It's that time of year again. Every November, the third Thursday to be exact, Beaujolais Nouveau hits store shelves across the world. People seem to either love or hate the stuff. Personally, I enjoy the ritual surrounding Beaujolais Nouveau more so than the actual wine, but as far as young fruity wines go, it's not bad.
Having spent part of my honeymoon in the Beaujolais region, I have a special affinity for the wines produced there. What a lot of people may not realize is that Beaujolais Nouveau is not the only wine produced there. There are actually 12 beaujolais appellations, which makes things a bit more confusing: Beaujolais, Beaujolais-Villages, and ten others that are also know as the Beaujolais Crus (Brouilly, Chénas, Chiroubles, Côte-de-Brouilly, Fleurie, Juliénas, Morgon, Moulin à Vent, Régnié, and Saint Amour).
This year, I noticed something different. The first Beaujolais Nouveau I picked up was actually a George Dubœuf Beaujolais-Villages Nouveau. This is the first time I've seen this, so I decided to get a few bottles to compare to the "standard" Beaujolais Nouveau. Given I didn't much like last year's offering, I was hoping this year would be closer to what we saw in 2003, which was supposedly the best year ever for Beaujolais.
We setup a blind tasting of the two wines to see if we were able to detect a difference, and more importantly, determine rather the slightly more expensive Beaujolais-Villages really was better. After trying both glasses, I was definitely able to tell the difference. The first glass was very fruity, slightly weak, and a bit acidic with no discernable tannin. The second glass had additional hints of pepper, was smoother yet more assertive and finished much stronger than the first. I guessed the first glass to be the Beaujolais Nouveau and the second to be the Beaujolais-Villages Nouveau. Turns out I was right.
So, it looks like this year's Beaujolais are shaping up to be another good vintage. One thing that I do really like about the Beaujolais Nouveau is that they are extremely drinkable and appeal to a wide variety of pallets. So much so that I'll probably pick up a few more bottles to take as hostess gifts for the various dinners and parties during the holiday season.