This wine is released for sale just after the stroke of midnight on the third Thursday in November. Within 24 hours over one million cases will be sold. During the coming year, consumers all over the world are expected to buy several dozen million bottles. If things work on schedule more than 4 million bottles will be exported to the United States, and 7 million to Japan and to Germany.
Let me present a few tidbits of information before reviewing what may be one of the best Beaujolais Nouveau wines. This wine comes from specially designated areas (villages) in the Beaujolais region of southeastern France. Like its un-villaged cousin it is made from the Gamay grape, which was kicked out of the world-famous, neighboring Burgundy region in 1395. French legislation requires that all grapes in the Beaujolais region be picked by hand. Champagne is the only other French region that forbids mechanical harvesting. While Beaujolais Nouveau was first regulated in 1938, it dates back to ancient times when a somewhat similar wine was produced for slaves. History does not record their reaction.
I know that I’m well over the $10 limit but this is an exceptional situation (we’ll see whether it is an exceptional wine). You may be able to get this wine for somewhat less. And if you go for a bottle without the word Villages on the label you might even get in under the $10 limit. But it may not be the same, an allegedly top of the Nouveau (primeur) wines. My supplier did not provide any marketing materials. Let me quote the back label. Tender, fruity, harmonious, elegant, fresh, delicious are the main qualities of primeur wines. And now for my reactions.
My first pairing of this wine involved smoked turkey thighs cooked with ground chicken meat balls, chick peas, and wheat kernels all in a tasty but hardly spicy sauce containing turmeric and black pepper. The wine was a bit thin but not at all sour. It had absolutely no tannins, surely one of the reasons that many people go for these wines. I tasted some black cherry but not enough. This wine was pleasantly acidic but with no complexity at all.
The next meal consisted of an omelet accompanied by packaged babaganoush (smoky eggplant salad) and humus (chickpeas) salad with jalapeno peppers. This time the wine displayed light, refreshing acidity. It seemed a bit thin and was taken down by the eggplant salad. It did rebound with the chickpea salad.
Then I tried this wine with cold cuts, palms hearts, and a commercial potato salad containing chopped sour pickles. The wine was fruity with the fairly (I should say unfairly) tasteless veal breast. It was more forceful with the roasted turkey breast slices.
The first cheese was mild, yellow Cheddar. In this case the wine was very fruity. Then I went to a local but still overpriced Emmenthaler (Swiss-type) cheese. This cheese was more forceful, and the wine weakened but still held its fruit.
Final verdict. Can you guess? This is said to be the top of the line Beaujolais Nouveau, and possibly the best of the new wines. It’s only marginally better than a more run of the mill product. I don’t think the partygoers will note the difference. There is another new wine to taste but I’ll be sure to taste something else in the meantime. And like we used to say every time our baseball team was mathematically eliminated from the World Series, wait ‘til next year.
Levi Reiss has authored or co-authored ten books on computers and the Internet, but to be honest, he would
rather just drink fine Italian or other wine, accompanied by the right foods. He teaches classes in computers at an Ontario
French-language community college. His wine websites include
www.theworldwidewine.com and http://www.wineinyourdiet.com
Visit his website devoted to Italian travel www.travelitalytravel
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