Thursday, November 15, 2012

Guest Post - Beaujolais Nouveau

Here is another guest post from the chardonnay stained keyboard of self proclaimed wine expert Morgan David.
Morgan David talks Beaujolais Nouveau
Morgan David - Self proclaimed wine expert
Today is (was) one of the most notable dates in the wine calendar. I am of course talking about the premiere of Twilight: Breaking Dawn part 2. No, no, no, seriously, today is the third Thursday of November which we all know is Beaujolais Nouveau day. Every year at this time, the new wines from one of France's best known regions are released upon the the public.

Wine Enthusiast - Ultimate wine accessories site!
America is still one of the biggest markets for this overpriced, under-performing red goop which the French continue to thrust in our direction, and until we get educated this will continue to be the case. My friends, sit back with a glass of real wine and let's learn.

Some wines are made to age, and some wines are made to be enjoyed in their youth. Some wines are made to be enjoyed with a meal, while others are made purely for cocktailing and socializing. BeauNou is none of these. It specific purpose in life is to be picked, squished, fermented, bottled and drunk all in a short space of time to celebrate the harvest and give an insight to the character of the forthcoming vintage.

Every other country in the world treats BeauNou this way except the US. Only in America is this pseudo-wine considered as a potential partner for food, and this is partly to do with the unfortunate timing of Thanksgiving, exactly one week later.

Since the days of really good Beaujolais in the 70's and 80's the American palette has changed (either naturally or by design) towards a more fruit driven style. These tooty-fruity wines offer very little depth and are designed for immediate consumption, and as such, have no rightful place at the dinner table let alone at the Thanksgiving dinner table, but old habits die hard.

In contrast  old style Beaujolais has depth, quality, character and in most cases is actually ageable, and will compliment a Turkey dinner remarkably well. The gamay grape when made in a retro style (or should I say Retreau™ ?) is not unlike a pinot noir from Burgundy or Oregon (WINE FACT: Beaujolais is actually a sub region of Burgundy).
Cartoon turkey holding a glass of wine
Turkey wine?
When you buy your bottle of BeauNou, ask your wine merchant about other classically styled Beaujolais wines, and buy some real Beaujolais for comparison. I don't usually promote specific brands or labels (without compensation), but names to look out for are Mommessin, Matray and Jean-Paul Brun, while names to avoid in this situation (due to their candied-fruit Nouveau styles) are Duboeuf, Jadot and Barton & Guestier

While these latter brands are not entirely undrinkable and have a large and loyal following, the wine makers continue to ignore the great traditions of the region and fail to deliver what the gamay grape is truly capable of.

You have the power. You can continue to live inside your safe little box and feed off what the marketing giants tell you, or you can expand your horizons one bottle at a time. Find a wine retailer you trust and get to know the people who work there. Find out what they drink and why they drink it. 

Before you know it, you could be on your way to becoming a wine expert like me.


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