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08/21/08 - Napa Valley

The Best Articles on Napa Valley

I Love French Wine and Food - Beaujolais Nouveau

This article treats one of the world?s most successful marketing campaigns ? the French red wine that arrives just in time for Thanksgiving, Beaujolais Nouveau. At one minute past midnight on the third Thursday in November, this wine is released for sale. Talk about market share, in the next 24 hours over one million cases will be sold. During the coming year, consumers all over the world will buy more than 65 million bottles. There will be about 4 million bottles exported to the United States, and 7 million to Japan and to Germany. About seven hundred thousand bottles will be exported to Italy, which makes a similar wine, Vino Novello, reviewed in our article I Love Italian Wine and Food ? Vino Novello (New Wine).

What is exactly is new wine, whether Beaujolais Nouveau, Vino Novello, or some other, similar product? New wine is the first of the harvest, released in early November. The exact date depends on the country. New wines are produced by a special method, carbonic maceration, in which whole grapes ferment in stainless steel tanks, often reaching a temperature of 25 to 30 degrees Centigrade (77 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit). This process lasts for about 5 to 20 days, and may be followed by crushing the grapes, which then undergo traditional fermentation for a few days. The exact procedure varies from one winemaker to another, but the ensuing wine is virtually tannin free. The lack of tannins implies a short shelf life. While you don?t have to drink the wine immediately, most people finish the season by Easter. Actually, in the best vintages Beaujolais Nouveau can last until the following year?s crop. In theory you could drink Beaujolais Nouveau all year long. Take my advice, don?t.

New wines are usually colored bright red or violet. They tend to be fruity, tasting of cherry, strawberry, raspberry, banana, and freshly squeezed grapes, depending on the grape variety used, the production method, and the area in which the grapes are grown. Detractors talk about bubble gum, lollipops, nail polish, and jello. Many feel that new wine tastes of grape juice with alcohol. One thing is certain, if you don?t like a given new wine, don?t store it away to try it again in two years. It won?t improve with time.

Let me present a few tidbits of information before reviewing one of the best Beaujolais Nouveau wines. This wine comes from Beaujolais region of southeastern France and is made from the Gamay grape, which was kicked out of the world-famous, neighboring Burgundy region in 1395. By law, all the grapes in the Beaujolais region must be picked by hand. Champagne is the only other region of France that forbids mechanical harvesting. While Beaujolais Nouveau was first regulated in 1938, it dates back to ancient times when a somewhat similar wine was produced for slaves. History does not record their reaction. Let?s take a look at mine.

Wine Reviewed Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais Villages Nouveau 2006 12.5% about $13

I bought this bottle the day after the release of the 2006 Beaujolais Nouveau (November 16, 2006). It was the most expensive, and presumably the best, of all the new wines available.

Beaujolais Villages Nouveau comes from the Gamay grape variety grown in the Beaujolais region of southwestern France. Gamay grapes contain virtually no tannins, and so many white wine lovers feel at home with them. The wine is considered quite fruity and easy to drink. Unlike some of its inferior competitors, it did not smell of nail polish.

My first pairing of this wine involved chicken in a honey, garlic, and soy sauce. The wine was not very flavorful, but during the course of the meal its flavors increased somewhat. Unfortunately the dominant flavor was bubble gum, but there was a light taste of black fruit.

The next meal involved hamburgers accompanied by potatoes, Moroccan style carrots (spicy, the major spice was cumin), and a spicy tomato and red pepper salsa. The spicy food brought out the wine?s fruitiness. In particular, the wine?s acidity was a good match for the salsa?s acidity.

Then I tried this wine with kube, or kibbe, a Middle-Eastern specialty, balls of ground rice filled with ground meat. They were cooked overnight with potatoes in a somewhat spicy sauce. The wine still smelled of bubble gum after a few days. It didn?t add much to the meal, but did get a bit more expressive as it warmed up. (By the way, it was not overchilled.) It went rather well with fresh pineapple, but didn?t add anything to the other dessert of thin almond and pistachio biscuits.

I didn?t have any French cheeses to accompany the wine, so I had to settle for Italian cheeses. Asiago cheese is nutty-flavored, fairly strong cheese from northeastern Italy. In its presence the wine was moderately fruity. This Beaujolais Nouveau was pleasant but a bit thin in the face of a somewhat overripe Pecorino Toscano from the Tuscany region of Italy.

Final verdict. For many years I have not been a fan of new wines. I taste them every year, and am always willing to change my mind. This overpriced Beaujolais Nouveau gave me no reason to budge an inch. As we said every September (or earlier) when our baseball team was eliminated from the pennant race, wait ?til next year.

Levi Reiss has authored or co-authored ten books on computers and the Internet, but to be honest, he would rather just drink fine Italian or other wine, accompanied by the right foods. He teaches classes in computers at an Ontario French-language community college. His wine website is http://www.theworldwidewine.com

Napa Valley and More

I Love French Wine and Food - Beaujolais Nouveau

This article treats one of the world?s most successful marketing campaigns ? the French red wine that arrives just in time for Thanksgiving, Beaujolai...

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Napa Valley Products we recommend

Chateau Clinet - Pomerol

"Another extraordinary wine made in a backward vin de garde style, the 1995 Chateau Clinet Pomerol represents the essence of Pomerol. The blackberry, cassis liqueur-like fruit of this French dry red wine is awesome. The color is saturated black/purple, and the wine extremely full-bodied and powerful with layers of glycerin-imbued fruit, massive richness, plenty of licorice, blackberry, and cassis flavors, full body, and a thick, unctuous texture. This is a dense, impressive offering from administrator Jean-Michel Arcaute. This Bordeaux should continue to improve for another 10-25 years. Anticipated maturity: 2006-2025." Great gift! RP - 96 (Subject to Availability) CLI95 CLI95

Price: 273.99 USD

Napa Valley in the news

Red Wine Compound may be Key to Fountain of Youth

Fri, 15 Aug 2008 09:41:01 PDT
A compound of Red Wine that has become of particular importance is called "Resveratrol". Researchers found that with this compound, we may be able to increase the quality of life by providing heart benefits, stronger bones, and preventing eye cataracts. Now, the aging process has been shown to have slowed in lab tests with mice.

I Love Italian Wine And Food - Reviewing The Reds

Fri, 15 Aug 2008 02:39:06 PDT
I recently finished a wine tour of Italy’s twenty administrative regions, briefly describing each region prior to tasting a representative wine with food, and at least one imported Italian cheese.

How badly does beer sabotage weight loss

Thu, 14 Aug 2008 10:06:39 PDT
Basically beer is high in calories....and does other strange things to your health that have never really been fully documented.Why not switch to red wine (lots of anti-oxidants) or white wine. Or any other low calorie alchohol (alcopops have too much sugar).

Moss Wood Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Margaret River, 2005

Thu, 14 Aug 2008 00:30:49 PDT
This is a beautiful red wine. It's an essay in elegance and harmony: the flavours build on the palate the more you sip and the wine continues to give more, whereas many modern reds pall rapidly.

Red Wine: The Romantic Wine

Sat, 09 Aug 2008 00:11:26 PDT
Is wine just an alcoholic beverage made by the fermentation of grapes? No, wine is that essential quotient for the perfect evening with loved ones, memorable candlelight dinners, romantic getaways, of poetry and dreams.

Little Tokyo maid cafe serves up fantasy - Los Angeles Times

Fri, 08 Aug 2008 18:07:30 PDT
At Tapas & Wine Bar C, women dressed as French maids bring drinks with names such as Red Silk Panties and Mistress.

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