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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 11 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!

Wednesday’s Meritage – #MWWC13 Reminder, Zinfandel Day, How To Start A Blog, WS Top 100 and more

November 19, 2014 11 comments

MWWC_logoMeritage Time!

Lots of things to share – let’s  get to it! First of all – the Monthly Wine Writing Challenge #13. The theme is Serendipity, and I really hope the theme is intriguing enough to see a lot of entries in the contest! For all the rules and regulations, please take a look at this post.

Last week we celebrated Tempranillo, and yet another grape holiday is upon us. On Wednesday, November 19th, we are celebrating an iconic American grape – Zinfandel! The Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir and Syrah wines are made pretty much everywhere in the world – but Zinfandel, in its pure form, is a real representative of an American winemaking culture. It is very easy to celebrate Zinfandel – just find a bottle of your favorite Zin, open it up and say “wow”. That’s all what is required.

When it rains, it pours. Wednesday is a Zinfandel holiday, but on Thursday, November 20th, we are going to celebrate the new grape harvest! November 20th is a third Thursday of the month of November, which means … yes, Beaujolais Nouveau time! I know, Beaujolais Nouveau often gets bad rap from the wine aficionados, but to me, the wine considerably improved over the last 5-6 years, and now it is a real wine which gives you real pleasure. I’m very much looking forward to tasting the 2014 Beaujolais Nouveau. And don’t forget that this new wine is celebrated all over the world – from Paris to New York to Washington to Chicago, you can find many events celebrating new harvest and life – just use the faithful Google, it will help you find the live event if you care to attend one.

On Monday, November 17th, Wine Spectator released its annual Top 100 Wines List for 2014. 2011 Dow Vintage Point was declared the wine of the year. What is amazing to me is that my friend Zak (wine store owner), predicted this exact wine to be the wine of the year in 2013 – and now it is, only one year later – that is very impressive in my opinion. The list looks quite diverse, with entries from all over the world. One of the interesting facts is that 3 out of the Top 10 wines are from Portugal. The least expensive wine on the list is priced at $10 (Bodegas Montecillo Rioja), and the most expensive one is Ornellaia at $240. You can analyze the list in many more ways – here is the link for you. Note that you can also go through the past 25 years of the Top 100 lists using the same link.

Recently I came across a blog post which provides excellent tips for the beginner bloggers about the content, dealing with social media, promoting the blog and all other related issues. I’m sure many of my readers already know most of this, but it never hurts to go through a refresher course – there is a good chance of finding something new. And for the people who are contemplating to start their own blog, having that good of an advice might be a tipping point. Here is the link to the post. I will also make it available on my Resources page.

Do you want to know in advance when the wine holidays are taking place? Me too – and this is why I’m glad I found this calendar, which lists most of the wine holidays in a very easy to understand format – here is the link so you can see it for yourself.

Last for today is a note of the new service called CorkSharing. If you plan to visit a winery, you can use the service to book your tasting in advance – when you arrive at the winery, you can just proceed to the tasting without waiting for it in line. The list right now includes 11 countries and 166 participating locations. I think this is an interesting service, especially if you plan your winery visit in advance.

And we are done! The glass is empty – but the refill is on its way. Cheers!