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Beaujolais Nouveau 2006!

  • h

$9.99 a bottle this year! - I thouroghly enjoyed my first bottle though........

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  1. Not to be a snob but isn't Beaujolais Nouveau primarily a way to simply celebrate the new harvest and not really a product that stands on it's own to be appreciated. I've noticed that it's getting a lot of attention "as wine" these days which puzzles me. If I'm wrong please correct me.

    1. I was surprised that in San Francisco I didn't hear of a single event last night, except a sort of anti-nouveau protest flight of B. villages at one wine bar.

      I went to my neighborhood wine bar and they were pouring one, but weren't making any speical deal about it.

      Hate the stuff myself. Banana-flavored headache juice.

      1. It's really just a fun wine, drinkable in the moment!!

        1. second on "not being a snob", but it was a gimmick to unload extra juice, and has turned out to be a burden for serious producers in the region. too many americans think it all tastes sweet and thin.

          1. C'mon! It is a fun excuse to celebrate. Plus this "gimmick" has been around officially for over 50 years, and unoffically much longer. Just purchased 2 cases myself - big party tonight!

            1. Peg & Maggie - Exactly! Just really starting to get into wine myself. Recently hostd on a local food related radio show were discussing '2 buck chuck'. One host was being 'the snob' while the other stated that 'if it gets a person into drinking wine, how can that be bad?' I agree - have a great party!

              1. If you don't drink at least one bottle of BN this fall, you're missing out on a wine ritual! Plus, its the only chance you have to taste young wine (unless you're a wine writer who goes to Bordeaux barrel tastings regularly).

                1. Have not tried the '06 yet. Probably will pick up a few samples to go as "welcome wine" fot Thanksgiving. It is usually a fun, little "picnic" wine.

                  Some years back, a local retailer had a Nouveau tasting. Of the group, I commented, that the domestic (California Gamay) was the leader of the group of "usual suspects." A lady, attending this event interjected, "oh my word, at my home, we would NEVER think of drinking a California Nouveau!" This is not a wine to wax poetic about. It is a slammer and should be served slightly chilled, enjoyed young, and then forgotten for another year.

                  I've held on to a few bottles for some time, and served them against some Beaujolais Villages to some 1er cru Morgon and others. I was actually surprised at how well a few had held up, though it was no contest with the better BJ's. Once the flower of youth has passed, there just is not a good reason to consume them. Even the ones with some life, paled beside their big brothers - or cousins.


                  1. I generally enjoy the Nouveau when it gets released, a fruity, easy-drinking wine. This year, I tried a bottle of the 2006 Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais Nouveau but was not pleased with it. This is usually the Nouveau I prefer to drink. But this year, though it had a nice fruity aroma and good fruit on the front palate the finish was a bit flat and bitter. Anyone else tried this one?


                    1 Reply
                    1. re: RichardA

                      I actually just had some BN last night in our wine class and there was a DuBoeuf there, along with three BN that the instructor had just brought back from France. The Dubouef was super fruity and thin, the French BN were a lot more tannic and full on the palate. The Dubouef was definitely made in the 'US' style for BN, as the French varieties were a bit more unusual.

                    2. Went to a Beaujolais relase party/potluck last night, and there were three varieties; the DuBoeuf was my least favorite, but I thought they were all a little better than the norm. It was a good year for the nouveau, I think.

                      I guess I shouldn't be surprised to hear people turning up their noses at these. Oddly, we brought a bottle of a rhone blend that we quite enjoy, and the French at the potluck shuddered to taste it, and put it aside to 'hopefully open up.' True, next to the nouveau and the excellent rose we tried, it was heavy and rough and cloying, and I was embarrased for my gaffe.

                      It was nice to have a potluck and decimate a case or two of wine and still have a clear head and not have the fog and sour belly that huge alcoholic fruitbombs bring on. I quite enjoyed the tradition, I think I'll start keeping an eye out every fall for the new release.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: themis

                        "the DuBoeuf was my least favorite"

                        Not a surprise -- it usually is. Amazing what flowers will do . . .

                        Duboeuf does have in fact some wonderful bottlings, but they tend to be restricted to the various bottlings of estate Crus de Beaujolais.

                        1. re: zin1953

                          >>Not a surprise -- it usually is. Amazing what flowers will do...<<

                          Animals are the new flowers.

                      2. OK, you got me started. Picked up a random sampling of N-BJ and started with the Duboeuf '06. A little too cool, so we cupped the glasses for a bit. Big strawberry on the nose. Color more like a Villages, than a Nouveau. I grabbed my leather-bound copy of R Parker, Jr's "The Great Vintages of Beaujolais Nouveau," but all the pages were blank! One thing that I noticed was that this was the first Nouveau that I have encountered with a synthetic cork - a "corque?" I have not had a Nouveau over the last few vintages, so I may well have missed this change. Since the wine is not made to age, I wonder who might be using Stelvin, or similar.

