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Nov 16, 2000 01:28 PM

Le Beaujolais Nouveau est arrive!

  • b

Well, it's the third Thursday in November and that means only one thing...beaujolais nouveau 2000 hits the shelves! I must confess that each year's vintage is among my favorite wine experiences. Wine snobs dismiss beaujolais nouveau as "simple" and "akin to grape juice", but I consider it a thoroughly enjoyable, undemanding red wine that can hold its own with the big boys if not taken too seriously. Cheers!

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  1. I was surrounded by 100+ bottles of Zinfandel at lunch today and completely forgot it was Nouveau day!

    So how's the 2000? As they say, a good Nouveau foreshadows a good vintage in Burgundy.

    21 Replies
    1. re: Melanie Wong

      Where were you surrounded by 100+ bottles of Zin, and more importantly, why wasn't I invited???
      I love Zin......

      1. re: Brad
        Melanie Wong, America's Princess of Zin

        Let's stop talking about that wimpy foreigner and get into a red-blooded American!

        Dont' feel bad about not being invited, I got the call at 10:30am yesterday when someone noticed that I hadn't been invited either. As the reigning Princess of Zin, I carried out my official duties and played hooky yesterday for a 3-hour lunch in Napa with 120 Zinfandel producers and special guests. Was only able to try 36 wines, just too many people to navigate around to get to the bottles and the dump buckets.

        I think Zinfandel is a great choice for the Thanksgiving table and will try to type up some impressions before t-day.

        If you really love Zin, then you should join ZAP (link below). Even if you can't come to the tasting events, the membership is very reasonable and worth it for the t-shirt and newsletter alone. With annual renewal you continue to get member gifts - ZAP corkscrew, Zinfandel license plate holder, ZAP apron, etc.

        The premier event is the barrel tasting in January. With more than 200 wineries pouring barrel samples and a finished wine, plus different vineyard designates, you'll have the chance to try more than 500 Zinfandels.


        1. re: Melanie Wong, America's Princess of Zin

          All hail powerful Princess!
          Personally I detest B.N. - but an awesome marketing job they do...
          Back to Zin, ahhhh
          Unfortunately, I am in NYC, thus the lack of invitation to yesterday's Napa event. :-)
          Thanks for the link though.
          For anyone in NYC who also loves Zin, the Wine Workshop (run by Acker Merrall), has some Zin tastings. The last one was quite good (Martinelli Jackass won, of course). In fact, Larry Turley will be speaking/pouring his luscious wines on Nov. 27 at their next Zin tasting.

          1. re: Melanie Wong, America's Princess of Zin

            More power to ya, Melanie, because about the last thing I want to do is drink high alcohol, low acid, over-oaked wines. Yes, I am a Simpering Europhile (tm) when it comes to my wine palate and damn proud of it. IMO, the current state of Zinfandel in California is appalling. Yes, there are always exceptions, but making unbalanced wines where it feels like you've taken a 2x4 across your tongue is not good winemaking. Balance, balance, balance. It wasn't that long ago that Zin displayed this (think early 90s). Frankly, I'd like to take Larry Turley and Ehren Jordan (Turley's winemaker) and hit them upside the head. I went to a Ridge/Lytton Springs Zin vertical a few weeks ago. The vintages ranged from '83 to '93. The '85 (not a Ridge bottling), '90, and '91 were lovely. OTOH, the '93 was a typical new-style Zin: porty, raisiny fruit, low acid, very hot (alcoholic). The alcohol levels on the '90 and '91 were within a couple of 10ths of a percentage of the '93, but the acidity tempered the hotness.

            I went to the Family Winemakers tasting at Fort Mason on Tues and after 5 hours of getting my palate slaughtered by too much oak and alcohol, having bottles of '90 Cote Rotie, Michel Ogier and '89 Ch. La Nerthe (Ch. du Pape) at Greens was a Godsend.

            BTW, just as backround, I spent 5 years in wine retail from 1984-88 and have been tasting Calif. wines on a serious amateur/professional basis for 22 years. I long for a return to Calif Cabernet as it was made in the late 70s and Zin, pre-92.

            IMHO, FWIW, YMMV, yada, yada, yada... &*)

            1. re: Larry Stein
              Jason "Chardonnay and New Oak SUCKS!" Perlow

              "More power to ya, Melanie, because about the last thing I want to do is drink high alcohol, low acid, over-oaked wines."

              Whoa.. do you know Willie Gluckstern?

              Let me rephrase that.. ARE YOU Willie Gluckstern

              Willie (author of "The Wine Avenger" who is a serious Germanic wine freak, big outspoken critic of anything fermented in New Oak, and doesnt like california Zins either. Says the hot climate isnt good for the varietal.)

              If you guys really wanna learn something I really encourage you to go to this guys' tastings. Check out his web site linked below.

              Unrelated to Zin:Willie is doing a special Champagne taste-off in NYC on Dec 8. He already sold out his Dec 6 tasting. You get to try 36 different Champagnes, many of which you have probably never tried before and really outdo some of the major NM brands. I encourage you guys to go.

              Rachel and I went last year and it was a blast. Here are some of our findings:




              1. re: Jason "Chardonnay and New Oak SUCKS!" Perlow

                I like the Willie Gluckstern book. It's funny, it's easy to read, and it serves as a nice corrective to some popular ideas about wine.

                But, man, you've been plugging the guy endlessly: post after post about his book, his tastings, the store where he consults.

                In the thread you're linking to, I believe, you get called to task for parroting his party line practically verbatim without the knowledge to back up your second-hand opinions.

                Maybe it's time you went out and bought yourself a -second- book about wine.

