Is it the third Thursday of November already??? Now I have only been in this trade for 10 short years… Ten years? already? Oh boy. Anyways, I can only imagine how great Beaujolais Nouveau must have been in 70’s and 80’s. It must have been one of the greatest party scenes of all time, one that would have put the party in Animal House to shame. You know, the party with Otis Day and the Knights? I say this because people who were in the trade at that time love to talk about how great Beaujolais Nouveau release was back then and how much it has died down now. How consumers don’t get excited about it anymore. How the wine used to fly off the shelves.
Since I wasn’t old enough to drink in the 70’s, it is probably a good thing that I don’t have this frame of reference to dampen my excitement for current day reactions to the release of Beaujolais Nouveau. I don’t think many people are trying to make the argument that Beaujolais Nouveau is an uber serious wine that is meant to wow even the most sophisticated palates. I have never looked at Nouveau that way. I have always appreciated the release of Beaujolais Nouveau as the celebration it is meant to be. The celebration of the new vintage from France. It is representative of so much more than the grape juice in the bottle.
As in years past, we are happy to import two of the best Beaujolais Nouveau on the market – Albert Bichot and Antonin Rodet. Both of these are tremendous value for the money so be sure to look for a bottle to complement your Thanksgiving or Christmas feasts. I will close this post with a message about the harvest from our friends at Antonin Rodet:
“Dear Beaujolais Friends
The harvest took place in good conditions. With such a late picking time, it is the experience of our winemakers that allow them to make excellent “cuvees” of Beaujolais Nouveau in such a short time. In fact, from the moment when the grapes are cut until the consumer release date (the famous 3rd Thursday of November), there are hardly two months to vinify the wine. Fortunately the healthy quality of the harvest ( absence of rot, ideal ripening,…) greatly helped our efforts.
Vinification is an Art. By definition, it is simply the transformation of grapes into wine. But in reality, to succeed, there is a succession of stages to follow, which you could categories as 4 essential procedures.
1/ The maceration stage, during which the grapes are in tanks or cuvees. Here, the complete berries (skin, pulp, pips and stalk) are in contact with the juice. This procedure is for extracting color, structure and aromas.
2/ The alcoholic fermentation – the transformation of grape sugar into alcohol.
3/ The pressing which consists of extracting the juice – here we now call it “must” (grape juice undergoing fermentation) Once the fermentation is complete, we can then call it wine
4/ The final indispensable stage of a good vinification is the malo-lactic fermentation. This consists of transforming a high acidity into a soft acidity to bring a round suppleness to the wine.
During the vinification work, our team of oenologists taste the different “cuvees” of wine every day in order to decide what procedures are necessary according to the evolution of the wine. The different “terroirs”, the varying length of maceration time, the use of different vinification techniques allow them to appreciate the different styles of wine between each “cuvee” or blend.
In general terms, we notice this year a rapid coloring of the juice. Furthermore, the aromas are subtle and pleasing. Aromas bring to mind strawberries, raspberries and cherries. To summarise, the hard work of our technical team plus the quality of the grapes are sufficient to weigh in our favour ; we will have our Beaujolais Nouveau ready and on time with what appears an excellent vintage
Anne-Laure Hernette – Antonin Rodet Viniculturist”