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Beaujolais Nouveau 2020 Edition

December 5, 2020 1 comment

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?

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!

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