                1. re: Steven Stern

                  So in other words, we should all find ourselves a second food web site by those same qualifications? Should we not plug chowhound at every opportunity whereever we go?

                  Willie in my opinion is the Jim Leff of wine critics. He is unusually talented and brutally honest -- and like Jim largely unrecognized.

                  1. re: Jason Perlow

                    You're welcome to plug chowhound and gluckstern as much as you'd like around the web, within the rules of each site. We happen to prohibit multiple plugs, because relentless multiple plugging by the same person looks spammy and commerical even if it's done with the best of intentions and serves to publicize the best of people/food/things. Give it another thought and I think you'll agree that this rule makes sense. And I hope you'll voluntarily respect it.

                    As for my being unrecognized...I don't crow about it much, but the site and I have been mentioned very kindly in pretty much all the national press this year, so I actually have no complaints whatsoever re: recognition.

                    Any further discussion of this should please be addressed to our Site Talk board.


                    1. re: Jim Leff
                      Jason "Shillmeister" Perlow


                      After 2 years of participation on this site I think you would realize by now the neither Rachel nor I are even close to being anyone's shill.

                      Also, if I had a dollar for every time you've mentioned Tibetan Yak, the Arepa lady or waxing about Bo's demise... or any number of places... well you get the picture.

                      1. re: Jason "Shillmeister" Perlow

                        " After 2 years of participation on this site I think you would realize by now the neither Rachel nor I are even close to being anyone's shill"

                        I've positively bent over backwards to show that I wasn't accusing you of this.

                        "Also, if I had a dollar for every time you've mentioned Tibetan Yak, the Arepa lady or waxing about Bo's demise... or any number of places... well you get the picture."

                        I'm allowed to do break any of my own rules that I want to. It's my site. Again, please respect our rules. Please refrain from continuing your repeated hyping of Gluckstern.

                        Any further objections/problems/criticisms should be addressed on Site Talk; the matter is closed as far as this board's concerned.


                        1. re: Jim Leff
                          Jason "Please sir, can I have another" Perlow

                          Hokey dokey boss. I shall not utter his name again.

                          Ah as to the remainder of your reply.. now this comes to mind... what was the famous quote from Orwell's Animal Farm?

                          "Some animals are are more equal than others..."

                          1. re: Jason "Please sir, can I have another" Perlow

                            Orwell's Animal Farm was at least nominally a cooperative. This is not a cooperative, nor does it claim to be. It is, however, a public service.

                2. re: Jason "Chardonnay and New Oak SUCKS!" Perlow


                  Nobody's accusing you of shilling, and I have a less harsh attitude about the whole thing than Steven's, but he's correct about one thing: the great proliferation of your mentions of Gluckstern. I just took a look and found that you and Rachel have linked to Gluckstern's website no less than seven times, and posted dozens of raving encouragements to check out his writings and events all over these boards.

                  We know you really like him and want to share info on stuff you really like, but repeated hyping is espressly prohibited by our message board rules, and it sets a really bad precedent. Can we make this your last Gluckstern enthusathon for the next year or so?


                  1. re: Jim Leff


                    Rachel and I really like the guy.

                    And like you, he's a person in his industry who's opinion is highly underappreciated and motivations not well understood. This I am sure you can relate to.

              2. re: Melanie Wong, America's Princess of Zin

                Rancho Zabacco makes a good inexpensive Zin.For more bucks Ridge is a very good producer.(i.e. Paso Robles)

                1. re: Melanie Wong, America's Princess of Zin
                  Alexandra Eisler

                  Thanks for the link!

                  I didn't see Sky on the list of producers-any idea what they are up to these days? Their late harvest zin is a thing of beauty...

                2. re: Brad

                  I'm far from a wine expert, so I usually enjoy B.N., especially as everyone has said w/ Thanksgiving dinner. I went to Cafe Noir (NYC) last night where they turned out to be having a big Beaujolais Nouveau promotion. My glass at least was remarkably flavorless. One of my dining companions was even more turned off and called it "salad dressing."

                  Bad bottle or bad year?

                  1. re: Elaine

                    Oh my goodness, I hope it was a bad bottle! (Sorry, Elaine). I just this minute got back from Shop and Save where I almost threw a hissie fit because no one had heard of Beaujolais Nouveau.[This is no indictment of Shop and Save or Maine; I had the same trouble in St. Louis every year]. I was trying to explain the whole tradition to the manager (he looked to be about 12 years old) when here comes the wine salesperson with a trolley full of boxes of the stuff! So I grabbed up some, feeling very smug. I do hope it's good. If I ever flip out it will be in the grocery store. pat

                    1. re: Elaine
                      WEINHEN (Andrew)

                      I'm guessing that it was an off bottle you had. Tasteless is one thing - salad dressing another (Blue cheese or vinaigrette?) Anyway, on the restricted basis of a one bottle sample (Duboeuf '00) I'd say that that the vintage is fairly typical - soft, simple and even a little chocolatey. Whether this presages a good Burgundy vintage is unclear since that area apparently got zonked with BIG rain in mid-September. I'm not sure when they pick the gamay grapes for nouveau.


                      1. re: WEINHEN (Andrew)

                        Gotta say that the deboef is probably no good and a lot of places are carrying it. Very respectable local wine shop (Shoppers in East Hanover, NJ) steered us the hell away from it and they had a ton of it in, all lined up in front. There was some Beringer BN too, but I didnt buy any. Call me biased but I just dont think california BN can be any good at all.

                        On a upbeat note just had some BN PAUL DURDILLY 2000, 12% that was very good. Clean finish, nice mouthfeel. Went great with some turkey breast we just had (yes, I know, starting early arent we.)