The French word nouveau means ‘new’, and what better way to start off the new year, than with a Beaujolais Nouveau! Beaujolais is also known as gamay, or gamay noir. One thing you’ll find about a beaujolais nouveau (let’s call it B.N. from here on out) is that it’s recommended to drink it when its young, aka, don’t let it sit because the flavors don’t age as well as other varietals. Most beaujolais you’ll find hails from the Beaujolais region in France, but you can find it grown elsewhere. B.N. is typically recommended to be paired with a lovely charcuterie, one with brie or camembert on the plate in order to cut the brighter flavors of the wine, without imparting other characters which could change the taste, or overpower the fruit-forwardness of the wine.
I had noticed this bottle while waiting in the checkout line during one of my Christmas shopping excursions. I’d recently seen an instagram post about beaujolais nouveau and thought, “Wow, I’ve never tried this before”….and let’s be honest, it had a pretty label. So I bought it with the plans to drink it in the near future.
George DuBoeuf, as I found out, is a highly regarded winemaker in the region. He grew up in the industry, but ventured out on his own in 1964. This guy obviously has been around the block!
The Georges DuBoeuf 2017 comes, specifically, from Thorins, France, and set me back about $11. Also, it’s 13% ABV (alcohol by volume), which is considered a medium percentage.
I opened this bottle on January 2nd, and poured myself a nice glass and just let it sit while I admired its appearance. On color, it was purplish-red, and slightly opaque. As expected, this varietal runs on the lighter side of reds. The sniff test began with an overwhelming scent of raspberry and tart cherry. Those who know me know I do not like eating raspberries…fresh are a no-go with me, so you can imagine my hesitation to actually taste this with that powerful smell.
A couple swirls here, and a few more sniffs at different spots in the glass yielded a slight pebble smell, with maybe a hint of grass? I decided not to get too in my head about what I smelled, and finally drank the wine. Not surprisingly, my mouth filled with a bright, slightly tart cherry flavor, and I could sum up as plummy, while being light on the tongue. To me, it was a medium acidity (hence the tartness). Acidity in a wine lessens as the grapes age, so it’s not surprising that this B.N., the first harvest of the season, carried with it a more acidic nature.
Would I try this again? Maybe! While I typically prefer the bold, full-bodied reds, this was a pleasant surprise. This isn’t what I would consider a hang-out-at-home-in-my-comfy-clothes-and-drink-while-watching-a-movie-or-reading-a-book wine, but I think it’d be a great option to serve at a gathering, and a great way to start off an evening.
It’s also important to remember that B.N. is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to beaujolais, which offers the full, fruity flavor, but also adds a lot of jam character to the taste.