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).
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 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:
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:
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:
TALK ABOUT WINE ONLINE:
Today's article is cross-posted in our Netscape WineLovers Community, where we also welcome comments and questions.
To contact me by E-mail, write email@example.com. I'll respond personally to the extent that time and volume permit.
PRINT OUT TODAY'S ARTICLE
When Mario Andretti started his Napa Valley winery in 1996, people took notice. They expected Mario to be driving a winner, and Andretti Winery has fulfilled those expectations and more!
Take a look at what The California Wine Club is featuring this month from Andretti Winery:
Andretti 2004 California Chardonnay
Andretti 2004 California Merlot
This month's selection from The California Wine Club is just $32.95 plus shipping and includes a copy of our beautiful magazine, Uncorked. Uncorked will give you the full story on Andretti Winery and how they are celebrating 10 years of success.
Click to order:
Want to order a half, full or mixed case of these wines? You can and you’ll save up to 45% off normal retail prices. Visit The California Wine Club’s on-line Wine Store at www.cawineclub.com
This week on WineLoversPage.com
Some highlights of recent articles on WineLoversPage.com that I hope you'll enjoy:
QPRwines: 2000-2004 Bordeaux
Hot topics in our WineLovers Discussion Groups
"We'll sell no wine before its time"
Tasting room etiquette
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:
To subscribe or unsubscribe from The 30 Second Wine Advisor, change your E-mail address, or for any other administrative matters, please use the individualized hotlink found at the end of your E-mail edition. If this is not practical, contact me by E-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, including the exact E-mail address that you used when you subscribed, so I can find your record.
We do not use our E-mail list for any other purpose and will never give or sell your name or E-mail address to anyone. I welcome feedback, suggestions, and ideas for future columns. To contact me, please send E-mail to email@example.com
All the wine-tasting reports posted here are consumer-oriented. In order to maintain objectivity and avoid conflicts of interest, I purchase all the wines I rate at my own expense in retail stores and accept no samples, gifts or other gratuities from the wine industry.
Monday, Nov. 20, 2006