Have you looked in 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 hard core 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 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 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. 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 in 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, the 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 fresh 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: fresh crushed berries, crisp, vibrant, good acidity
V: 7+, traditional Beaujolais Nouveau, simple and tasty
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!
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?
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!