It used to be a big deal. But these days, the arrival of Beaujolais Nouveau passes as a great ho-hum. But not for me. I love the stuff.
This morning, November 19, I called a local wine shop where Kermit Lynch’s Beaujolais Nouveau would go on sale that day. And no, they were not planning on pouring it even though they were having a tasting of wines for Thanksgiving that evening. Crazy. What better wine could there be?!
But they said they would open a bottle and have it behind the bar if I came in. I did. I tasted. I bought. Ripe berries, lavender, a sort of wildness in the taste (Ann Noble, my friend and creator of the Wine Aroma Wheel would kill me for that descriptor.), and good, fresh acidity. Moderate alcohol, 12.5%. Hallelujah!
It goes down in a gulp. Thoughtless, pleasant, requiring another taste. Whoops, gulp. Good grief, the glassful is gone! That’s what happens with good Beaujolais Nouveau. It’s a hedonistic, enthusiastic, careless wine.
Made by a special fermentation technique that results in a characteristic fresh grapiness, Beaujolais Nouveau is the first wine commercially available from each year’s harvest. And it doesn’t last; come January 1, it’s history. And soon after, regular beaujolais will hit the stores.
I’m not a member of the “it’s-a-holiday-so-break-out-the-best-bottles” school. No. There is too much food all at once at Thanksgiving. All those flavors on your plate together. All of them scrumptious, perhaps, but what wine could possibly complement cranberries, ginger, marshmallows, sweet potatoes, cornbread, sage, oysters, ham, watermelon rind pickles, apple chutney, oh yes, and turkey, and gravy, and, and, and.
Instead, I prefer a wine happy to be what it is and no more. And one that comes and goes just as fast as the holiday season.