Tag Archives: Beaujolais

2016 Beaujolais Nouveau roundup

It’s that time again!  I’ve got 3 examples of the special early wine from the Beaujolais region in France, made with the Gamay grape.  One of these is an old standby, and two of the brands are new to me.  So let’s get at it!

Albert Bichot Beaujolais-Villages Nouveau (2016) France – $15

Domaine Manoir du Carra Beaujolais Nouveau (2016) France – $12

Georges DuBouef Beaujolais Nouveau (2016) France – $12

Color: All three have a solid, red color, without any wateriness.  That said, Manoir de Carra is one shade lighter than the other two.

Aroma: Albert Bichot is the clear winner – plenty of ripe cherries, with kirsch and some hard-candy aromas to follow.  The Manoir de Carra isn’t quite so dense, but still pleasant.  DuBouef has a sweeter nose, also dominated by cherries, but the banana/hard-candy/bubblegum complex is close behind.

Taste: Again, tip of the hat to Albert Bichot – rich and full, with a good length on the finish, and a solid food-friendly complex across the tongue.  Cherry and berry flavors predominate, but there are some dusty bramble notes as well.  DuBouef is made in a similar style, but doesn’t fill the mouth as nicely, and drops off relatively quickly.  Manoir du Carra is a lighter and more acidic style – I think this would be a good aperitif or tailgate wine, and it’s great for the folks who absolutely love cranberries.

Bottom line – the Albert Bichot is highly recommended.  It’s a great wine for Thanksgiving or holiday parties, and I think it’s just fine with a nice dinner as well – I’m making a sage-crusted pork roast right now and am highly anticipating the rest of the bottle!  It’s imported by European Wine Imports in Cleveland – they distribute in quite a few states, so ask your local retailer about getting access to this wine.


Winetasting Report: Beaujolais Nouveau 2013

I was able to duck into Arrow last night and try some of the Beaujolais Nouveau for this year. Overall, it’s an average year; nothing hateful, but 2011 was definitely better.

Joseph Drouhin $14

The nose is just a little off. Tighter than usual, with a little less fruit. Good balance, though – this is more like a regular Beaujolais than a Nouveau. OK. 

Bouchard Aine et Fils $12

Big fruit aromas and on the palate. Lots of cranberry! Pretty good – buy this for your Thanksgiving dinner.

Georges DuBoeuf $12

A little green on the nose, then flat and a little metallic tasting. Not good.

Domaine Rochette $14

The most complex of the bunch. Cranberry and cherry fruit, with just enough acidity. Pretty rich and dense, as well. Best of the bunch!


It’s Beaujolais Nouveau Thursday!!

Oui!  Le Beaujolais Nouveau est arriveé!

Today is the 3rd Thursday in November – which means it’s the worldwide release date for the first bottles of Northern Hemisphere 2013 wine. Beaujolais Nouveau is made using a special process so that it can be fermented and settled quickly, to be available before the end of the year.

Originally, this was a harvest festival wine. The farmers in the Beaujolais region would put part of their wine crop as whole bunches into sealed containers. Then they would ferment the rest of their grapes normally, harvest the wheat and rye, smoke some hams, dig up the turnips, etc. When the bulk of the fall harvest work was done, they could celebrate by opening the first fruits of the vine. It’s no coincidence that Beaujolais Nouveau and our American Thanksgiving occur within a week of each other!

After World War II, Georges DuBoeuf – a major grower in Beaujolais – popularized the Nouveau style throughout France, the rest of Europe, and other parts of the wine-drinking world. There’s a wacky midnight race across the English Channel with outlandish boats, French restaurants in the US stayed open until midnight last night so they could pour the first bottles at 12:01, and lots of wine shops will be featuring Nouveau on tastings and special menus this week.

When it’s done right, Beaujolais Nouveau is an incredibly bright, vibrant, and fruity wine – just perfect for turkey with cranberry sauce! In off years, however, it can sometimes smell like bananas and taste flat and boring. You never know until you crack the bottle – and it’s very hard for producers to be consistent from year to year, so I don’t have a favorite brand. I try a couple, and then stock up on the good ones.

I’ll be out and about this afternoon, and will report on the Nouveau wines tomorrow and Saturday – stay tuned!