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Le Beaujolais Nouveau 2013 is undrinkable and I just did the unthinkable....

John Talbott Dec 1, 2013 12:22 PM

Le Beaujolais Nouveau 2013 is undrinkable and I just did the unthinkable....
Let me explain.
Yesterday, at a really neat, moderately new and un-New York Times-annointed place, En Vrac, a sort of wine bar plus-bistro a vins-cave a manger, located in a most un-New York Times area (Metro: Marx Dormoy in the 18th), I had a very fine meal with my pal Tahoe Tech, during which he declared that his friends had reported that the Beaujolais Nouveau 2013 was undrinkable.
Never one to fink out of a challenge, I then bought two bottles, the first of which I opened tonight. And had one sip of. Yuck!
As my son in law has taught me to say - "You're right, I'm wrong, I'll never do it again," But, having poured the first bottle down the drain, what do I do with the second?
Leaving it on the street for our local bum seems unethical, throwing it away - uneconomical and returning it unpossible.
Randy Cohen, where are you now that we need you?
OK, nobody need write "what was I thinking about sipping such sh*t"

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  1. PhilD RE: John Talbott Dec 1, 2013 02:40 PM

    Was it a good natural one or one of the mass market commercial ones? I find that Nouveau is just the same as any wine i.e. they are not all equal. So saying "all" Nouveau is undrinkable is like saying all of this years Chablis is undrinkable. That said I have yet to try this years, my local natural wine, wine bar had imported some so I may try it later this week.

    1. g
      GH1618 RE: John Talbott Dec 1, 2013 04:04 PM

      The BN I tried at Café Claude in San Francisco was certainly drinkable. I don't remember the label but it wasn't the GdeB.

      1. Parnassien RE: John Talbott Dec 1, 2013 04:13 PM

        I'd set up a stand on the place du Tertre and sell it at 15€ a 2-cl glass... advertise it as Mimi's favourite wine... and like most of the other vendors/ "artists", pretend you are French.

        1. sunshine842 RE: John Talbott Dec 1, 2013 07:21 PM

          vin chaud -- sugar and spices cover a host of shortcomings.

          Maybe the US is finally learning -- I've yet to see even a single flyer or banner, nor even a single bottle of this year's Nouveau.

          Doesn't bode well for the rest of the harvest if the Nouveau is completely undrinkable, though...and with a late, wet spring, a stormy summer with hail, and an early autumn, I guess hoping for excellence is high hopes indeed.

          eta: we're keeping all of our winemaker friends across l'Hexagone in our thoughts -- I know it's been a tough year.

          5 Replies
          1. re: sunshine842
            John Talbott RE: sunshine842 Dec 2, 2013 01:58 AM

            "Maybe the US is finally learning -- I've yet to see even a single flyer or banner, nor even a single bottle of this year's Nouveau."
            I don't know about the US, but I haven't seen a banner or such in Paris either. I was just shopping at Franprix and said "Oh what the hell."

            1. re: sunshine842
              MrsPatmore RE: sunshine842 Dec 2, 2013 10:03 AM

              I'm in the US and saw the signs in the window last week at our local liquor store. I was in a hurry and didn't have time to stop. Now, I see that was fortuitous. Shame, though. I look forward to BN season each year.

              1. re: MrsPatmore
                John Talbott RE: MrsPatmore Dec 2, 2013 10:10 AM

                Don't hold your breath; I've always felt BN was a shuck but a shuck for the Japanese and Yankees, not me, but I cannot resist buying a bottle to see if it's strawberry, banana, plum or stink-bugs this year.

                1. re: John Talbott
                  sunshine842 RE: John Talbott Dec 2, 2013 04:34 PM

                  Not this Yankee..not even before I had the luck to live at the source.

              2. re: sunshine842
                tmso RE: sunshine842 Dec 3, 2013 02:13 AM

                I would also recommend vin chaud. Star anis, cloves, canelle, sugar, orange, and a shot of rhum or amaretto ... our neighbors to the east know how to make poor quality, light reds perfectly drinkable.

