seems that the wines were priced at a little less – I have a frame of reference as I always buy my Beaujolais Nouveau wines at one and the same store, so it seems that the prices were less by a dollar for all the different brands.

Over the past few years, I noticed that Georges Duboeuf wines are produced with different labels within the same vintage. 2017 was not an exception – I saw different labels on Internet, and I also saw different types of enclosures in the different markets. All 3 wines I tried were enclosed with some type of cork, natural or synthetic. But then I saw Georges Duboeuf wines enclosed with a screwtop, for instance, in Helsinki – you can see it here.

How were the wines, you ask? It seems that modern Beaujolais Nouveau wines keep increasing their extraction and overall mouthfeel – they really don’t feel all that “Nouveau”,  except the nose of the freshly crushed berries which is unmistakably present, but even that is getting more restrained and balanced. Definitely interesting wines, definitely drinkable, and dare I say it, possibly ageable past the traditional 9 months? Not that you need to age Beaujolais Nouveau, but it can be an interesting experiment.

Anyway, here are my notes:

2017 Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais Nouveau Beaujolais AOC (13% ABV, $9.99)
C: dark garnet
N: freshly crushed berries, vanilla, eucalyptus, medium+ intensity
P: nice extraction, round mouthfeel, good weight, tart raspberries and blackberries on the palate, noticeable tannins in front of the mouth – most likely whole cluster fermentation?
V: 8-, totally unexpected and very impressive, this wine might age past traditional 9 months limit. One let down with this wine was synthetic cork which I’m not a fun of – oh well…
2017 Henry Fessy Beaujolais Nouveau Beaujolais AOC (13% ABV, $9.99)
C: dark ruby
N: raspberries, mint and rose petals
P: fresh raspberries, clean acidity, nicely round with a little bit of bite
V: 8-, I liked it even more than Duboeuf, this was the best of tasting.
2017 Joseph Drouhin Beaujolais Nouveau Beaujolais AOC (13% ABV, $10.99)
C: dark garnet
N: dark fruit, raspberries, blackberries, a distant whiff of the “young wine”, probably the least out of 3
P: tart raspberries, a bit astringent,
V: 7, needs time – this sounds strange with Beaujolais, but still
What do you think of Beaujolais Nouveau movement overall? Did you have Beaujolais Nouveau 2017? If you did, did you like them? Cheers!

Beaujolais Nouveau Est Arrivé! 2016 Edition

November 18, 2016 11 comments

beaujolais nouveau 2016There is no shortage of the grape holidays nowadays – we celebrate Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Tempranillo, Chardonnay and many other grapes, sometimes even two per day. However, the oldest grape celebration in existence is Beaujolais Nouveau Day, celebrated on the third Thursday in November, which happened to be November 17th this year.

Of course, Beaujolais Nouveau Day is not so much of a grape celebration (which would be a Gamay day) but really the celebration of the new harvest, which was a very old tradition in the Beaujolais region, neighboring Burgundy, in France. Georges Duboeuf, a famous French wine merchant, is credited with making Beaujolais Nouveau Day an international event more than 30 years ago. What was just a local harvest festival became an international event, widely anticipated and celebrated around the world, from Tokyo to Moscow to New York.

While Beaujolais Nouveau Day is [still] often dismissed as a marketing gimmick, I’m always looking forward trying the new Beaujolais Nouveau wines, to be able to see their evolution. Ever since this blog started in 2010, Beaujolais Nouveau was always part of it – here you can find the old posts from 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015. In case you want to learn a bit more about the history of the celebration, please take a look at the post from 2012 – it contains more information than the other posts.

beaujolais nouveau

Here are the notes on the 2 wines I was able to taste this year:

2016 Georges Dubœuf Beaujolais Nouveau (12% ABV, $9.99)
C: Dark ruby
N: fresh fruit, intense, ripe raspberries, herbal undertones, not over the top
P: elegant, fresh, red fruit notes, crunchy berries, excellent acidity
V: 8-, very enjoyable and elegant

2016 Paul Durdilly et Fils “Les Grandes Coasses” Beaujolais Nouveau (12.5% ABV, $9.99)
C: dark ruby
N: spicy cherries, mint, inviting
P: very limited amount of fruit, big contrast with the nose. For the Beaujolais Nouveau, might be even too restrained.
V: 7, leaving desiring more on the palate.

