Beaujolais Nouveau Day is here once again, and I was fortunate enough to enjoy an early bottle, so I could blog about it on this very day. This year the 2014 Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais Nouveau is très fabuleux, once again.
It has delicious aromas of bright red fruit, like raspberries and strawberries. When I sipped it, I found an explosion of tart red raspberries that were very young. But the wine also has some lacy edges to it from young and wild tannins… bouncing around… that are going to help this wine age a bit more, for enjoyment throughout the year. Considering its youth, the promise of this year’s Beaujolais Nouveau will be mature enjoyment…
Beaujolais Nouveau Day is celebrated in France on the third Thursday in November with fireworks, music, and festivals. This is the first wine of the harvest, and it’s available nationwide one stroke after midnight on November 20. Nouveau will be uncorked at parties and celebrations across the U.S. (Suggested retail price is $9.99, a bargain of a price, really). And, I wish I could be in Paris, where it’s really happening today! Alas, I cannot, but I certainly did enjoy the wine as we approached the day set aside for Beaujolais celebrations worldwide.
WIKI: Beaujolais nouveau (French pronunciation: [bo.ʒɔ.lɛ nu.vo]) is a red wine made from Gamay grapes produced in the Beaujolais region of France. It is the most popular vin de primeur, fermented for just a few weeks before being released for sale on the third Thursday of November. This “Beaujolais Nouveau Day” used to see heavy marketing, with races to get the first bottles to different markets around the globe. The current release practice is to ship the wine ahead of the third Thursday of November, and release it to the local markets at 12:01 am local time.
From the Beaujolais Nouveau Day.com Website: Under French law, the wine is released at 12:01 a.m., just weeks after the wine’s grapes have been harvested. Parties are held throughout the country and further afield to celebrate the first wine of the season.
[Image is borrowed from the Duboeuf Website.]
Last year I had a conversation with Franck Duboeuf, son of Georges Duboeuf, who called from France. We talked about his immediate history, growing up with a father who was so ingrained and invested in the wine business. It’s important to note, for anyone new to the wine world, France’s history is pretty much carved in stone at this point. For Georges to have created something very “outside of the box” is almost unheard of, mostly unthinkable, and very daring… that kind of innovative nature shapes change, and the French wine industry is – as I noted – pretty much carved in stone. And yet, Georges Duboeuf went there in a delightfully positive way… with a big splash. He has that nature that I also embrace, which is to have fun with your wine.
“What if I create a wine release that’s going to be most phenomenal?
“It should be a red wine, soft and young… supple in body with a spirit of joie de vivre. A cheek with a pleasant, rosy glow greets you… You know you’ve arrived with the wine. . It needs to be one that owns its own day, forever and ever more. A celebration of the most festive kind…”
That’s a tall order, and Georges Duboeuf fulfilled the dream.
“The grapes are mostly hand harvested, still,” said Franck.
[Only the best will still do.]
There were 40,000 pickers during five or six weeks.
[What an interesting influx that must be to see in the vineyards. I see it all here, but what I see is radically, culturally different. It feels more romantic to me, because time moves more slowly there… Slowing down time seems to allow for charm to develop. It’s a French thing.]
While Franck’s father was raised on a small farm, where his family owned a few acres of Chardonnay vines, he grew up in an evolved business and growing up in a vineyard versus the small farm of his father’s youth.
[Imagine growing up in a vineyard… It’s s really a grape farm, for those from other neighborhoods, if you’re wanting to “get it.” All of the elements and sensitivities of nature are there for you. I can’t stop watching the movie “A Good Year.” The film has a very intriguing perspective, having been shot either in the early morning, or just at dusk, for the many interludes presented. It’s a great film, and that’s what I’d imagine for Franck and his sister Fabienne.]
“It was a wonderful childhood, walking, discovering, secrets in the vines. Helping with harvest, because that’s just what everyone does… But, not my favorite work,” he admitted, almost chucklingly to himself. His life evolved as his father’s vocation evolved into a négociant. No longer vinifying wine, the focus switched into checking samples every day during fermentation… tasting the future. It would be at this point that his father… realizing the potential for how the next vintage will taste, and how it should evolve based on foreknowledge, came up with his epiphany. “What if?”
Also, there was another side to that cleverness… the Laws of France… Make a law, government, and there will always be those who will take it right to the very edge… testing the balance between tame and wild, and then experiencing the dream. Georges Duboeuf took it to the limit, and Beaujolais Nouveau Day was born.
The process has winemakers worldwide curious, about the evolved methodology of wanting to perfect the most exquisite of Beaujolais Nouveau. According to Franck, “Each year a few winemakers travel to Beaujolais, France, to absorb what they can. The region has become extremely well experienced with the uniqueness of the Gamay grape and its processes. Beaujolais,” he continues, “Is a local tradition and the first wine we enjoy after hard work. The Gamay grape shows so beautifully just 25 days after harvest, which is why my father chose this grape variety.”
“Your wine is your image,” was his final thought.
If a picture is worth a thousand words, let these two items ignite your imagination, and perhaps your palate. Get in on the fun!