              3. w
                wally RE: John Talbott Dec 1, 2013 07:58 PM

                I had a glass of Foillard that wasn't truly disgusting. On the other hand a glass of a domestic (US) nouveau was pretty awful.

                7 Replies
                1. re: wally
                  PhilD RE: wally Dec 2, 2013 02:06 PM

                  Foillard is often one of the better ones, as I said up-thread not all Nouveau is equal, the bio and natural wine producers often take it seriously which is a distinct contrast to the mass-market producers. It must be a counter cultural thing, subverting a marking spin for cheap wine by producing something with more substance....although it's still meant to be fun and definitely not a wine with a long life.

                  Sounds like our usually erudite posters are drinking mass market wines and concluding it's tastes bad. Is this news?

                  1. re: PhilD
                    Parnassien RE: PhilD Dec 2, 2013 04:41 PM

                    Indeed not all Beaujolais are equal. I would even argue that the Beaujolais from the northern sub-appellations like Morgon (which includes Foillard)) and Juliénas are almost a different species than the light, highly manipulated wines from the southern domaines where the vast majority (if not all) of BN comes from. The gamay grapes and the poor soil of the Bas Beaujolais create a product that can only qualify as drinkable after the grapes have been suffocated with carbon dioxide during winemaking. Here, I doubt if natural or bio wines are even possible. In the north, conditions are much better and can support natural winemaking. But the production from the north, although geographically categorized as Beaujolais, has very little in common with the Beaujolais Nouveau aka vin de merde from the Beaujolais' southern domaines.

                    1. re: Parnassien
                      sunshine842 RE: Parnassien Dec 2, 2013 04:56 PM

                      "vin de merde"

                      *chokes on coffee*

                      1. re: sunshine842
                        Parnassien RE: sunshine842 Dec 2, 2013 05:08 PM

                        Thanks to a series of scandals a decade or so ago and a very famous court case, vin de merde is now a very popular name for BN.

                        BTW, I think I read somewhere that sales of BN in France has halved in the last 12 years... but consumption of vin de merde abroad continues to rise.

                        1. re: Parnassien
                          sunshine842 RE: Parnassien Dec 2, 2013 06:07 PM

                          that's why I was pretty surprised to see ZERO notice of it here in Florida.

                          Used to be a big hairy deal - the wine shops all had a party, there were specials in the stores...

                          This year? Zip.

                          Don't get me wrong - I've been known to drink it with friends - woo, look at us, drinking the Nouveau! -- but it's never been on the list of "good wine"

                        2. re: sunshine842
                          wally RE: sunshine842 Dec 2, 2013 05:39 PM

                          thank you as i choke on my tea!

                        3. re: Parnassien
                          PhilD RE: Parnassien Dec 3, 2013 04:20 AM

                          Totally agree, and that's the point I was trying to make. Nouveau is similar to Beujolais in its quality. Get a mature wine from one of the 10 crus-de-Beujolais regions and it will be a far superior and a better bet than a Beujolais Villages or a simple Beujolais. Get a Nouveau from the Beujolais Villages and it will be better than the basic Beujolais, even better if you can get it from a Cru producer.

                          I love Côte du Py as it is a very quaffable wine, I also used to love propping up a barrel outside Le Rubis and slowly working my way through his selection - it was just around the corner from our apartment in rue st Honore and was a great first stop before a Friday night on the town.

                    2. Rio Yeti RE: John Talbott Dec 2, 2013 04:17 AM

                      Same here... tasted a bottle... I mean one glass of a bottle, and it was really bad.

                      You can do a vin chaud as sunshine suggested, or also a sangria.
                      Marinating fruits and juices will (hopefully) round the edges of the wine, and add some depth.

                      1. Parigi RE: John Talbott Dec 2, 2013 04:28 AM

                        Which is worse, JT ?
                        This, or the Fucksarkozy wine that we all financed ?

