Every year, on the third Thursday in November, the world’s fastest wine, from picking to bottling, hits the world-wide market with tsunami of marketing hype.
That wine is Beaujolais Nouveau.
Beaujolais Nouveau Day is marked in France with fireworks, music and festivals. And it’s not just France. It’s worldwide phenomenon. In fact in Japan, which imports nearly 8 million bottles Beaujolais Nouveau, there’s even a bathhouse near Tokyo that offers a hot Beaujolais Nouveau bath!
I think of Beaujolais Nouveau as a simple, fun, flirty and fruity wine, but if the only Beaujolais you’re drinking is Nouveau, you’re barely scratching the surface of the beautiful, food friendly and affordable wines of Beaujolais!
So after you’ve had your fling with a chilled bottle of Beaujolais Nouveau, it’s time to seek out a deeper more meaningful relationship with the rest of Beaujolais!
As many wine regions in France, there is a pyramid of quality in the Beaujolais region. Consider Nouveau Beaujolais as the base. Then you ascend to (normal) Beaujolais, Beaujolais-Villages, then on to the named Crus of Beaujolais. – Jeff Burrows, FoodWineClick
About Beaujolais Beyond Nouveau
Located north of Lyon in eastern France, Beaujolais overlaps Burgundy (of which it is sometimes considered to be a part) in the north and Rhône in the south. The picturesque Beaujolais vineyards run along the Saône River. Winemakers have crafted deliciously supple and fruity wines in the region since the days of Ancient Rome.
The Gamay Noir grape, a cross between Pinot Noir and Gouais, is used to make ninety-nine percent with Beaujolais wines. The exception is Beaujolais Blanc, which is made of Chardonnay and Aligote grapes.
The traditional “Beaujolais” style of winemaking is unique and original. Grapes are hand-picked then subjected to semi-carbonic maceration. There are other methods of vinification, including thermovinification (a quick fix, where the grapes and must are heated to near boiling prior to fermentation) or traditional Burgundian winemaking methods. There are 2,000 winegrowers producing red, white and rosé wines. There are 12 appellations (in ascending order of quality; Beaujolais, Beaujolais Villages, and 10 designated vineyard areas – or “crus”, which are considered to produce the best Beaujolais wines.
The northern part of Beaujolais is made up of rolling granite hills with patches of clay and limestone, while the south is dominated by richer clay- and sandstone-based soils, and much flatter topography. This differing terroir is a dominant factor in the north, producing typically aromatic, structured and complex wines in contrast to the lighter, younger-drinking and fruitier style of the south. (Source)
My Exploration of Beaujolais – In The Glass And At The Table
I rarely enjoy wine without food, so I paired the wines with a variety of meals.
2016 Vignerons de Bel Air Beaujolais-Villages Natural
My tasting notes and the pairing(s) follow:
Color: Medium ruby
Aromas: Appealing black and red fruit, damp earth, black currant leaf and rosehips
Body: Between light and medium-bodied with vibrant acidity and a solid structure
Taste: Black raspberries, cherries, a dollop of fresh strawberries and spice
This pairing of @elmolinocentral Mole Poblano Chicken Enchiladas with 2016 #vigneronsdebelair #beaujolaisvillage Nature Terra Vitis definitely a winner! Mole can be a challenge to pair with wine, but the fresh, fruit forward inviting character of this wine made for a great pairing! Will be repeating this pairing! #gogamaygo #lovebeaujolais #sommstable #wine #winelover #foodandwine #instawine
2015 Domaine Baron de l’Ecluse Côte de Brouilly Le Garances
My tasting notes and the pairing(s) follow:
Color: Opaque violet
Aromas: Aromatic and appealing black fruit, floral, wet clay, and a hint of damp earth
Body: Medium-bodied and fresh with firm well-integrated tannins, and a polished appealing texture
Taste: Plum, black cherry, and black raspberry
Enjoyed this wine over the course of a couple of evenings. It found peaceful co-existence with Chicken Adobo on a bed of Polenta on the first night. But it paired better with Pasta with Mushroom (Oyster, Hen of the Woods, Shitake, Black Poplar and Trumpet Royale) Ragu on the next night! A great example of why I #lovebeaujolais. Very much like its cousin to the north Pinot Noir from Burgundy, it’s a high acid, low tannin red wine that is very versatile at the table. I love a wine that’s so versatile because you don’t have to put as much thought into food/wine pairing! But Beaujolais (which is made from the Gamay Noir grape) is a much more affordable option! It’s one of my very favorite “everyday” red wines! #gogamaygo #instawine #foodandwine #wine #winelover #sommstable #samplewine #winophiles #cotedebrouilly #beaujolais
