Support Local Journalism, Join the SA Current Press Club.

Tis the Season for Beaujolais Nouveau 

click to enlarge COURTESY PHOTO
  • Courtesy photo

Breathless announcements proclaiming “Le Beaujolais Nouveau est arrive!” used to appear in every wine shop window in Paris on the third Thursday in November (the 21st this year); the arrival of the first bottlings from that year’s harvest of the famously fruity wine was, for a brief moment, cause for celebration—admittedly grudging on the part of snobs of le bec fin (refined palate) sort.

Admittedly, too, this very young wine made from the gamay grape can be the vinous equivalent of cotton candy: fruity, frothy, flippant… without much to recommend it but nostalgia. But in the best of years it can also be fresh and frankly fun—thanks in part to rigidly maintained standards of harvest (at a prescribed date determined each year and all by hand) and production (the wines of Beaujolais are the most famous examples of carbonic maceration, in which whole clusters of grapes are fermented.)

But now that the French seem to be moving away from wine—at least in the quantities previously consumed, it may fall to us to continue the tradition of the arrival grito; this year, at least, there may be good cause for shouting. According to one source, after a cold spring, grapes in the region received “the highest amount of sunlight for over 20 years.” Add to that the late harvest date of September 24 (it was August 27 in 2009), and the potential for a more profound expression seems promising.

But if the harvest holds promise for the exuberant nouveau, consider what it may bring to the region’s more mature wines. According to local broker Woody de Luna of Vintages 2.0, “traditionally vinified Beaujolais … especially at cru level, offers the best values in wines of terroir … juicy succulence of the gamay grape … [and] the intense minerality of the granite-derived soils.”

Unlike in many other parts of France where “cru” may designate a single vineyard, in Beaujolais it refers to a village or sub-region. Of the 10 such crus, a few to look for are Chiroubles, Fleurie, Julienas, Morgon and Moulin a Vent. The newcomer might want to start with the more encompassing Beaujolais AOC, which can come from anywhere in the region, or, a personal favorite for casual drinking, the Beaujolais-Villages.

But whichever you choose to investigate, think Beaujolais for Thanksgiving. That “juicy succulence” is perfect with turkey and Turkey-Day trimmings. Drink to the dinde, alors!

Support Local Journalism.
Join the San Antonio Current Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the San Antonio Press Club for as little as $5 a month.

Read the Digital Print Issue

October 20, 2021

View more issues


Join SA Current Newsletters

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.


© 2021 San Antonio Current

Website powered by Foundation