30 Second Wine Advisor: Beaujolais for Turkey Day
Today's Sponsor
 California Wine Club
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In This Issue
 Beaujolais for Turkey Day A three-way tasting offers a taste of the hierarchy of Beaujolais.
 Three Beaujolais
We compare a Joseph Drouhin 2006 Nouveau, an aggressively earthy 2004 Domaine du Vissoux, and a splendid 2005 Cote de Brouilly from Jean-Paul Brun.
 The California Wine Club Wine fans and race fans will enjoy
this month's selection!
 This week on WineLoversPage.com
The quest for value in recent Bordeaux, and forum discussions on tasting-room etiquette and nostalgic old wine commercials of the '70s. Chill a Cella, anyone?
Last Week's Wine Advisor Index The Wine Advisor archives.
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Beaujolais for Turkey Day

Of course it's only a coincidence that the annual Beaujolais Nouveau day (third Thursday in November) arrives just a week before the American Thanksgiving Day (fourth Thursday in November).

But it's a happy coincidence, because it draws our attention to Beaujolais - and the Gamay grape in general - as an interesting option when we're making the annual decision about what wine to serve with roast turkey and all the traditional holiday trimmings.

I've touched on this topic already this season in reports on "Beaujolais, not Nouveau" on Nov. 8, and on the Gamay-based sparkler "Bugey Cerdon" in Friday's edition, as reasonable choices with turkey. Today we take a quick look at three more Beaujolais, including a sample of this year's just-arrived Nouveau. First, though, a couple of quick thoughts about why I like Beaujolais as a holiday pick.

 It's affordable. In an era of rising wine prices, you can still get good, basic Beaujolais for $10 or less, and even the more respected "cru" villages rarely go much past the middle teens.

 It's food-friendly. A distant cousin to its Burgundian neighbor Pinot Noir in style if not in DNA, it offers an appealing burst of forward, strawberry-like fruit with mouth-watering acidity and, in the best examples, subtle Old World earthiness that helps it bridge the varied dishes that weigh down the holiday table ... including both light and dark turkey meat.

 It passes my "cranberry sauce test." Cranberry sauce is a traditional condiment with turkey because it's both fruity and tart, so when you're seeking a match with turkey, choose a wine with a similar flavor profile. Beaujolais fits this to a T (or maybe a B); similar principles also lead us to other worthy matches including Pinot Noir, Riesling, Chenin Blanc and the festive option, Champagne and other sparkling wines.

Riesling is currently leading the "Best Wine with Turkey" sweepstakes in our CompuServe/Netscape WineLovers Community poll, by the way, with Pinot Noir and Beaujolais fighting it out for second place. We'll leave this poll active through the holiday, so if you haven't yet voted, please click here to name your favorite:

Now, in abbreviated form, here are my weekend notes on a trio of Beaujolais, tasted side-by-side with friends over a simple weekend dinner, not turkey but a comforting dish of cheese-and-spinach-stuffed Italian manicotti. The tasting lineup included a bright and tutti-frutti Joseph Drouhin 2006 Beaujolais Nouveau, an almost aggressively earthy old-vines 2004 Domaine du Vissoux, and a splendid 2005 Cote de Brouilly from Jean-Paul Brun, a Cru Beaujolais from the outstanding producer whose basic '05 Beaujolais I featured Nov. 8. All three wines should work well with turkey dinner, are drinkable now but won't benefit from cellaring, and represent reasonable value at their price points.

Joseph Drouhin Joseph Drouhin 2006 "Primeur" Beaujolais Nouveau ($11.99)

Clear ruby in color, this one strikes me as a typical Beaujolais Nouveau from an industrial-scale but respected producer. Its ripe, forward tutti-frutti aromas offer a mix of banana and artificial strawberry flavor, coming together in a scent that's eerily reminiscent of those giant pink children's candies called "circus peanuts." Juicy and ripe, it's not as over-the-top on the palate, abundant red-berry fruit and crisp acidity, but yes, we do have bananas. U.S. importer: Dreyfus, Ashby & Co., NYC. (Nov. 18, 2006)

Find it on Wine-Searcher.com:

Domaine du Vissoux Pierre-Marie Chermette 1004 "Domaine du Vissoux" Cuvée Traditionnelle Beaujolais Vieilles Vignes ($12.99)

This is a rather light ruby color, not much deeper in hue than a dark rosé. Distinct "horsey" notes dominate red-berry fruit aromas. Crisp and fresh in flavor, good fresh strawberries, but it's just loaded with brettanomyces wild yeast flavors, redolent of sweaty horses, well-used saddles and the barnyard. This one will separate the men from the boys, as the saying goes, but I like it. Okay, I like a little of it. The back label indicates that it's naturally fermented with wild yeasts from the grapes and bottled with "little or no" filtering, demonstrating that "natural" wine making can be a challenge. U.S. importer: Weygandt-Metzler, Unionville, Pa. (Nov. 18, 2006)

Find it on Wine-Searcher.com:

Brun Jean-Paul Brun 2005 Terres Dorées Côte de Brouilly ($14.99)

My love affair with Brun's Beaujolais continues with this beautifully balanced wine. It's a clear, not quite transparent ruby color, breathing scents of strawberries, fresh and true, luscious but not over the top, with subtle earthiness in the background. Tart, cleansing acidity provides structure unusual in a Beaujolais, with red berries and cherries and earthy minerality lingering in a long finish. U.S. importer: LDM Wines Inc., NYC; Louis/Dressner Selections. (Nov. 18, 2006)

Find it on Wine-Searcher.com:

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Today's Sponsor

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This week on WineLoversPage.com

Some highlights of recent articles on WineLoversPage.com that I hope you'll enjoy:

QPRwines: 2000-2004 Bordeaux
Looking for great values in the pricey realm of recent high-end Bordeaux? Consider 2000 Leoville Las Cases, 2000 Ducru-Beaucaillou and 2004 Pontet-Canet. Analyzed on the basis of retail price versus critical ratings points, these come out on top in Neil Monnens' QPRwines, featuring reports on 1,009 Bordeaux.

Hot topics in our WineLovers Discussion Groups
Our WineLovers' Discussion Groups are the best places online to ask wine questions and participate in the civil and intelligent discussion of good things to eat and drink. Our WineLovers Discussion Group (WLDG) is the Internet's original wine forum, a non-commercial venue intended for wine-related conversations that range from apprentice-level to wine professionals. Our WineLovers Community on the Netscape/CompuServe service is dedicated to wine education, a friendly place to get quick answers to your questions about wine, beer, spirits and all good things to drink.

"We'll sell no wine before its time"
From Orson Welles to Chill A Cella, we're taking a nostalgic romp back to the '70s, sharing memories of some of the favorite old wine commercials and slogans of the era.

Tasting room etiquette
A reader, embarrassed by a stern public reprimand for pouring himself a glass at an unattended tasting bar, asks about tasting-room etiquette and kicks off an interesting discussion. Share your advice and tell your own tasting room stories at this link:

Last Week's Wine Advisor Index

The Wine Advisor's daily edition is usually distributed on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays (and, for those who subscribe, the FoodLetter on Thursdays). Here's the index to last week's columns:

 Bugey Cerdon (Nov. 17, 2006)

 Where is Segre? (Nov. 15, 2006)

 Historic bubbly (Nov. 13, 2006)

 Complete 30 Second Wine Advisor archive:

 Wine Advisor FoodLetter: Lean, mean and handy (Nov. 16, 2006)

 Wine Advisor Foodletter archive:


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Monday, Nov. 20, 2006
Copyright 2006 by Robin Garr. All rights reserved.

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