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: Parigi
                          Ptipois RE: Parigi Dec 2, 2013 08:16 AM

                          That one was pretty bad, but at least there was a funny story behind it.

                          1. re: Parigi
                            John Talbott RE: Parigi Dec 2, 2013 09:53 AM

                            "Which is worse, JT ?
                            This, or the Fucksarkozy wine that we all financed ?"
                            You would have to bring that up just when I had successfully suppressed it.
                            Actually, both rank slightly ahead of the one bottle of Montmartre wine I foolishly bought at the vendage many years ago, figuring that since I now lived here, I should patronize our local vineyard.

                            1. re: John Talbott
                              Parigi RE: John Talbott Dec 3, 2013 04:34 AM

                              Indeed the Fucksarkozy wine was a good laugh. And any wine that we laugh over is half way there.
                              The hopeless Culé that I am, I also had an un unpardonable moment of weakness in Barcelona and bought a bottle of red from the vineyard of FC Barcelona star player Andres Iniesta. I love him to bits and must advise him to stick to football (soccer) (and stick to Barça).

                              1. re: Parigi
                                mangeur RE: Parigi Dec 3, 2013 06:00 AM

                                I believe in Léon de Bruxelles and Père Noël.

                          2. mangeur RE: John Talbott Dec 2, 2013 08:01 AM

                            Isn't BN just a commercial outgrowth of the village "first tasting" fête? A convivial celebration of hope for the new vintage year?

                            Kind of like the food expectations of dinner at your charming and well-meaning but inept sister-in-law's.

                            Some years worth drinking but never serious wine. i remember a good bottle bought serendipitously at Fermier St. Hubert on the rec of the cheesemonger but I don't know that I've ever ordered it in a restaurant.

                            22 Replies
                            1. re: mangeur
                              Ptipois RE: mangeur Dec 2, 2013 08:15 AM

                              Absolutely. Drinking "vin bourru" or barely fermented new wine outside of its place of production is merely an urban outgrowth of a village tradition. Even when it's good, it's pointless.

                              1. re: mangeur
                                John Talbott RE: mangeur Dec 2, 2013 09:55 AM

                                "Isn't BN just a commercial outgrowth of the village "first tasting" fête?"
                                One local store on my street, theKing of Sausages, has the cheek to advertise "Choucroute nouveau" around now. I'm not dumb enough to have a blind tasting but it did occur to me.

                                1. re: John Talbott
                                  sunshine842 RE: John Talbott Dec 2, 2013 04:35 PM

                                  oh, dear gods.

                                  Choucroute nouveau?

                                  He's related to P.T. Barnum, right?

                                  1. re: John Talbott
                                    lagatta RE: John Talbott Dec 5, 2013 03:43 PM

                                    Are you sure about the grammar there? Choucroute is feminine.

                                    1. re: lagatta
                                      Ptipois RE: lagatta Dec 5, 2013 03:45 PM

                                      My first impulse was to suggest exactly the same correction, but then I thought that the charcutier intended it as a joke, keeping the masculine form of the term as a hint to the ubiquitous plonk.

                                      1. re: Ptipois
                                        lagatta RE: Ptipois Dec 5, 2013 04:00 PM

                                        Could be. It would also bring him in custom, with the hordes of grammar nerds drifting in to correct his errant signage.

                                        1. re: lagatta
                                          John Talbott RE: lagatta Dec 6, 2013 01:18 AM

                                          "the charcutier intended it as a joke"
                                          I hesitate to suggest there might be a class/education issue here, France being an egalitarian society, but I suspect the owner did not do well on his bac.

                                          1. re: John Talbott
                                            Ptipois RE: John Talbott Dec 6, 2013 01:55 AM

                                            Gee, what an expat thing to say, John. If a charcutier does not know that choucroute is a feminine term, then there's a big problem, not of class or education.

