As discussed in Monday's edition, Beaujolais Nouveau is the new wine of the just-picked harvest, traditionally released in mid-November. Never intended as a wine for deep and serious contemplation, it's more of an excuse for a party than a "serious" wine.
We tasted our way through four representative samples yesterday to give you this quick report, and frankly, the wines were pretty much as expected: Grapey and almost excessively fruity, light-bodied and tart. My advice? Enjoy the Beaujolais parties if you go, but don't bother to stock up unless you find you really enjoy them.
One other bit of advice: I generally go along with the conventional wisdom and recommend serving Beaujolais with a slight chill, an approach that's unusual for red wines but seems to make this style more refreshing. This year's sampling, though, seemed to respond poorly to chilling. After an hour in the refrigerator to bring them down to "cellar temperature," most of them seemed thin and overly tart, but rounded out and gained flavor as they warmed back toward room temperature.
Here are my brief notes on three brands that should be widely available and one (the last) that may be more difficult to find.
Joseph Drouhin 2001 Beaujolais Nouveau Primeur ($8.99)
Georges Duboeuf 2001 Beaujolais Nouveau ($8.99)
Chateau de Buffavent 2001 Beaujolais Nouveau ($8.99)
Louis Tete 2001 Beaujolais-Villages Nouveau ($9.99)
WEB LINK: Les Vins du Beaujolais, the official website of the Beaujolais region of France, is available in French and English at http://www.beaujolais-wines.com/.
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Friday, Nov. 16, 2001