Showing posts with label Beaujolais Villages. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Beaujolais Villages. Show all posts

Monday, November 19, 2018

The Beaujolais Nouveau Is Here, And It's Good

It's time again for the seasonal experience known as Beaujolais Nouveau.  The young wine that is produced and hurried to market each fall by France's Beaujolais region is here.  I'm not a fan of it, so I was quite surprised to find that it's pretty good this year.

Beaujolais Nouveau is released on the third Thursday of November at 12:01 a.m., a practice that was originated as a publicity stunt.  I've read accounts of the wine being rushed by any conveyance imaginable to the bistros across the land, each trying to get it there before their competitors.  The wine is generally touted as a great addition to both the Thanksgiving and Christmas feasts.  Its pairability with the wide variety of flavors available over the holidays is, for some, legendary.  I have never been able figure why, since the wine has none of the qualities we usually look for in a mature wine.

The leading producer of Beaujolais Nouveau is Les Vins Georges Duboeuf.  You've no doubt seen his name on those bottles with the fruity labels which appear each holiday season.  The company always puts out press releases extolling the virtues of the harvest.  The copy was pretty much the same this year, "nearly perfect summer," "exceptional harvest," "grapes of highest quality," "among the greatest vintages" they've ever had.  But this year the words rang true.

Duboeuf this year has a Beaujolais Nouveau, a Beaujolais-Villages Nouveau and a Beaujolais Nouveau Rosé, which is making its American debut, all imported by Quintessential.

All three wines are made only from Gamay grapes, whole bunch harvested from the southern part of the region.  Duboeuf and his team reportedly tried some five-thousand samples over two weeks to settle on the cuvées found here.  Tough job, but someone's gotta do it.  The wines have a scale on the back label, much like Rieslings do, showing that they are somewhere between dry and medium-dry.  They hit 12.5% abv for alcohol and sells for less than $15.  The label art is quite nice this season, and is called "Foolish Pleasure" by Chloé Meyer.

The 2018 Duboeuf Beaujolais Nouveau is pretty good.  The nose - Gamay grapey - is nearly all dark fruit with a smattering of spice, and that profile holds true on the palate, too.  It's a clean, brisk drink that doesn't seem to fall prey to the usual complaint of being too young.  The spicy angle lends it maturity beyond its years, er, weeks.  Happy Thanksgiving.

The 2018 Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais Nouveau Rosé is, not surprisingly, alive with vibrant fruit aromas and flavors.  The nose has herbs and strawberries in an earthier-than-Provence framework while the palate displays cherry, strawberry and a hint of the mayhaw jelly I enjoyed as a youngster in southeast Texas.  No kidding.  The acidity is gentle but tingly.  The pink wine will be great as an aperitif or with the turkey or the ham, and especially with those Black Friday leftovers.

The 2018 Duboeuf Beaujolais-Villages Nouveau  is 100% Gamay wine is considered a fuller-bodied beverage than the typical Beaujolais Nouveau.  There's more complexity in it due to the granite-and-schist-laden soils of the 38 villages.  They made 85,000 cases with an alcohol number of 13% abv.  It sells for $14.  The wine is medium-dark and smells earthy, full of minerals, almost like dirt with a rusty nail stuck in it.  Good earth, though.  The palate shows plums and dark berries with a hefty dose of those fabulous minerals.  Acidity is fresh but not overpowering, while the tannins are firm enough to handle a pork chop, if you like.  The finish stays awhile and is somewhat flinty.

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Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Beaujolais Nouveau

Holiday time always makes me turn a little more toward Beaujolais. If you follow such things, you get that little pre-Thanksgiving kick of the Beaujolais Nouveau release. It happens on the third Thursday of November, giving a one-week window before tastes move on to other delights.

The wine ends up on millions of Thanksgiving tables each year in the U.S., not to mention being the drink of choice in French cafés toward the end of each year.

Beaujolais Nouveau is a young wine, made from Gamay grapes and meant to be consumed while young. To be blunt, it’s not getting any better in the bottle.  BN is usually a dull but drinkable wine that I often find quite grapey, but others seem to revel in its simplicity. Personally, I don’t see the need to rush the wine out the door immediately after harvest, but I understand. It started as a marketing ploy, and lives on as that today.

The better choices are the wines from the crus of Beaujolais, the ten villages that all offer their own separate and distinct terroirs. They don’t cost much more than BN, but the difference is like night and day. There was a Brandlive online tasting event recently which featured Franck Duboeuf and Steve Kreps Sr. of Quintessential Wines, the exclusive US importer of Les Vins Georges Duboeuf. Charles Communications founder Kimberly Charles moderated.

@WineHarlots summed up the difference between BN and cru Beaujolais nicely during the Twitter tasting: "Beaujolais Nouveau for a day. Cru Beaujolais for a lifetime."