                                            Everybody trust a French native on that since visibly there's a subtle subtlety there that not every polyglot can grasp.

                                            "Choucroute nouvelle" wouldn't make it as a joke. Absolutely not. It would only be understood as "newly-made choucroute". Not as an ironic parallel to beaujolais nouveau. "Choucroute nouveau" is a bit nonsensical but everybody (French, including the "grammar nerds") understands that it's an irreverencious hint at the Purple November Flood.

                                            1. re: Ptipois
                                              Parnassien RE: Ptipois Dec 6, 2013 02:29 AM

                                              Totally agree. Choucroute nouvelle is a "so-what?" as an ad headline. Choucroute nouveau is playful and immediately understood as such.

                                              1. re: Ptipois
                                                sunshine842 RE: Ptipois Dec 6, 2013 03:57 AM

                                                because the recent PISA surveys show that modern-day French education is sooooo superior to the rest of the world, and improving every year


                                                I don't believe that illiteracy is the case here, but it exists, more than anyone cares to admit.

                                                1. re: sunshine842
                                                  tmso RE: sunshine842 Dec 6, 2013 04:30 AM

                                                  Nothing to do with illiteracy. This is simply not a mistake a native speaker would make; we're not talking about the subjunctive here.

                                                  1. re: tmso
                                                    John Talbott RE: tmso Dec 6, 2013 06:43 AM

                                                    "a native speaker"
                                                    While the shop says it features Italian products, I'm not sure that's the origin of the mistake or hubris.
                                                    In any case, the sign is gone (the shop must read CH).

                                                    1. re: John Talbott
                                                      Parnassien RE: John Talbott Dec 6, 2013 10:21 AM

                                                      The sign is gone probably because the bojo nouveau celebration is over. Anyway, the choucroute guy should be congratulated for being so clever.

                                                      1. re: Parnassien
                                                        Ptipois RE: Parnassien Dec 6, 2013 10:34 AM

                                                        I agree heartily.

                                                    2. re: tmso
                                                      sunshine842 RE: tmso Dec 6, 2013 05:55 PM

                                                      the comment about PISA was in reference to the "what an expat thing to say" -- giving the impression that someone out there actually believes that a grammatical error couldn't possibly have been committed in France.

                                                      You're right -- it had nothing to do with the joke. It wasn't intended to.

                                                      1. re: sunshine842
                                                        Parigi RE: sunshine842 Dec 8, 2013 01:44 AM

                                                        "someone out there actually believes that a grammatical error couldn't possibly have been committed in France."
                                                        I understood "what an expat thing to say" to mean that the joke was easily understood by all French, not that the latter had superior grammar.
                                                        Actually this expat got the joke, but that's because she's been an expat since the Carolingian dynasty.

                                                        1. re: Parigi
                                                          Ptipois RE: Parigi Dec 8, 2013 02:12 AM

                                                          Exactly. It was so obvious that I hadn't even realized that I was the one getting the poke. It also meant that believing that a Parisian charcutier selling choucroute wouldn't know the gender of the term was some kind of Borat-like misjudgement.

                                                          Of course plenty of people here make grammar mistakes but that wasn't one. There's the vrai and the vraisemblable, as we say here.

                                                    3. re: sunshine842
                                                      Ptipois RE: sunshine842 Dec 6, 2013 10:36 AM

                                                      I fail to see any connection between the PISA surveys and the charcuterie joke.

                                                      1. re: Ptipois
                                                        John Talbott RE: Ptipois Dec 6, 2013 10:46 AM

                                                        Please, every country that ranked under Finland or Singapore is wringing its collective hands.
                                                        But Pti is correct, the OECD's report had nothing to do with food, except to get back OT, my Number 1 eating site for 2013 is but steps away from the OECD - Hugo Desnoyer.

                                        2. re: mangeur
                                          Parnassien RE: mangeur Dec 2, 2013 11:54 AM

                                          Whoever formulated the BN gimmick back in the '70s deserves an award. Maybe it should be a case study in business schools of how to elevate one plonk (out of many equivalent plonks from Morocco, Spain and the New World) into a desirable brand.

