BEAUJOLAIS NOUVEAU EST ARRIVÉE

vector-clipart-of-a-black-and-white-retro-waiter-carrying-wine-and-glasses-on-a-tray-by-bestvector-5326It’s that time of the year when wine shop blackboards announce that the new season’s Beaujolais has arrived.  About the same time supermarkets, like Waitrose, announe Vacherin Est Arrivée, meaning the creamy Mont-d’Or cheeses in little round wooden boxes are on the shelves.

I’m always delighted with these new arrivals.  I can’t wait to savour a large spoonful of vacherin on a water biscuit with a glass of Beaujolais Nouveau.  It doesn’t set wine connoisseur’s hearts aflutter, but it’s one of those seasonal treats that I look forward to, like clementines and walnuts on a dark winter night, which awaken the taste of sunny Spain.

The Beaujolais region in France has announced, rather worryingly, that it hopes to change the ritual nouveau image in order to concentrate on its older, finer wines.  Oh, dear!  It’s a tradition that on the third Thursday of November, corks begin popping to herald the newly harvested beaujolais.  Apparently, the first corks pop in Japan.

Our old favourite, made from gamay noir grapes, (described by experts as having a hint of banana,) like revenge, is best served cold.  It is one of the few wines which French law allows to be sold during the year of its harvest.

Beaujolais Nouveau has become a marketing phenomenon, and like all marketing phenomenons, this has resulted in overproduction and the halving of sales in 2010.   Some critics call the ’10 vintage “glorified grape juice.”  Beaujolais producers fear this is stigmatizing their product, which is becoming identified as a cheap wine.  They are pumping funds into their vins de garde, or wines which can be laid down, such as fluerie, saint-amour, or julienas.  These wines rival the top burgundies.  However, as Beaujolais Nouveau accounts for a third of sales, it can’t be ignored.

Apparently, this year’s vintage is described as “supple, lively with hints of red fruit.”

Halllelujah!  I’m all for this poor country cousin of the grand beaujolais…and bring on the Mont-d’Ors to round it off!

– Mrs. M

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