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Friday, November 4, 2011

Beaujolais Nouveau 2011 Uncorked

Even though the fascination and the novelty of Beaujolais Nouveau has diminished substantially in France as wine consumption among the French people has also dipped.

Still the festivities, pomp and ceremony are still celebrated each November on the third Thursday of the month, unusually with much fanfare and covered by a few media outlets. Beaujolais Nouveau, is a special category of seven to nine week old wines produced from the gamay grape, with a majority the vineyards located in the southern part of France's Burgundy region. These wine are normally found selling in the neighborhood of $10 to $15 price range.

Some say it began as a local phenomenon in the local bars, cafes, and bistros of Beaujolais. Still other say the négociant Georges Duboeuf, saw the marketing potential for Beaujolais Nouveau as not just a way to clear lots of vin ordinaire at a good profit, but selling wine within weeks of the harvest was great of revenue for many cash strapped vintners.

When normally as you know red wines are aged for months and not released until the following year or in some cases even longer. The négociant  Duboeuf remains the biggest producer of Beaujolais Nouveau; unlike the "flower" labels of his other wines, his Nouveau features a colourful abstract design that changes every year.

Each fall the new Beaujolais would arrive with much fanfare as you will see in the this clip below of the BN antics that were on display in New York at last years festivities. So if you want to participate in the tradition grab, which I highly recommend that you do, grab a few bottles [normally very reasonably priced] and welcome in the 2011 vintage.

Remember "Nouveau" is made for quick and easy quaffing, a drink now and drink often wine style. If you interested in Beaujolais and want to explore it further, it also available on a regular basis in the form of Haut-Beaujolais or Cru Beaujolais, which are generally more concentrated versions of Beaujolais Nouveau. If you see BN on store shelves after the beginning of the year, you may just want to avoid it altogether or just opt for a Cru Beaujolais.

One thing that really makes Beaujolais Nouveau different from the way other wine is produced is the use of Carbonic Maturation, also known as whole berry fermentation. This process emphasizes fruit flavors without extracting bitter tannins from the skins of the grapes. A technique which tends to give the wine a banana or eggnog aromas [strange I know, but that is what I smell] in the nose and a odd candied-apple quality on the finish. If you've never tried this wine before, you should seek it out and give it a swirl. Many folks are decidedly in favor of pairing wine with their Thanksgiving meal [nothing wrong with that move], but I still prefer a great "Carneros" Pinot Noir with the traditional fixing's served here at Chez Vino.

This is same wine I picked up off the shelves of the "Sprouts" here in East Lake while doing my shopping for upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, yep hosting once more. Mrs. Cuvee and I enjoyed this interesting little quaffer, quite tasty for the price. Closure was a synthetic cork with typical notes of banana in the nose and a candied dry cherry on the palate, a short to medium finish. A wine best served a bit chilled, pairs very nicely with cheese and salami, what some call a true bistro wine. I would love to hear your experiences with this wine, until next time sip long and prosper, cheers!.

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Wine Fan said...

Any word on where we can find Beaujolais Nouveau in the USA- Any major chains like Safeway/Costco? Sounds fascinating drinking such a young wine.

Carbonic Maturation is also known as Malalactic Fermentation, correct?

I'm with you though- Can't ever go wrong with a Carneros Pinot Noir! :D


Bill Eyer said...

Hey Matt,

You should start seeing this wine becoming widely soon, in the next few weeks, it's not supposed to be released until the the third Thursday of November.

Maloactic Fermentation or "Malo" is different than Carbonic Maceration. Here's a link to the full explanation.

Matt, it would be great to hear your impressions with this unique wine style, I'll look for your comments in the following weeks.



Matt said...

Grape juice... That was the consensus among the 4 of us tasting the Nouveau last night. It tasted like grape juice with alcohol :)

As you know, we did a side by side tasting with Beaujolais-Villages. That was pretty cool because normally the Villages tastes really light, but after tasting the Nouveau it seemed full of body. I would almost say the Nouveau is a wine for people who aren't huge wine fans. It was seriously just like drinking welches grape juice. It's also a super inexpensive wine and I wasn't upset at all at paying a small price to taste such a famous production.

Quite a fun experiment! Thanks for the great article!

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