Beaujolais Nouveau is a style that generates a lot of cash flow for producers and negociants immediately following the harvest – after all this is wine made in the fall and meant to be consumed immediately. It’s literally a baby wine – having just been picked, fermented and bottled.
Since its real marketing push following WW2, a tradition has emerged and many rush to purchase it by the third Thursday in November when it’s available for sale (originally it was available by December 15, then November 15). The Beaujolais Nouveau phenomenon hit its peak in 1988.
Made to be fresh, fruity and ‘gouleyant’ or ‘gulpable’ when served cool from the cellar (or your handy fridge), the Beaujolais Nouveau wines from the Appellation Controllee (such as this one), Beaujolais Superieur and Beaujolais Villages are all made from the Gamay Noir a Jus Blanc grape that constitutes 98% of those grown throughout the region. This grape is different from the Gamay Tenturier variety which has red flesh. This percentage makes Beaujolais France’s most monocepagiste (single variety) region. The other 2% is Chardonnay, Aligote which is allowed until 2024 and a little Pinot Noir.
This wine is clear and bright, deep purple and has legs. On the nose it’s clean and youthful with medium plus aromas of pear drop, kirsch cherry and a whiff of blackberry juice. It smells distinctly new – like homemade wine.
The palate is dry with medium acidity and medium minus alcohol, light grainy and slightly green tannins and medium minus body. The medium flavour intensity shows plenty of fresh fruit characteristics including blackberry juice, cranberry, cherry and plum.
Drink now and don’t hold – Beaujolais Nouveau is not mean to be aged unless it’s from one of a few Crus. This wine is fresh, fruity, simple – a lower level WSET ‘good’ (It earned an 84 on Wine Spectator). Truthfully, I did not enjoy it or even get through the first glass. I fully recognize this is a specific style that I am simply not accustomed to. Given that, I decided to cut my losses and move instead onto a Beaujolais Cru wine to accompany Christmas dinner.