Have You Had a Glass of this Year’s Beaujolais Nouveau?
The third Thursday of November is a milestone date in the wine world – wine stores have a special delivery of Beaujolais Nouveau wine.
What is all the fuss about? Beaujolais Nouveau or ‘first wine’ is wine made from grapes that were picked in the most recent harvest. By the time the bottles arrive at your local LCBO or wine shop, the contents are generally 7 to 9 weeks old. According to history books, over a century ago, casks of brilliant coloured ruby red wine, typically made from Gamay grapes, were shipped from the Beaujolais wine-producing region (near Lyon) to harvest festivals and bistros throughout France.
The popularity of this wine became an international phenomenon to the point that, in 1985 the French Government established that the third Thursday of November is the worldwide release date of Beaujolais Nouveau wines. Today, wine shops around the world stock their shelves to give wine lovers a taste of what this year’s grape harvest will produce with fully aged wines. Every year there is a good showing of Nouveau wines from France, a few from Italy & Canada with some bottles from other parts of the world. This year there are 9 Nouveau wines that got in the spirit.
What to expect from Beaujolais Nouveau when you pop the cork?
Typically, Beaujolais is made from Gamay grapes. This variety creates a light wine that is bright red in colour with cherry and strawberry aromas and tastes. As Beaujolais Nouveau was picked, bottled and shipped in less than two months, consider drinking this styled wine similar to eating chocolate chip cookie dough. Fresh, easy drinking and best with simpler dishes of pasta, pizza, burgers or lots of cheese rather than a big steak or roast beef.
The general ‘rule of thumb’ is to pop the corks & enjoy the wine before Christmas, as they tend not to improve with age, rather they lose their vibrant characteristics.
With all kinds of powerhouse and velvety wines available, why would anyone want something so grapey? The reason is simple – to celebrate the year’s grape harvest.
More info about the region, the wines & festivities can be found at www.beaujolais.com
On the shelves at most LCBOs
Art’s Beaujolais Primeur Nouveau
The funky design on the bottle sets the mood for this fun wine. A light red wine that smells like candy (think Swedish berries). Each sip is loaded with cherry flavours combined with a taste that reminds me of fresh-out-of-the oven strawberry rhubarb pie. Fresh acidity on the finish. It is an easy drinking wine that would be good with pizza, pasta or burgers.
DeBoeuf Gamay Nouveau
Georges DeBoeuf is a well-known producer of Beaujolais wines and Nouveau Beaujolais. Uncorking a bottle of DeBoeuf Nouveau wine you’d expect quality. This one is a classic, medium bodied, solid wine full of cherry & strawberry aromas and taste – exactly what you’d expect when you open up a bottle of Nouveau.
Catalans Primeur Syrah Merlot
A French twist – breaking away from tradition & doing something completely different– making Nouveau wines with grapes other than Gamay. The result of this experiment is a wine that reminds me more of Koolaid than red wine. Honestly though, this is a characteristic of Beaujolais Nouveau so it is not a bad thing. Bright ruby colour, fresh juicy cherries & cotton candy.
Mommessin Beaujolais Nouveau
Sorry – no review as this wine was not available at the tasting
Negrar Novello Del Veneto
I had to double check that the label stated 2014, because this wine was like no other Nouveau I have ever tried. I was knocked over with the HUGE aromas and tastes of over ripe red fruit…perhaps that means that Italian wines from Veneto region will be big & bold this year….jury is still out.
Tollo Novello Rosso Terre di Chieti
Ask for the Nouveau wine with the lion on the label & you will be impressed with this Italian wine. Medium to full body (uncommon for Nouveau wines), jammy over ripe fruit shows through on this one too with some acidity on the finish. Mama Mia, bring on the pizza for this wine.
The Fool Reif Estate Gamay Nouveau VQA
No foolin’ around here! Reif has created this Nouveau wine with classic characteristics that you’d expect of a freshly made wine. Juicy aromas and tastes of cherry pie filling or is it fresh pomegranate juice with a fruity & acidity combo. The sweetest wine of the bunch, so grab some creamy cheese to calm down the punch of the flavours that will no doubt mellow out as other Reif red wines age in the cellar. This wine certainly shows promise that 2014 is a good vintage for Ontario wines….red wines worth waiting for.
You’ll find these on the shelves at LCBO’s Vintages…
Beaujolais Villages Nouveau (Joseph Drouhin)
Joseph Drouhin keeps good company with Georges Duboeuf when it comes to making Beaujolais Nouveau wines. These are definitely the leaders of the pack. This is a good red wine that surprised me that it was Nouveau. Cranberry & herbal combination in the aromas that continued into the taste, this wine is worth the highest price tag of the lot.
Beaujolais Villages Nouveau
It was hard to compare this wine with the $9.95 version (see above) as they were equally good red wines. In my notebook, I have written & circled ALIVE. Dark in colour with fresh juicy red & black cherries combined with tart cranberries that creates some lively acidity on the finish. A solid red wine.
I had the time to taste all of these wines twice and for fun, I exchanged my top 4 wines with another reviewer (and extra ordinary wine teacher – afterall I caught the wine bug from him!) Vic Haradine of WineCurrent.com. Our list overlapped on just two…showing that there is a Beaujolais Nouveau for everyone. Click to read Vic’s tasting notes.
Grab a few of these colourful wines and toast to the 2014 harvest & the red wines to come!
by Debbie Trenholm, Sommelier & Founder - Savvy Company
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