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...