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2015 Domaine de Briante – Brouilly Tradition
Having a great time pairing #Beaujolais wines with a variety of foods! The latest pairing was the #DomainedeBriante #Brouilly with Creamy Mushroom Chicken Pot Pie and Roasted Hen of the Woods Mushrooms – A great pairing! #lovebeaujolais #gogamaygo #instawine #foodandwine #wine #winelover #sommstable #crubeaujolais #winophiles
Color: Translucent crimson
Aromas: Black berries, Kirsch, roast mushrooms, forest floor, and dried roses
Body: Medium-bodied and fresh with a very appealing supple texture and well-integrated tannins
Taste: Black cherry, blackberry, black currant, with sweet and savory spice
2015 Domaines Piron – Morgon Côte du Py
My last #Beaujolais and food pairing features the alluring #DomainePiron #Morgon Cote du Puy paired with vegetarian pizza with plenty of mushrooms and pork Japchae potsticker. The wine was good paired with the pizza, but it was great paired with the Japchae potstickers! The wine paired well with both , but especially the Japchae potstickers! #lovebeaujolais #gogamaygo #instawine #foodandwine #wine #winelover #sommstable #crubeaujolais
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Color: Nearly opaque violet
Aromas: Black fruit, black currant leaf, mint and violet
Body: Medium bodied, elegant and well structured with tangy acidity and perceptible well-integrated tannins
Taste: Black currant, black berry, strawberries, and violets with savory spice and an appealing minerality
My favorite of the wines was the 2015 Domaines Piron – Morgon Côte du Py. I considered all the wines to be very good to outstanding, and I love the value offered!
My favorite pairing was the Beaujolais Village with the Mole Poblano Chicken Enchiladas (followed very closely by the Broilly with the Chicken Mushroom pot pie with roasted hen of the woods mushrooms)! Likewise all the pairings were good to very good. You’ll find that Beaujolais wines pair well with virtually anything that pairs well with Pinot Noir, one of the most food friendly red wines (please add Beaujolais to that list!) such as mushrooms and pork dishes. (check out the Beaujolais website for more pairing ideas)
But it’ll be a real challenge to find a bottle of Pinot Noir that offers comparable quality for the price!
My week with Beaujolais wine beyond Nouveau reaffirmed why it is one of my favorite “every day” red wines. The wines are very versatile at the table, and they offer excellent value. Beaujolais wines offer something for every budget and you can find an impressive bottle without breaking the bank!
Here’s a compilation of posts also related to Beaujolais beyond Nouveau which will go live over the next few days. And please remember to join our chat!
- Jill from L’Occasion shares “No Sleep ’til Beaujolais: The French Wine That’s Keeping Us Up All Night“
- Camilla from Culinary Adventures with Camilla shares “Top of the Central Coast: My Beaujolais Pairing Dinner”
- Lynn from Savor the Harvest writes “Beaujolais Beyond Nouveau”
- Rob from Odd Bacchus shares “Beaujolais Reassessed“
- Wendy from A Day in the Life on the Farm writes “Say Yay for Beaujolais“
- Jane from Always Ravenous shares “Beaujolais Wine: A Foodie’s Dream”
- Nicole from Somms Table writes “Cooking to the Wine: Stephane Aviron Cru Beaujolais with Pork Tenderloin While Jumping Life Hurdles“
- Lauren from The Swirling Dervish shares “Thanksgiving for Two: Mushroom-Stuffed Pork Loin Paired with Beaujolais Cru”
- Liz from What’s in that Bottle writes “Discover Real Beaujolais”
- Jeff from Food Wine Click! shares “Tasting the Beaujolais Pyramid over Dinner”
- Michelle from Rockin Red Blog writes ” Exploring Cru Beaujolais with #Winophiles”
- David from Cooking Chat shares “Food-Friendly Red Wine from Beaujolais”
- Gwendolyn from Wine Predator writes “Do you know the way to Beaujolais?”
Join our chat on Saturday November 18 at 8a-9am PST (11am EST, 10am CST, and 1700 hours in France)! See what we think of Beaujolais, and tell us about your experiences! Simply log into Twitter and search for the #winophiles tag, and you’re in!
Disclosure: I received the four wines free of charge. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are entirely my own
You might also like: Exploring Cru Beaujolais; A Great Everyday Red Wine
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