Talking about the two wines I tasted, I have to admit that I forgot to lightly chill them, which is recommended. This definitely had no effect on Georges Duboeuf wine, but it might be a culprit behind the limited expression of the second wine.

Before we part, I want to bring to your attention the label of the Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais Nouveau. Besides the fact that I personally like it, the important part if that for the first time ever, the label for this wine was chosen by the wine consumers voting for one of the 12 different designs submitted for the competition. I think the consumers chosen well, right?

For the past 3-4 years, I find Beaujolais Nouveau a very enjoyable wine, well worthy of oenophile’s attention. What do you think of Beaujolais Nouveau? Any favorites? Cheers!

Beaujolais Nouveau Est Arrivé! 2015 Edition

November 19, 2015 12 comments

Geoarges Duboeuf Beaujolais NouveauHave you looked at the calendar today? Yes, it is the third Thursday of November, which means that … Beaujolais Nouveau has arrived! All the wine stores around you should carry bottles with the festive labels, and there are multiple events and parties to celebrate the arrival of the new wine, the wine of 2015.

I know that many hardcore wine drinkers scoff at the Beaujolais Nouveau wine and the whole celebration, considering the wine to be a plonk and the celebration only a marketing gimmick. Speaking for myself, I love to partake in this celebration, as may be the first wine holiday ever created (now we have the ever-increasing number of “grape days” throughout the year, to make sure we have enough reasons to open a bottle of wine).

Besides just liking the idea of the celebration of the first wine of the harvest, I find that quality of the Beaujolais Nouveau is consistently improving, year after year. Thus I happily ran to the store today at the first available opportunity to get some Beaujolais Nouveau. 5–6 years ago Georges Dubœeuf Beaujolais Nouveau was the only option. A few years back, Joseph Drouhin joined the company. This year, I had a choice of 4 wines to pick from, so I decided to limit my tasting to 3.

I don’t want to give you any overall impressions until you will skim through the tasting notes, so here we go:

2015 Georges Dubœuf Beaujolais Nouveau (13% ABV, $10.99)
C: Dark Garnet, very unexpected
N: restrained, fresh berries with the touch of herbs. Very different from the previous years, a lot less fruity. More reminiscent of a traditional Beaujolais or a nice Chinon
P: outstanding. Fresh, open, perfectly balanced fruit, ripe cherries, medium body, medium-long finish.
V: 8-, very unexpected, would never guess in the blind tasting that this is a Nouveau wine. Not sure what kind of magic Dubœeuf used, but this is a pretty spectacular wine on its own.

2015 Joseph Drouhin Beaujolais Nouveau (13% ABV, $11.99)
C: dark garnet, another unexpected color
N: more traditional nose of freshly crushed berries, still not overboard, with underpinning of spices
P: delicious young wine, nice fresh fruit, finish mostly acidic
V: 7/7+, more in line with expectations of Beaujolais Nouveau – a very well made one, but still

2015 Domaine Dupeuble Beaujolais Nouveau (13% ABV, $13.99)
C: dark garnet, one more wow
N: restrained, with acidity and minerality been in the lead, touch floral, may a bit of tart cherries
P: excellent, round, more of classic Burgundy in style, not a hint of “nouveau” on the palate, very fresh with a distant hint of smoke and tobacco on the palate.
V: 8-, outstanding. Again a complete surprise.

