Tag Archives: beaujolais

2013 Beaujolais Nouveau Battle


Happy Wine Wednesday!

If you are in a pinch and are looking for some great Thanksgiving Wine Pairings, click here. Or, just drink what you like and don’t worry about pairing!


But as for this year’s Beaujolais Nouveau, we did the research for you!

It’s been a few years since I’d had a Beaujolais Nouveau. My husband and I are hoping for some good luck in 2014. So it was time to open a bottle before the new year.

But which do you choose when all the Beaujolais Nouveau bottles are staring you down in the store?

Rob and I set out to try a few of them side-by-side to determine our favorite producer for future years. {Although wines will still vary from vintage to vintage!}

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What I learned?

I don’t really like Beaujolais Nouveau, or at least not the 2013 vintage.

Of course, Beaujolais Nouveau is not a big, bold red like a Cab or Zin. It’s truly not a serious wine. It’s meant to be fruity and drunk young. Like NOW. And don’t confuse a Nouveau with other Beaujolais wines. They are all made with the gamay grape varietal, but there are some serious Beaujolais and Beaujolais Cru out there. Some are even made to age. Nouveau is just not one of them.

We picked up the four bottles of Beaujolais Nouveau available when we were at Zipp’s Liquor in Minneapolis stocking up for Ale Fest 2013. {More on that next week!} Then we rounded up our glasses and evaluation sheets.

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Here was our lineup {uh, right to left}:

  • DuBoeuf Beaujolais Nouveau 2013 – $9.99
  • Drouhin Beaujolais Nouveau 2013 – $12.99
  • Mommessin Beaujolais Nouveau 2013 – $10.99
  • L’Ancien Beaujolais Nouveau 2013 – $14.99

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What we found is that these wines weren’t really the fruity, easy-drinking red that we all know and love. They all started off smelling quite lovely, like strawberries. Rob picked up some violet and rose petal on the nose, too.

But they all tasted astringent to me.

The most heinous offender was Mommessin, which after my second taste, I just couldn’t drink anymore. We did slightly chill these wines, as BN should be, but perhaps we didn’t chill them long enough. {Beaujolais Nouveau should be served right around 55 degrees – colder than a red, but not quite as chilled as a white.}

We began to feel like we did when we came back from Tuscany. All the Italians keep the good Chiantis for themselves and ship the crappy stuff to the U.S. Same thing here perhaps?

Because of this, there wasn’t a clear winner.

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Georges DuBoeuf (12%) – Rob said that if he had to choose one to drink, it would be this one. And if we opt to share a Nouveau next year, this’ll probably be it. The aromas mostly consisted of strawberries, violet and rose petal. Besides the strawberry, I tasted something a little more tart – maybe black currant. As expected, both the tannin and body were light, but there was definitely some acidity there, making it great for pairing with food.

Joseph Drouhin (12.5%) – Strawberry, prune and floral aromas. And although these wines see no oak, I got a whiff of vanilla and a hint of spice on the nose, as well. However, the taste was very tart and Rob described it as “almost aluminum” tasting. Again, light tannins, short finish, maybe a bit more complex than the DuBoeuf, but not quite as balanced either.

Mommessin (11% to 14%) – <–First off, how can you legally list that as the alcohol percentage on your bottle? Were you unsure when you made the labels what the alcohol content would be? Did you make a couple of batches then mix them together? Or not intend to label them separately? I’m thoroughly confused by that one. Whatever the case may be, this was our least favorite. Faint strawberry aromas, light-bodied with high acidity. On the first taste, I actually felt that dusty quality that I like in a good Pinot Noir. So it’s something I would not expect out of the Gamay grape. But that was short-lived because each subsequent taste was astringent and vinegar-like. Ack! Oh wait, Mommesin also made this unimpressive wine.

L’Ancien (12%) – Rob didn’t like this one at all; but to me, it was the first BN we tried that I thought tasted more like a serious wine. It was more complex with not only berry aromas, but also that of olive and white pepper. Rob hates that white pepper flavor that can be found in some Grenaches. That’s probably what turned him off here. I liked the label of this one the best because it was basic and not so gimmicky-looking.