The wines tasted will be written up here in future posts. The record of the live stream may still be here, if you’d like to watch and listen.

2016 Beaujolais Nouveau (SRP $11.99)
2015 Beaujolais-Villages (SRP $12.99)
2015 Domaine La Madone Fleurie (SRP $19.99)
2015 Morgon Jean-Ernest Descombes (SRP $21.99)

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Monday, December 21, 2015

A Jug Of Wine From Beaujolais

The simple things in life are always underrated. No matter how often people talk about “the simple things” or “the simple life” it always ends costing more and delivering less. At least, that’s how it seems to me.

Beaujolais is one of those things that seems to go under-appreciated. The simple wine, the easy-going wine. It’s not flashy or fancy - but it is worthy of poetry.

At a friend’s impromptu early Thanksgiving party we cracked open a Louis Jadot Beaujolais Villages 2013 that pleased without overwhelming. It paired beautifully with the Trivial Pursuit game - 1981 edition, much to the detriment of the younger folks who were born in 1985. I took the advantage and ran with it. The only question we were left scratching our heads about was, “Who just up and decides to cook a turkey four days before Thanksgiving?”

The granitic soil of the southern part of Beaujolais has a lot of manganese in it, said to be responsible for the great minerality. This wine is a blend of Beaujolais-Villages and wine from some of the other crus. Alcohol in this wine is a typically reasonable 12.5% abv and it sells for about $12 - also a reasonable number.

The nose is big and juicy, with red fruit and minerals. There is a pretty good level of acidity, and the Gamay palate hits nicely, with that light, grapey sensation that make the wine so great with a holiday turkey. It also does very well as the jug of wine to go with “a loaf of bread” and “thou.”

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Exploring Beaujolais: Duboeuf Beaujolais-Villages

We visit Beaujolais once again, and this time we go not with a Cru, but with Beaujolais-Villages. There are 38 villages in the northern part of the Beaujolais region entitled to use the name on their labels.  These wines could carry the name of the individual village from which the grapes came, but most of the winemakers feel the Beaujolais-Villages name has a bigger recognition factor.

The soil in the Villages is composed of more schist and granite than the soils of other areas in the region.  The vineyards are also located in more mountainous terrain.  As a result of these factors, there is the potential for some very high quality wine to come from the region’s Gamay grapes.

The Georges Duboeuf 2009 Beaujolais-Villages carries a 13% abv number, about the norm in Beaujolais.  This wine is an easy drinker, with a nose that displays dark cherry and grapey notes and a nice touch of spiciness.  On the palate there is some very nice acidity, while the tannins are somewhat restrained, but noticeable.  There is a medium-full mouth with notes of cherry cola and clove.  The wine is much more complex than most of the Cru wines from Beaujolais I have tasted - mostly from the 2010 vintage.  This effort is good and juicy, and works well with a bit of a chill.  Pair it with lean meat, seafood or even a salad, especially one with some light meat involved. 

Tuesday, January 3, 2012


Louis Jadot Beaujolais Villages

Jadot's Beaujolais Villages 2010 is labeled as red Burgundy wine, even though the Beaujolais region is its own appellation.  Beaujolais is situated in both Burgundy and the Rhône, and  the Beaujolais Villages region is located in the southern Beaujolais, near Lyons, between the Beaujolais appellation and the Crus.  Beaujolais Villages is a little more Burgundian in its terroir.  The soils are mostly granitic. 

The Jadot maison was founded in 1859 and bears the founder's name.  It's customary in Burgundy for winemakers to work with single varieties, and Jadot follows that plan.  They utilize Pinot Noir and Chardonnay in their Burgundian bottlings and Gamay grapes for their Beaujolais wines.

Commenting upon the Jadot methodology in the vineyards, their website exclaims,  "we have, for the past 20 years, banished all use of synthetic products (fertilisers, herbicides, etc) on our vineyards soils and have taken up traditional practices instead.  Our work is done either by tractor or, for the most inaccessible vineyards, by horse.  We don't work our soil deeply but prefer to concentrate on surface actions in order to preserve its innate structure.  We encourage our vines to grow their roots in such a way as to enable them to mine the soil's minerality.  This allows them to fight disease naturally and more efficiently."

Jadot's 2010 Beaujolais Villages is a wine which is available widely in the U.S., at price points well under the $20 mark.

The nose offers an aromatic fruitiness, with cherries and strawberries in the forefront.  Rich ruby hued, the wine is not dark.  Light passes through easily.  The palate shows the same red fruit with the mark of minerals on it.  The tannins are subdued - elegant, if you will - and the acidity is wonderful.  It's very easy to drink, at 13% abv, and is quite light on the palate.

Pairing the Jadot Beaujolais Villages with cheese is a natural.  If you pick up a bottle at Trader Joe's, grab some Madrigal cheese to go with it.  Light meats will also pair quite well with it.