What can I tell you? Very impressive. Excellent wines, well made and tasty, and offering great QPR for what they are. If you celebrate Thanksgiving, this might be a great addition to your table. And if you don’t, Beaujolais Nouveau 2015 is well worth your attention. And if this Beaujolais Nouveau is any indication, 2015 might be (yet again) the vintage of the century. Beaujolais Nouveau Est Arrivé! À votre santé!

P.S. After this post was written, I tried two more Beaujolais Nouveau wines, so here are the additional notes just to make the 2015 experience more complete:

2015 Mommessin Beaujolais Nouveau (11%–14% ABV, $10.99)
C: Bright Ruby
N: initially a typical Beaujolais Nouveau nose with freshly crushed berries, eventually becoming more restrained with additional herbal component
P: fresh tart cherries, crisp, fresh, with the vibrant acidity which makes the wine show quite complex
V: 7+, well-made wine, simple and pleasant

2015 Bouchard Beaujolais Nouveau (11%–14% ABV, $9.99)
C: dark Ruby
N: fresh berries with a touch of green leaves
P: freshly crushed berries, crisp, vibrant, good acidity
V: 7+, traditional Beaujolais Nouveau, simple and tasty

Celebrating New Harvest – Beaujolais Nouveau 2014

November 23, 2014 7 comments

Beaujolais Nouveau winesOn Thursday, November 20th, all wine (and probably well beyond wine) social media outlets were filled with “Le Beaujolais Nouveau Est Arrivé” messages, pictures and videos. For more than 30 years, what was at some point a simple local celebration of the new harvest, became a big international affair. Always happening on the third Thursday in November, the wine called Beaujolais Nouveau magically appears on the shelves of the wine stores and on the restaurant tables all over the world to ring in the harvest.

This international celebration is largely a result of the efforts of one man with the vision – Georges Duboeuf, the famous french wine négociant and producer. It was his vision and hard work which lead to the event celebrated from Paris to New York to Tokyo. At some point the Beaujolais Nouveau phenomenon became oversubscribed, leading to the glut of insipid wines saturating the market, creating a bad image associated with the whole Beaujolais Nouveau idea. But with the modern winemaking improvements, the quality of the Beaujolais Nouveau wines started to improve year after year, which brought the feeling of the celebration back over the last 5-6 years.

I had been closely following the Beaujolais Nouveau celebration ever since this blog started – here are the posts from 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013. While working on this post, I checked my notes on the past releases of Beaujolais Nouveau, and it looks like with the exception of 2011, all the vintages were very consistent, offering good quality, very drinkable wine which gave a lot of pleasure. I know that some people dismiss Beaujolais Nouveau as a marketing gimmick and simply refuse to drink the wines – however, I wholeheartedly disagree and I believe this young celebratory wine well worth wine aficionados’ attention.

This year, I had an opportunity to try two different Beaujolais wines – 2014 Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais Nouveau (12% ABV, $9.99) and 2014 Domaine Manoir du Carra Beaujolais Nouveau (12.5% ABV, $10.99). Talking about interesting experiences, for the first time I remember drinking Beaujolais Nouveau, and definitely for the first time while writing this blog, I found two of the different bottles of wine which taste nearly identical. This was very puzzling experience, as I was looking for the different descriptors, and couldn’t find any. Okay, they were not 100% the same wines, of course – but differences were very subtle, may be in the particular fruit profile being more pronounced in one wine and not in the other, and majority of the description would stay the same. To acknowledge that, I will give you a description for both wines at the same time.

Color: Bright Garnet

Nose: Freshly crushed red fruit, lavender, unmistakable aroma of the young wine

Palate: Red fruit, cherries, tart blackberries, violet, lavender, medium body with some structure, vibrant acidity, good balance, medium finish.

Verdict: a good wine, easy to drink, fresh, should play well with the wide range of food due to the substantial acidity. Yes it will do just fine on your Thanksgiving table (will be definitely on mine). Drinkability: 7+/8- for both – really hard to decide.