                        Still strawberry on the nose, with just a hint of plastic - styrene? I doubt that this is from the corque. I'm a bit surprised at the tannins. Not noticeable at first, but after a few moments, the tongue does grate on the upper palate a bit.

                        It’s finally warming up a little. The density does not belie the light flavors. Just a hint of white pepper on the retro-nasal, but nothing else, except the strawberry. I’ll give it some more hand-warmth and see if something develops.

                        Well, I have now written more words about a Nouveau, than ever before. Even with a bit of time in the glass, the strawberry is about all that comes through. I’d call this a typical, simple N-BJ. It would probably go well as a welcome wine, and might do the trick with turkey later in the week, but I’ll settle for a bottle of PN, followed by a Biale Black Chicken Zin with the actual meal, for my red wine choices.

                        I’d give this one a C+ to B rating, but what should we expect from a N–BJ?


                        13 Replies
                          1. re: Robert Lauriston

                            No, I found none of the normal "banana," in this one - just the strawberry. I still have three more to try though.


                            1. re: Bill Hunt

                              The "banana" character comes from a particular yeast strain that Duboeuf USED to use. To the best of my knowledge, they stopped.

                          2. re: Bill Hunt

                            What I tried was DuBoeuf Beajolais-VILLAGES Nouveau. This does not come in the flower-motif bottle that I've seen pictured as Beaujolais Nouveau. It's my understanding that 'villages' is a separate area, so I'd assume what I had is a different wine. It was not what I'd call 'serious', but rather a very fruity, pleasant 'punch-style' wine, with almost no finish. Fun, but not somethimng to cherish, except for the commeraderie of the event. Is there a difference between Beaujolais and Beaujolais-Villages?.

                            1. re: Midlife

                              The grapes in Beaujolais-Villages comes from the better parts of the Beaujolais area.

                              1. re: Midlife

                                >>Is there a difference between Beaujolais and Beaujolais-Villages?<<
                                Beaujolais is the region's most inclusive, least exigent appellation. While it can be made anywhere in the Beaujolais region, most of it comes from the southern half, where the terrain is flat, the soil rich and the yields high. Minimum alcoholic strength is 9%.

                                The Beaujolais-Villages appellation is located in the northern half of the broader Beaujolais appellation, and within it are the ten *cru* appellations (Morgon, Juliénas, Moulin-à-Vent, etc.). The terrain is hillier, the soil lighter. The wine is required to be slightly stronger than plain Beaujolais (10% abv) and expected to be a little finer overall.

                                1. re: carswell

                                  I guess I didn't phrase the question properly. Can I assume, then, that Villages NOUVEAU exhibits the same, better characteristics seen in 'regular' Beaujolais-Villages? Or is there an aspect of this that is escaping me? Nouveau gets some fairly harsh criticism as not 'real' wine, so I wondered if it was worth distinguishing between BN and BVN. Thanks.

                                  1. re: Midlife

                                    DuBoeuf's Villages nouveau would almost certainly be might be better than their regular nouveau, but it would not necessarily be better than a non-Village nouveau from another house.

                                    Given the prices, I don't see the point in drinking nouveau except maybe on the ritual Thursday. K&L has Louis Tete regular Villages for $10, cheaper than their cheapest nouveau, and it tastes a lot better than any nouveau I've ever had.

                                    1. re: Midlife

                                      The French system of appellation d'origine controlee regulates a myriad of factors. Between Beaujolais and Beaujolais-Villages, many things are regulated, but one important factor is location: the appellation of Beaujolais-Villages contains "better" vineyard sites than are found in "straight" Beaujolais. This remains true regardless of whether one is talking about "regular" wines or "Nouveau."

                                      99.99% of the time the Beaujolais-Villages (regular or Nouveau) from a specific producer or negociant will be better than that same producer's/negociant's Beaujolais (regular or Nouveau). But, as Robert said, it doesn't mean that you might not prefer Jean-Marie's Beaujolais to Jean-Paul's Beaujolais-Villages.

                                      Then, of course, there are the Crus de Beaujolais. These are the best sites within the region, and the production of Nouveau-tpe wines here is prohibited.


                                      1. re: zin1953

                                        >>Then, of course, there are the Crus de Beaujolais [...] the production of Nouveau-tpe wines here is prohibited.<<

                                        Not true, unless the regulations have changed recently. Nouveau-type cru Beaujolais can be and is made but carries the moniker *en primeur* instead of *nouveau* and can't be released until December 15. Very popular at Christmas.

                                        1. re: carswell

                                          "Another extremely important sort of Beaujolais is that sold as Nouveau, which may carry the appellation Beaujolais, Beaujolais Superieur, or Beaujolais-Villages." --The Oxford Companion to Wine, 2nd Edition, Edited by Jancis Robinson, (c) 1999, pp 73-74.

