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Le Beaujolais Nouveau est arrivé

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Beaujolais Nouveau, for those that don't know, is a red wine from the Beaujolais region of France that is released on the third Thursday of November (today). Made from the Gamay grape, it's a young, fresh wine that doesn't bring a lot of tannin, can be served slightly chilled, and is a decent pairing with a traditional Christmas dinner.

The whole thing now is as much a marketing ploy as much as it is tradition. I used to get a bit excited about it when I worked at wine shops around town, but these days I pick up a bottle or two if I happen to think of it and am in the right place at the right time.

But I figured this year I'd give a couple Beaujolais Nouveau wines a go for this blog space - after all, I really need to be maintaining my corner of the Freep website a little more regularly.

So I grabbed two different ones, both made by Beaujolais Nouveau pioneer Georges DuBoeuf.

One is a Beaujolais Nouveau and the other a Beaujolais-Villages Nouveau... the difference being that Beaujolais-Villages is a smaller region comprised of a few dozen communes. A rough analogy would be the difference between a wine that says it's made in Ontario versus one that says it's made in the Niagara Peninsula.

I thought it would be interesting to taste these wines blind against each other, so I closed my eyes, mixed the bottles around and re-bagged them so I didn't know which was which. There was definitely a difference, as the Beaujolais-Villages Nouveau brought a bit more acidity and spice, while the "regular" Beaujolais Nouveau showed more up-front red berry flavours, which is pretty much what I expected. Anyway, here's how things panned out...

Georges DuBoeuf 2011 Beaujolais Nouveau
($16.95, Liquor Marts and beyond)

Bright red berry aromas are more pronounced here than on the Villages - ripe cherries and raspberries work well with light perfume, milk chocolate and a hint of roasted coffee. Light-bodied and ripe, this wine also delivers more up-front fruit on the palate, with strawberry and raspberry flavours, a hint of bubble gum and some light acidity. 85/100

Georges DuBoeuf 2011 Beaujolais-Villages Nouveau
(around $20, private wine stores)

Cherry skins, raspberry pie filling, spice, mocha and a hint of latex all show on the nose here, and all are pleasant with the obvious exception of the latex. It offers a bit more body on the palate and a lot more acidity, but the slightly sour cherry and raspberry candy flavours work well with that. The Villages also has a light herbal note and the faintest hint of tannin that add complexity. 87/100

Beaujolais Nouveau is certainly not everyone's cup of tea - if you lean toward big, heavy tannic reds you'll surely be disappointed. But like I said, they're good Christmas dinner wines.

And speaking of Christmas, I have to go put the lights up outside. Maybe just one more glass of Beaujolais Nouveau to get me ready...

 

 

 

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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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