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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! 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

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