Tuesday, December 04, 2007

A Beaujolais Bust

I've become a big fan of great wines over the last few years and I'm willing to spend a little money for a great bottle of wine. With that in mind, I am still always looking for a good to great bottle of wine at an affordable price; one that I could consider an every day drinker. When I find a bottle under $10 that drinks like a bottle worth $20 or $30, I'll buy it all up. I've had this kind of success at Trader Joe's a few times over the last several years.

I also like try each year's release of Beaujolais Nouveau since it's priced under $10 and can be pretty good some years.

What is Beaujolais Nouveau?
Beaujolais Nouveau is a wine that's produced annually in the Beaujolais region of France. The new vintage is release on the third Thursday of November each year, regardless of when harvest took place.

The only grape used in Beaujolais Nouveau is the Gamay grape (Gamay noir Jus Blanc) and it must be handpicked; Champagne is the only other region that mandates handpicking of grapes.

The wine is produced using a process called carbonic maceration, or whole berry fermentation. This process results in a very easy drinking wine; one that is fresh and fruity and lacks the bitter tannins coming from the grape skins during a conventional crush. In the case of Beaujolais Nouveau, the time between picking and bottling can be as short as six weeks. Since the wine lacks the complexity and tannins of other more traditionally produced wines that can last for years in the cellar, Beaujolais Nouveau should be enjoyed during the first six months following it's release.

Some years the Beaujolais Nouveau is good, some years it's great, and other years, it's just plain crap. Lot's of factors determine how good a vintage might with the weather being one of the most influential. I'm not prepared to give you weather specifics from this region in France, but I was told at the market where I picked up the bottle a couple weeks ago that there were no serious weather issues that would have adversely affected the grapes.

On to the tasting - In my humble opinion, the 2007 Beaujolais Nouveau falls into the swill category. I finally got around to opening the bottle over this past weekend. Expecting that it would be at least drinkable, I figured that for under $10 it could be a good enough drink for nights when I don't want to open something from my cellar. I couldn't have been more disappointed. This years wine lacks that fruityness which we all love in a Beaujolais Nouveau. It was juicy, like a young wine lacking tannins should be, but there was a metallic flavor that I couldn't get past.

I don't think I'll even cook with the wine left in the bottle - never cook with wine you wouldn't drink. If your looking for a fresh, fruity young wine, which Beaujolais Nouveau sometimes is, don't waste your time with this 2007 offering. I found it undrinkable. I'll give it a go again next year, but I'm done with the 2007 vintage.

One Food Guy


  1. Yep, Beaujolais Nouveau is always a crap shoot. Every year we attend a wonderful party the Friday after the new vintage comes out. The new wines are up and down--and you're right, this year's was nothing to write home about--but the old friends and good food are always wonderful.

  2. Terry, thanks for the comment. Good friends and good food always trump a crappy bottle of wine. Although a great bottle of wine makes everything better. Here's to 2008!

  3. Thanks for your comment! It's very encouraging. I think I WILL make more fondant cakes now...maybe after the holidays though. =)

  4. Hi eatingplum, have fun with the cake making!