You make Bridgend - which I left over 50 years ago - sound quite classy.
The last time I visited the Beaujolais region and was escorted around several growers by my contact there, we tasted many examples of their ‘new wine’ (not bottled Beaujolais Nouveau I hasten to add) just new wine in progress. The fruit and aromas were wonderful and gave a superb indication of how the wine would develop. November is a great time to visit, the scenery is quite stunning!
Beaujolais is just such wonderful value for money. Having said that I don’t drink it that often, prefer “proper” Burgundy. However, when the sun is shining and the BBQ is lit…
Last time we stayed there Beaujolais did seem a bit down at heel compared with the Côte d’Or so I wouldn’t rush back for a trip. Jura - that’s the place! And the wines!!
I totally get this combination, but strangely - for me a Beaujolais (especially a Cru) is the epitome of an autumnal wine. Maybe it’s the earthy, soil-y forest-berries aromas and the associations it creates, I’m not sure, but I do seem to enjoy it much more during the colder months.
Autumn is for Brunello di Montalcino and Geverey Chambertin and Vosnee Romanée.
BTW have cooked pears in beaujolais?
Do you like Morgon? For me it’s too wannabe Burgundy.
A problem with BN is that, to get it out in time, the grapes have to be harvested by a fixed calendar date that is unrelated to how ripe the grapes are in any particular year. Also, I suspect that the winemaking is sub-optimal due to the impending deadline. We were there once at the point when the BN grapes had been harvested, but the rest was being left to ripen properly.
However much you like young Beaujolais, it would never hurt to wait a few more weeks to get a better wine.
A sobering thought that the indigenous grape of Burgundy was the Gamay, before it was ripped out to the benefit of Pinot Noir!
Good point. Having an artificial deadline goes totally against the grain especially when you consider the agonies that winemakers put themselves through determining the date of the vendage.
Tried the Waitrose offering last night (made, as last year, by Signe Vigneron). Not impressed. Decent nose but not much fruit and a rather bitter finish. Much better in 2018.
BJ doesn’t really work as summer wine for me, for the simple reason it doesn’t go with what I eat in summer (lots of vegetables, fresh stuff). Cerasuolo di Vittoria, Ribeira Sacra Mencía and quite a few other Alpine and Mediterranean wines work much better. French wine in general doesn’t match well with this kind of food, in my experience.
Talking of Dubeouf, the great man died last Saturday at the age of 86. He introduced so many people to Beaujolais and was hugely influential in getting Nouveau throttling forward. (Still a big thing in Japan.)
In 1995 he was asked if he thought Nouveau got in the way of the more serious crus. Asked in 2015 if he’d changed his mind he was in no doubt:
“Je n’ai pas changé d’avis. Non, cela n’a rien à voir. Le beaujolais nouveau, c’est un moment de l’année, un plaisir, un instant, mais aussi et surtout une porte ouverte essentielle pour les vins de garde : beaujolais, beaujolais-villages et les crus. C’est une suite logique. En vingt ans, les consommateurs ont beaucoup changé et ils savent faire la différence entre les vins nouveaux et les vins de garde.”
Which my poor French translates as: “No way. It’s a great moment and drinkers move on to appreciate the differences.”
Vive les differences! And RIP Georges Dubeouf.
Had a BN for Christmas and it was delightful, very smooth, fruity and charming, wouldn’t have guessed it was a Nouveau.
Will look out for more from this producer.
So first of all as you say, bubble gum flavour’ wine (give me an Alsace Hugel Gentil or Pinot Gris anyday), I can do in rainy anywhere… Secondly, if your BN tastes of banana, I have a recommendation for you. After all, who wants their wine made with banana flavoured yeast added? Find one that doesn’t. It’s not hard to find a delicious, young raspberry, bramble and apple pie, fruity (complete with some stalks) flavoured, fresh & vibrant BN. As you say, it’s contextual, about celebrating the new french wine vintage… Cheers
Usually the banana flavour comes from the carbonic maceration process, which many Bojo Novo go through - not a banana flavoured yeast.
Awesomely well put. RIP Georges Duboeuf
Was just going to say this !
BTW. Yesterday the sun was shining, the birds were singing and the BBQ coals were glowing so we drank the last bottle of Nouveau 2019 (Duboeuf, R.I.P.) Absolutely fine.
The yeast is Lalvin 71B. While the yeast is not itself banana-flavoured, it can give rise to banana flavours. It is described here
Carbonic maceration does not involve yeast but only gives 1 to 1.5% ABV, so an additional normal yeast fermentation is required to achieve dryness. 71B was widely used for Beaujolais Nouveau (notably by Georges Duboeuf) because it is quick-acting, but apparently it is a lot less common now.
Certainly it is often said that carbonic maceration is responsible for banana flavours, but I am not sure whether that means the carbonic maceration itself, or whether it isn’t the whole process (including the action of a quick-acting yeast).
I suspect it is the latter, but it is on my unresolved-wine-questions list, and I am looking out for definitive answers.
From what I’ve gathered on both WSET 3 and FWS - it’s the intra-cellular fermentation that is responsible for the aromas we usually associate with Bojo Novo (not just the banana, but the distinctly fruity ones too). This is from my FWS book:
“This anaerobic environment encourages a unique enzymatic/biochemical fermentation inside each of the intact grapes present in the tank. During this biochemical fermentation a small portion of malic acid (appx. 2% by volume) is converted into ethanol through the action of enzymes, whilst the aromas of banana, pears, raspberry and cranberry are created”.
This would follow through to other carbonically macerated wines, such as those from central spain, which despite often being bobal or tempranillo often have that cherry sweets/kirsch flavour.