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Le Beaujolais Nouveau est arrivé

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OK, so the Beaujolais Nouveau has landed and it's out there for sale now. Every year on the third Thursday in November, these wines are released to the public, with increasingly dwindling fanfare. As the quality of the wines has plateaued and the prices have continued to rise, there's been little reason to get overly excited about the wines. You can read more about my thoughts on Gamay/Beaujolais here.

Having said that, I'm generally a big fan of wines made with the Gamay Noir grape, although the Nouveau wines rarely impress over the long term.

Generally speaking, Beaujolais Nouveau wines are fresh and fruity, and should be drunk sooner rather than later — they're optimal reds to have with turkey dinner at Christmas. 

Here are my first impressions of a couple of the reds available in our market...

Georges Dubœuf 2013 Beaujolais Nouveau (Beaujolais, France -- $16.95, Liquor Marts and beyond)
The sole Beaujolais Nouveau brought in by Manitoba Liquor Marts this year, the Dubœuf is bright purple in colour, with strawberry candy, raspberry jam and light yeasty notes, as well as an underlying latex-y aroma that's a bit perplexing. It's decidedly light-bodied and quite juicy, yet there's some tannin that dries out the red berry notes a touch. I also picked up a hint of tart greenness to the fruit that's accentuated by a splash of acidity — a touch underripe, perhaps? I'll revisit this over the next couple days to see if my opinion changes. Right now, though, I'm certainly not blown away. 2/5

Signé Vignerons 2013 Domaine de L'Aubépin Beaujolais-Villages Nouveau (Beaujolais-Villages, France -- around $20-21, private wine stores)
The Domaine de L'Aubépin is from the smaller Beaujolais-Villages region. It's slightly darker in colour than the Dubœuf, and is a little less immediately generous on the nose. Floral, fresh strawberry, and red licorice aromas don't come across quite as sweet-smelling on the nose as the former wine, and eventually secondary blueberry skins and spice show themselves. This wine shows far better ripeness than the Dubœuf, with plush red fruit — especially ripe strawberries and cherry skins — working well with light tannin. This Gamay Noir brings nice intensity and decent structure, and is certainly work the extra few bucks. 4/5

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About Ben MacPhee-Sigurdson

When he wasn't bashing on a drum kit in local punk rock bands, Ben spent the mid '90s hucking cases of wine around to pay for two English degrees. Now he's the Winnipeg Free Press wine columnist and blogger.

The extent of Ben's wine experience in the mid-90s was memories of accidentally leaving a bottle of White Zinfandel in the freezer overnight, and the ensuing mess he was left with. Between 1996 and 2005 Ben absorbed all he could about wine while working at wine shops to pay for school. Meanwhile, he was churning out papers for his BA and MA in English (from the Universities of Winnipeg and Manitoba, respectively).

Ben became the Winnipeg Free Press' weekly wine columnist in 2005, and two years later joined Wine Access magazine as a contributor, a member of their national tasting panel and a judge at the Canadian Wine Awards and International Value Wine Awards until the magazine closed up shop in 2013.

In 2013 Ben joined the Winnipeg Free Press as a copy/web editor.

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