Wednesday, December 7, 2011

‘Tis the Season…

         …to drink Beaujolais Nouveau!  Do you know about Beaujolais Nouveau?  If you don’t, you are not alone.  It was only the third week of November this year when we learned about this incredible tradition that has been going on in France for years and that we can enjoy here, too.
Here’s how it works.  Each year, the vintners in the Beaujolais region of France, which is just south of Burgundy, release the current year’s Beaujolais after only a few months fermentation.  It officially cannot be released before 12 a.m. on the third Thursday of November and is a wine that is meant to be drunk within a few months following its release. 
Apparently, there are all kinds of parties in various locales in France, each attempting to be the first to offer the wine and to celebrate its release.  We (LC and her hubby) couldn’t just pop over to France for the tasting, but we could do our local next-best.  So we bought our bottles of Beaujolais Nouveau at a nearby wine shop on November 17 and even went to a wine tasting event at the Milwaukee Public Market that very evening for not only Beaujolais Nouveau but for other aged Beaujolais wines, as well. 
Our opinion?  Beaujolais Nouveau, made from the Gamay grape, is light, cherry-fruity, and very drinkable.  It’s not a “serious” wine, according to some wine connoisseurs, apparently, but for us, it is perfect.  It’s good and a great harbinger of what the year’s vintage promises to be.  Plus, what fun to be drinking a wine with other wine revelers around the world on a designated day. 
We tasted two Nouveaus.  One was the Beaujolais Nouveau by George Duboeuf, the vintner who helped popularize this tradition in France and in other parts of the world. Every year,  Duboeuf hires a different artist to design an eye-catching label for the Nouveau.  This year New York artist Michael McLeer, also known as Kaves, designed the graffiti inspired label.  The cost of the wine is usually quite reasonable—ours only cost $9.95. Each year, George Duboeuf sells over 4 million bottles of Nouveau.
        The Nouveau we tasted at the official wine tasting was the Manoir du Carra which was also very light, fruity, and good.  The wine tasting crib sheet that our wine teacher gave us said that the wine had “characteristic grapey, bubble-gum, banana flavors.”  What fun is that!  It, too, was reasonable at $11.95. 
Another aspect of the Nouveau is that it is a great wine for those white wine drinkers who don’t like the tannin nature of red wines.  The Nouveau has low tannins because of the nature of its fermentation.    And it is quite nice slightly chilled.
“Le Beaujolais Nouveau est arrivé.”  We brought it to our Thanksgiving Day celebration and it was a hit.  We intend to continue enjoying this year’s Beaujolais Nouveau throughout the holiday season.  Hope you enjoy it too.

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