                                          * * * * *

                                          From www.beaujolais.net

                                          > Beaujolais nouveaux Fact sheet

                                          Surface area (on 30/11/01) : 16 000ha shared between two appellations, Beaujolais, which produces 2/3 of the global volume of Beaujolais Nouveau and Beaujolais-Villages, which produces the remaining 1/3.

                                          Production (in 2001) : 450 000 hl (2000 figures) or 60 million bottles. Beaujolais Nouveau represents 1/3 of the vinegrowing area's total production.

                                          Yield per hectare : it depends on the AOC, which is either Beaujolais or Beaujolais-Villages. The volume released on to the market are controlled and vary from year to year.

                                          * * * * *

                                          More sources available for citation upon request.

                                          1. re: zin1953

                                            All very factual and very beside the point.

                                            Had you written "these are the best sites within the region, and the production of nouveau wines here is prohibited," I wouldn't have replied because, as your quotes confirm, the statement is perfectly true. But what you wrote -- "the production of Nouveau-t[y]pe wines here is prohibited" -- is not. See, for example, page 130 of the 2003 edition of *Hugh Johnson's Wine Companion*:

                                            "*Cru* Beaujolais can be offered *en primeur*, but not until a month after Beaujolais and Beaujolais-Villages, from the fifteenth of December. It would be a pity to prevent it being poured for Christmas. The best *crus* are never treated in this way; they are kept in barrel or vat at least until the March after the vintage."

                                            What does *en primeur* mean in this context? From the primeur entry in *The Oxford Companion to Wine* (page 760 of the first edition; am waiting till Boxing Day to pick up the third):

                                            "French word for young produce which has been adapted to mean young wine. The world's nouveau wines may be known as primeurs, especially in France..."

                                            Though it's not often seen on this side of the pond, nouveau-type cru Beaujolais can be and is made. However, it cannot be labelled *nouveau* or released before December 15 of the year of the vintage (which, if I'm not mistaken, used to be the release date for all nouveau-type Beaujolais, cru or non-cru).

                                            1. re: carswell

                                              And there but for a tpe-o go I. I didn't know that. Thanks for the info!

                              2. I love Beaujolais. I don't like Beaujolais Nouveau. The eleven Crus de Beaujolais can be among the world's great wines, yet they often suffer from the Rodney Dangerfield-effect because of their association with Nouveau. Even Beaujolais-Villages can be (and often is) a delicious and delightful (and affordable) red wine. But Beaujolais Nouveau . . . isn't.

                                Ritual? OK. Yes. But -- well, I've never found it expressed better than by the late Alexis Lichine:

                                “In recent years something of a fad has developed in the United States and other countries abroad for drinking the very young wine, Beaujolais nouveau. Though touted as wine just as the Parisian and Burgundians are drinking around the end of the vintage, Beaujolais nouveau as it is exported is far from that. To prepare the wine for bottling – for it is shipped in bottles, not casks – it must be racked and re-racked both to remove the sediment that would normally have time to settle out naturally and to prevent malolactic fermentation. In the process of this premature preparation, the very heart of the wine is poured away.” Alexis Lichine’s New Encyclopedia of Wines & Spirits, Fifth Edition, © 187, page 104.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: zin1953

                                  Yup, that pretty much sums up my feelings on this topic. Thanks

                                2. Here's one I'm in no hurry to try: Charles "Two-Buck Chuck" Shaw gamay beaujolais (valdiguie) nouveau, $2 at Trader Joe's.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                    You know, one year I bought the Chuck gamay beaujolais and it actually was the best of that line. So being in Trader Joe today I picked up the most recent version. It is actually a nice red table wine. At first I was a little appalled and it made me chuckle a bit. The color is, how do I put this, very bright. It is a very light wine that reminded me of a lot of inexpensive Portuguese reds ... no star but nice with dinner.

                                    There's no greatness here, but it is a pleasant little wine. It was a lot better than the sour, tannic undrinkable $12 bottle of Domaine Dupeulle Beaujolais Nouveau imported by Kermit Lynch. There is finally a worse BN than DuBoeuf, which can be consistantly relied on to be awful ... and yes, I know that the TJ stuff is not the same as BN.

                                  2. The opening of the BN is a marketing ritual paired with the nice feelings we all get when Thanksgiving is only a week away. I was in Paris this year on the third Thursday in November. Most of the brasseries and bars I saw were all decorated with streamers, banners, and hay strewn about the floor (evoking just-opened wooden crates?). In some places, the servers were wearing red-blue-white streamers and had straw hats.

                                    But few patrons seemed to be drinking it, as far as I could tell. I was told that there are only a couple wine producers who make the stuff, owing to large companies buying up most of the small vineyards.

                                    Also, because of overproduction this year, I hear that much of the leftover BN (it really doesn't age well) is going to be re-processed into other products.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: MartinDC

                                      Yes the overproduction is going to be used in cleaning products, shows how good that nouveau can be.