Friday, November 20, 2009

“Le Beaujolais est arrive"

I love the tradition of the Beaujolais Nouveau. It was released yesterday, the third Thursday in November, like it has been for decades.

Some look down on it as nothing but a over-active marketing campaign for vin ordinaire. And it is that. I don’t drink vin ordinaire as a matter of course, except when in France, where it accompanies all meals unless you specify to upgrade. So I enjoy my attention being focused on this Gamay grape once a year.

I love that it started as a celebration of the end of the harvest, vin de l’annee. Wiki says that before the appellation was established in 1937, it was only sold locally, harvest to table in 6 to 8 weeks.

Its distinction now is its immediacy and its lightness. Here’s the Wine Spectator’s review of the 2009 Georges DeBoeuf:

A firm red, with bright acidity and flavors of raspberry, blackberry and plum, all underscored by a pleasant grapey note. Would be a nice match with light cold cuts. Drink now.

This year’s label is autumnal incarnate, deep reds and shimmering golds in a paisley-like design. It’s a welcomed respite from the forced “holiday green and red” that is appearing before Halloween, and better than the sixties abstract labels it has recently sported.

I love that it's so connected to the harvest. The immediacy reminds me to think about the person in Beaujolais who picked the grapes (as by law they must be picked by hand).

The Beaujolais Nouveau ushers in the holiday season for many people. On the Upper West Side, it pairs beautifully with the sweet, delectable Clementines that are appearing everywhere