Thursday, November 17, 2005

BO-Zha-Lay Nue-VOE

On the third Thursday of each November, the Wife and I make a pilgrimage to the local spirits mega-store for a time-honored ritual. For it is on this day that the new Beaujolais Nouveau is released to a thirsty public.


At one minute past midnight on the third Thursday of each November, from little villages and towns like Romanèche-Thorins, over a million cases of Beaujolais Nouveau begin their journey through a sleeping France to Paris for immediate shipment to all parts of the world. Banners proclaim the good news: Le Beaujolais Nouveau est arrivé! "The New Beaujolais has arrived!" One of the most frivolous and animated rituals in the wine world has begun.
Less than a month ago, these Beaujolais grapes were on the vine in the Bordeaux region of France. And now, a small portion of their fermented juice is parked inside a case of wine bottles in my dining room.

Beaujolais Nouveau is definitely not a wine to be snobbish about. It's meant to be chilled (not cellared), to be drunk now (not aged), and to be guzzled (not sipped). It's like box wine, but with two important differences:

1) It's cheaper; and
2) It's a hell of a lot better.

Here in Houston, where the Wife and I are quite well wine-educated but our favorite bottles include "Marilyn Merlot" and "Old Fart", the case price for the Georges Duboeuf 2005 Beaujolais Nouveau works out to about $7.19 a bottle. Although the price has climbed over the years, you still can't beat that for a bottle of vin ordinaire.

Duboeuf, who is the largest negociant (wine grape broker) in Bordeaux, writes: "This should prove to be an excellent year. I have rarely seen a crop so healthy. ... I am so bowled over by this marvelous crop that I am convinced of the exceptional quality of the fast approaching vintage."

This being the first day of the Beaujolais Nouveau release, many wine shops will run out of their initial allotment quickly. That's certainly the case at the neighborhood store, where I had the good fortune to arrive literally two minutes after their allotment did. The Nouveau was literally being moved into the store when I grabbed the first case.

We've got ours. And we look forward to toasting our wine tradition tonight, with a glass of the cheap, good stuff.

posted by Gary @ 5:44 PM


At 4:58 PM, Blogger :P fuzzbox said...

Cheaper and better than a cardboard kegger? Now that is saying something. Guess I'll have to keep the Thunderbird on the back shelf for now.

At 6:14 PM, Anonymous Dan said...

Beats hte hell out of Two Buck Chcuk here in Caleeefornia!

At 12:26 PM, Blogger Kimberly said...

My husband is the same way about the Beaujolais. But he says if you don't drink it right away it starts to taste icky. So how the heck do you drink an entire case fast enough? lol

At 12:35 PM, Blogger Gary said...

That's a misconception. Beaujolais Nouveau is a wine just like any other. Now, it doesn't have the tannins in it that preserve it for many years, like regular Beaujolais and other reds do, but even bad vintages will keep for up to 6-8 months. The 2005 vintage is solid enough that it should keep (and improve) for an entire year.

Besides, why worry about how fast you can drink a case? Between Thanksgiving and our domestic quaffing, we've already gone through five bottles and are wondering if we'll be able to find another case at this point ...


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