Beaujolais Nouveau is a fairly recently discovered pleasure for me. Having lived most of my life in Portugal, it is not something that was available to me during my formative years of wine appreciation and, when I did eventually try some, I recall it as being rather sharp and astringent. But, of course, there are varying levels of quality even though all are made from the same Gamay grape variety in the Beaujolais region (a sub-region of Burgundy).
Beaujolais Nouveau is officially released on the third Thursday of November each year, when all around the world the first bottles magically appear on supermarket shelves. It is the first wine to be bottled and released each year and is made to be drunk young using the carbonic maceration method.
Unlike normal winemaking whereby grapes are crushed, Beaujolais Nouveau is made by placing uncrushed grapes in sealed containers where they spontaneously ferment producing a fresh and juicy wine that is usually lower in alcohol content than traditionally made wines.
This year, bad weather caused a poor harvest but, according to those in the know, what 2021 lacks in quantity, it makes up for in quality. Here in Portugal, Beaujolais Nouveau is currently available from various supermarkets (since last Thursday) such as Aldi, E.Leclerc and Intermarché, with prices starting from around €5 – and, like most things, you get what you pay for.
At Apolónia this year, only the wine from one producer, Georges Duboeuf, is on sale and the price is €9.99 – good value for money considering that the average price of this wine to be found online is €11.
This is at the higher end of Beaujolais Nouveau and a lovely wine by any standards, with bundles of fresh red fruit and floral notes on the nose, supple and rounded in the mouth with great acidity and a nice dry finish.
The timing of the release always works well for Americans. A nice Beaujolais Nouveau pairs very well with roast turkey and cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving, but, as a Brit, I will be saving some for my Christmas dinner.