© Copyright 1997 by Robin Garr. All rights reserved.
Although nouveau or primeur wine making -- wines produced quickly for early sale -- is an old practice in France, the commercial marketing of the Nouveau Beaujolais is a relatively new phenomenon, having grown up mostly in the past 20 years or so. In the early days, the new wine was literally held in the wineries by law until Nov. 21, when, amid great publicity, trucks would race from Beajolais north to Paris, competing for the "honor" of being the first to reach the city to slake the thirst of eager wine lovers waiting for a taste of it.
Nowadays, though, the market is much larger and more commercial, and the wines are shipped around the world a week or more in advance of the official release date (which has been moved from Nov. 21 to the third Thursday) and held "in bond," not legally available for sale, until the official day.
Being in New York City on Nouveau Day this year, I had access to an unusual selection of labels, so I decided to bypass the major, widely available brands like Duboeuf, Bouchard and Mommessin in favor of a couple of tiny, limited-production labels. I'm glad I did. Both of these proved unusually tasty, more full-bodied and structured than the usual run-of-the-Nouveau:
Jean-Jacques et Sylvaine Martin 1997 Beaujolais-Villages Nouveau ($8.99)
Pierre et Paul Durdill 1997 Beaujolais Nouveau "Les Grandes Coassis" ($7.99)
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