Le Beaujolais Nouveau est arrive!
Yeah, I know anyone who’s written anything in the last two weeks about this year’s Beaujolais Nouveau has titled their post Le Beaujolais Nouveau est arrivÃ©! but it’s just so fun to say. (You do it. Put some real guttural hork into the “arrive“… see? Wicked fun.)
So, for those you who aren’t oenophiles, the third Thursday of November — which was November 16th this year — is la fête du Beaujolais, although here in the US we generally get by with just calling it Beaujolais Day. It’s the first official day Beaujolais Nouveau wine can legally be sold under French law and some people — both French and not (but yeah, mostly the French) — wait all year for this wine to arrive, to drink immediately and/or have with their Thanksgiving dinner.
However, despite my affection for (and for saying) la fête du Beaujolais, I know pretty much nothing about wine. Like, at all. So, rather than embarrass myself in my first big Accidental Hedonist post by picking some clunker of a wine, I figured I should do some online research.
I started with the only bit of information I knew already: the #1 selling brand of Beaujolais Nouveau is Georges Duboeuf. So, I started with his Beaujolais Nouveau site.
First, a quick science lesson, because I’m nerdy and I like science:
Unlike other wines, Beaujolais Nouveau is made from uncrushed grapes. Instead, they pile all the grapes up and let them ferment in their skins. (The process is known as semi-carbonic maceration. Drop that into your next wine tasting party conversation and you’ll totally get laid.) Some of the grapes at the bottom get crushed a little (hence the semi-), just because they’ve got all the other grapes on top of them, but because most of the grapes aren’t crushed, the wine ends up low in tannins — the stuff that makes your mouth go all puckery — and makes the wine taste fruitier. The downside is, low tannins means it’s not going to age well, so drink it now.
But how’s it taste? Rather than try to get an assessment of all the various Nouveaus out there, I tracked down what people had to say just about the 2006 Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais Nouveau.
Good Wine Under $20 found it had “some soft tannins, with silky strawberry and nutmeg flavors.” PhilaFoodie wrote, “The nose and palate show strawberries, raspberries and cherries” and “has a respectable balance between the fruitiness and the acidity.” And Benito’s Wine Reviews said “we get the classic whiff of bananas on the nose with a little cherry behind it… with characteristic light tannins and a short finish.”
Uh, that sounds good, right? Not wanting to feel even more intimidated by reading more reviews, I popped open my own bottle (from Cabrini Wines, 831 W181st, NYC) and poured a glass.
And how did I, an admitted wine dork, find it? Did it live up to all the anticipation? Was it worth making my husband go to three different liquor stores on a Friday night when he could have been home watching Battlestar Galactica?
Well, it was… okay.
It was tasty: fruity, which I expected, and it also had some sourish tannins to it, which I didn’t really expect. (Honestly, I still don’t really know if that tannin thing is supposed to be good or bad.) It wasn’t overwhelming; it was kind of a nice balance with the fruity flavor. Overall, it was good. I think.
Y’know, maybe I like saying Beaujolais Nouveau more than I actually like drinking it.