                                          Of course these marketing gimmicks need suckers to succeed. Not that I'm suggesting for a second that Talbott le Vénérable and other Chowhounders are gullible. (wink)

                                          1. re: Parnassien
                                            John Talbott RE: Parnassien Dec 2, 2013 01:05 PM

                                            "Of course these marketing gimmicks need suckers to succeed. Not that I'm suggesting for a second that Talbott le Vénérable"
                                            Guilty as charged. That's me, PT Barnum's sucker.
                                            And confession time - because I pride myself on reporting on food and restaurants' follies and foibles, even tho' politically incorrect, my second bottle tonite of BN was a Georges (grab your chair) Duboeuf, just to see what my wife might be tempted to try in the old country - 5.99 e at Franprix - drinkable, not good, but not tmrw's Molotov cocktail either.
                                            No hint of fruits or vegetables. a whiff of dusty rug perhaps.

                                            1. re: Parnassien
                                              Rio Yeti RE: Parnassien Dec 2, 2013 01:13 PM

                                              For my defense I will say that my father committed the crime by buying the bottle... I was just an accomplice drinker.

                                              I'm not sure if it would pass in front of a judge, but I'd rather have everything cleared out on (virtual) paper !

                                          2. r
                                            redips RE: John Talbott Dec 2, 2013 10:15 AM

                                            Curious... what made it undrinkable? Beaujolais is proclaiming the best vintage in a decade. I haven't tried it yet because I am not particularly fond of the CM style, but would be interested to know.

                                            When it doubt, cook it out.

                                            10 Replies
                                            1. re: redips
                                              John Talbott RE: redips Dec 2, 2013 10:35 AM

                                              Look, I'm not a wine guy despite my heritage, name and DNA.
                                              For me wine is an alcohol delivery vehicle. As my friends here know all too well, if I can get by with the cheapest bottle on the menu or in my Franprix, I'm in heaven.
                                              My wonderful wife for 52 years has wrinkled her nose and said "detritus on the tongue." For 52 years I've said "What does that mean?" We're still together.
                                              But to your query "what made it undrinkable?"
                                              Boy, like pornography and art, I know it when I see it but I cannot explain it.
                                              I opened the bottle, sniffed the cork in case my neighbor across the alley was watching, poured a glass, sat down a table, had a sip and thought maybe somebody was trying to kill me. It was rough, tasted of grapes that had been pressed with scat of some kind (now, how would I know that?), and reminded me of wine in Viet Nam that had sat out on palettes in 130 degree F for a week in Hải Phòng.
                                              Sorry redips, I don't mean to be unresponsive, but despite being the exemplar of a Garrison Keillor English major, I do not have words to express my confrontation with this glass.

                                              On my Facebook page, I've gotten more comments than ever on what to do with the other bottle. Shows you how much people are working these days, eh?
                                              So, it's everything from "Some third world problem John" to cooking some huge piece of beef in it - to which I reply "but Sir that's a waste of good beef."

                                              1. re: John Talbott
                                                redips RE: John Talbott Dec 5, 2013 10:59 AM

                                                I suppose that wine judgement is best in its purest form... like/dislike. I can certainly appreciate that.

                                                The industry would agree that the perception that wine needs deep analysis is among the greatest barriers to increasing their share of throat.

                                                1. re: redips
                                                  Parigi RE: redips Dec 5, 2013 11:41 AM

                                                  I beg to differ.
                                                  If you like/dislike something, I want to know why.
                                                  Deep analysis is another extreme.
                                                  Many oenophiles - including several active hounds on this board - are knowledgeable enough to describe a wine to me, in the most understandable and concrete terms, that gives me a good concept of the wine and, most importantly, enables me ti imagine accurately how it would or would not go with a dish.

