Retro label on Beaujolais Nouveau 2013.
Retro label on Beaujolais Nouveau 2013.

I t’s Beaujolais Nouveau day all over the world. Even though Augusta’s wine shops couldn’t participate in the fun because the wine didn’t get here on time, I snagged a bottle and can tell you it’s wonderful. (The wine is scheduled to arrive in Augusta stores Friday, Nov. 22.)

Actually, it tastes a lot like it does every other year: aromatic, fresh, fruity, lively. This is not a wine to take too seriously, but it wasn’t meant to be taken seriously. It’s meant to signify the end of harvest and the start of the holiday season, when we can ignore our troubles for a little while and have some fun.

I drank the Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais Nouveau 2013, and I loved it. It is everything a Beaujolais is supposed to be. It’s a brilliant garnet color in the glass. The aroma is powerful and welcoming. Teri thought it smelled like lychee. I just thought it was pleasant.

The taste is full of bright fruit, especially strawberry, raspberry and cherry. The tannins are soft, but it is still kind of a “chewy” wine that coats your mouth with a wonderful taste. This year’s version has more staying power than I remember for the Nouveau.

Beaujolais Nouveau 2013.
Beaujolais Nouveau 2013.
The label changes every year, and the 2013 features an explosion of wine-red colors and city skylines. It’s meant to be a retro look, evoking the Roaring ’20s.

Franck Duboeuf, son of the founder of Georges Duboeuf, told me this is an exceptional vintage. Speaking by phone from France, he said, “We are extremely pleased by the samples. We are very pleased at the level of quality. It can be compared to 2011, which was an exceptional vintage in Beaujolais.”

Beaujolais Nouveau pairs with a variety of food during the holidays.
Beaujolais Nouveau pairs with a variety of food during the holidays.

Teri and I had the wine with a dinner of chopped barbecue. I had made a Boston Butt earlier in the week, and we still had plenty of chopped meat for Thursday’s dinner. I use a Lexington, N.C. mop sauce with apple cider vinegar and spices while the meat cooks and after it is chopped. I had rice and gravy with it, while Teri had a roast sweet potato. We also had salads.

The pairing was excellent. The fresh wine was a match for the smoky, spicy meat. This would be a great picnic wine on the next warm, sunny day, or a nice wine with the weekend pizza.

The Boston Butt before it becomes chopped barbecue.
The Boston Butt before it becomes chopped barbecue.

When I drink the Beaujolais Nouveau I always think of the holidays. This year’s wet, cold weather brought to mind holidays in my hometown of Chicago, so the wine seemed especially appropriate. You can drink it at all your holiday meals. It will pair well with turkey, ham, vegetables, potatoes, and all manner of holiday buffets.

But drink it by Easter, because it won’t keep long. If you want a longer-lasting wine, wait until spring when the Cru Beaujolais is released. Judging by the Nouveau, the regular Beaujolais should be stunning.

The Nouveau is made from handpicked Gamay grapes in the Beaujolais region of southern France, just below Burgundy. It is the first wine released after harvest, becoming available one second after midnight on Nov. 21.

The release is a marketing event, as parties spring up around the arrival in France, Germany, Japan, China and the United States. More than 70 million bottles were produced this year.

(For more on Beaujolais Nouveau see my earlier post: http://bottlereport.com/2013/11/15/beaujolais-nouveau-holiday-party-in-a-bottle/ )

From: France
Cost: $10-12
Year: 2013

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