Yet another Beaujolais Nouveau day becomes a history. Well, of course not so fast – the wines will be available for a while, and while they are not meant for aging, overall textural presence of the two wines I tasted suggests that these wines can last for the few years – but this is definitely not what you want to do. And than that mind boggling similarity between the two totally different wines – I don’t know what to think of it, except that may be the similar winemaking methods used, like carbonic maceration and such, lead to the similar results for the two totally unrelated wines. Perhaps this is not a very solid explanation, so I would love to hear your theory if you got one.

Did you already have the Beaujolais Nouveau 2014? If you did, what kind and what did you think of it? Cheers!

Beaujolais Nouveau 2013 – Well Worth Your Attention

November 25, 2013 19 comments

It that time of the year again – the festive labels are lining up in front of the wine stores to remind us that we are entering into literally a six week of non-stop celebrations – Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year, friends, families, holiday parties. With its festive label, coming out every third Thursday in November, Beaujolais Nouveau signifies both arrival of the wines of the new harvest, and the arrival of the holidays.

Beaujolais Nouveau Arrived!

Beaujolais Nouveau Arrived!

The tradition of celebration of the new harvest with the wines of Beaujolais is well more than hundred years old. It became linked to the third Thursday of November in 1985, and then little by little, became a huge marketing success. That huge success became the worst enemy of the wine, with the producers starting to make soulless, insipid wines, void of any substance – and Beaujolais Nouveau phenomenon almost died at the very end of 20th century, with people simply ignoring the wines as only a marketing ploy.

Luckily, over the last few years, the situation started to change to the better, or I would even dare to say, to the “much better”. The wine behind festive labels started to show substance and character. I think Beaujolais Nouveau offers a very unique opportunity for the wine lovers, as you can taste every new vintage of the same wine, and compare – something which is rather difficult to do with many other wines – and you can see how the wine is changes year over year.

This year I had an opportunity to taste two different Beaujolais Nouveau wines – one from Georges Duboeuf, and another one from Jean Bererd & Fils, Domaine de la Madone – technically a Beaujolais Villages Nouveau, which is a different AOC designation, but for all intents and purposes it is produced in the same way as a regular Beaujolais Nouveau.

Can the wine be made better and better every year? Of course the question is way too generic to have an answer, but I can tell you that in case of Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais Nouveau, the answer is “yes”. I was quite happy with the 2012 wine, but I think this year it is even better. The 2013 Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais Nouveau (12% ABV, $10.99) showed beautiful dark purple inky color in the glass. The nose was full of bright fresh fruit – ripe cherries, succulent raspberries, some violets. The palate came in quite restraint and structured, even firm – good fruit presence of the same dark cherries and ripe raspberries, but not over the top, showing of respectfully mature, concentrated wine with good acidity and medium finish. Depending on the serving temperature, the acidity was more of less noticeable, and overall the wine showed well balanced. Definitely recommended for your Thanksgiving table, perfectly attune to the Harvest celebration. Drinkability: 8-

The 2013 Jean Bererd & Fils Domaine de la Madone Beaujolais Villages Nouveau (13% ABV, $10.99) had very similar inky purple color in the glass. On the nose, it exhibited very similar notes of dark cherries and raspberries. And yes, the palate profile was very similar, but somehow, while the wine was perfectly drinkable and enjoyable, also showing firm structure, I was unable to find the right temperature when acidity was fully in check and harmony with the rest of the wine. Still, not a bad wine by all means. Drinkability: 7

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When it comes to Thanksgiving, which we are about to celebrate, my choice of wine tends to be all-American – Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Zinfandel – but nevertheless, I love opening the celebration with the glass of Beaujolais Nouveau – that clearly sets the mood to the Holidays, which have arrived.

Did you happen to taste Georges Duboeuf or any other Beaujolais Nouveau wines? What do you think? Happy Holidays and Cheers!

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