                                                  1. re: Parigi
                                                    John Talbott RE: Parigi Dec 5, 2013 11:58 AM

                                                    Is this addressed to redips or John Talbott?
                                                    If John Talbott, let's try a bottle together tmrw.

                                                    1. re: John Talbott
                                                      Parigi RE: John Talbott Dec 5, 2013 01:29 PM

                                                      It was addressed to redips.
                                                      I drink too little, and would therefore like to stick to good wines.
                                                      Sorriest for my logique petit-bourgeoise. :)

                                                    2. re: Parigi
                                                      Rio Yeti RE: Parigi Dec 5, 2013 03:09 PM

                                                      I totally agree with Parigi. If things were as simple as "like/dislike" and "taste and color can't be discussed" and "to each their own" and "everybody's entitled to their opinion" etc... then why come to this board, why read blogs, websites, magazines, critics...?

                                                      An educated opinion is more interesting than an uneducated one. However, I also agree that not all educated opinions have the tools and ease of language necessary to share this opinion to non-educated people.

                                                      Am I making any sense ? It's late, and my non-educated wine palate has been sipping too many glasses of Bourgueil...

                                                      1. re: Rio Yeti
                                                        mangeur RE: Rio Yeti Dec 5, 2013 03:12 PM

                                                        Maybe to paraphrase you and include my DH's mantra, often the more advanced the understanding in a field the more difficult to convey to a layman. i.e., never get the top engineer to write the use manual.

                                                    3. re: redips
                                                      sunshine842 RE: redips Dec 5, 2013 04:03 PM

                                                      While discussing bouquet and nose and legs and body (yes, we're still talking about wine....) is great fun...

                                                      I agree with you that a tragic number of people don't drink wine because they think they have to analyse it, rather than simply enjoy.

                                                      1. re: sunshine842
                                                        ChefJune RE: sunshine842 Dec 6, 2013 01:16 PM

                                                        ...and another tragic number don't drink wine because they try to drink it like soda or whisky. and it doesn't taste good guzzled.

                                                        1. re: ChefJune
                                                          sunshine842 RE: ChefJune Dec 6, 2013 05:52 PM

                                                          or *mixed* like soda AND whiskey/whisky. Blerg.

                                                2. Seeker19104 RE: John Talbott Dec 2, 2013 12:04 PM

                                                  What we have readily available in Philadelphia is a very drinkable, light red wine with notes of cherry. Far superior to the 2012 beaujolais nouveau which I found flat and uninteresting.


                                                  Of course, matters of taste are not matters of dispute :)

                                                  1. ChefJune RE: John Talbott Dec 2, 2013 02:19 PM

                                                    I haven't had any BN this year, and am not looking for any. It's always pretty much a light, fruity quaff, not to be taken seriously (by anyone except the marketers). Years past, I've been to parties on the release day. The usual suspects held them this year, but I didn't bother... Some Americans like to serve it for Thanksgiving. It's at best innocuous, and at worst, well, John said it pretty well. :)

                                                    1. melpy RE: John Talbott Dec 3, 2013 03:21 AM

                                                      Had BN and BNV. The BN was just ok. Bought two bottles have one left. The BNV I thought to be especially good if a little fruity. My dad bought a case and it will be the wine he serves all holiday season.

                                                      3 Replies
                                                      1. re: melpy
                                                        vielleanglaise RE: melpy Dec 3, 2013 03:39 PM

                                                        I think the OP should broaden his tasting selection.

                                                        I met an American this morning. He was stupid. Does that mean all Americans are stupid?

                                                        1. re: vielleanglaise
                                                          allende RE: vielleanglaise Dec 3, 2013 07:08 PM

                                                          You got it exactly right.

                                                          1. re: vielleanglaise
                                                            Ptipois RE: vielleanglaise Dec 4, 2013 07:18 AM

                                                            There are far many more intelligent Americans than good bottles of Beaujolais Nouveau. I think most of us will agree on that.

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