But when it comes down to it, if we’re buying a fruity, easy-drinking Beaujolais Nouveau, we aren’t looking for complexity. That’s why Georges DuBoeuf would be our winner this year. But only by process of elimination.

Next year, we may step up in search of a Beaujolais-Villages Nouveau. Or maybe we’ll do a Battle of the Beaujolais: Cru vs. Nouveau, knowing full well who the winner will be. It would just be a great way to learn and experience the difference.

What wines would you like to see us review or describe next?


Le Beaujolais Nouveau est Arrivé!


As I write this, it’s Wine Wednesday. But when the clock strikes twelve midnight, shops across the country that sell wine will be stocked with this year’s harvest of Beaujolais Nouveau. Yes, that’s right. “Beaujolais Nouveau has arrived!”

First, for those of you who are unfamiliar, here are few quick lessons on Beaujolais Nouveau.

Beaujolais Nouveau…

  • …is a French wine coming from the Beaujolais region of France.
  • …is made from the gamay grape.
  • …is a wine meant to be drunk young, usually within six months.
  • …is different from other Beaujolais wines such as Beaujolais-Villages. If it does not say “Nouveau” on the bottle, chances are that it is a little more complex and can age a couple of years.
  • …is released in the U.S the third Thursday of November of the year the grapes are harvested, partly due to tradition, but mostly for marketing purposes for the American Thanksgiving holiday.
  • …is light enough to pair with turkey, bright enough to merry well with cranberries and has just a hint of earthiness to stand up to the herbaceousness found in dressing and other fixings.
  • …should be served slightly chilled. To bring out the flavors, serve it cooler than the cellar temperature you’d normally serve a red wine, but not quite as cold as a white.

Some like to practice the tradition of drinking their bottle of Beaujolais Nouveau before the New Year because it’s said to bring good luck for the following year.

Drink this vintage in 2012

for luck in…

Beaujolais Nouveau is not serious wine per se. It’s light, fruity and often lacking in complexity compared to most other wines. However, it can be perfectly enjoyable. I find it’s a great wine for newbie red wine drinkers. The tannins are minimal, which is often what inhibits inexperienced wine drinkers from enjoying reds. Tannins come from the skins, the stems and a seeds when a wine is fermenting. It creates that drying sensation on the tongue when you drink it. Tea also has tannins. Think about drinking a cup of black tea. It’s the same sensation. However, you’ll hardly ever notice the tannins in a Beaujolais. That’s why I call it the perfect “bridge” wine when I’m moving people along the spectrum of wine enjoyment.

And lastly, let’s pronounce it correctly:


It surprises me every time I hear someone talking about  BOO-jolais. Really? You would pronounce beau that way? C’mon, you know that word. If you pronounce beau like beau and not boo, you’ve got it. Congratulations! You are no longer drinking BOO-jolais!

Note: There is some speculation of a Beaujolais Nouveau shortage this year dear to Hurricane Sandy. The grapes are harvested, fermented and bottled within six to eight weeks. Then the wine is shipped around the world. I’m sure the hurricane has prevented the usual amount of Beaujolais Nouveau from arriving at normal release time due its unusual turnaround time for a wine..

So if you pick up a bottle of Beaujolais Nouveau this year, drink it with gratitude. And toast with me to a speedy recovery to all those affected by the hurricane.

Do you drink Beaujolais Nouveau?

If so, do you have a favorite producer?


Sparkling Beaujolais… & Giveaway Winners!


I do get the majority of my wine from The Traveling Vineyard. These boutique wines can’t be found in stores and are often 25-50% less than wines of the same quality. I’ve been spoiled; so it’s hard to find something as good at the same price point. {Plus, I’m helpin’ out the little guy. Love those small vineyards!} However, when a local wine shop had a sale on Sparkling Beaujolais, I had to jump on it. I just love me some bubbly and I didn’t know that Sparkling Beaujolais even existed!

First, a little lesson…

Let’s pronounce it correctly: BO-ZHO-LAY. It surprises me every time I hear someone talking about  BOO-jolais. Really? You would pronounce beau that way? C’mon, you know that word. If you pronounce beau like beau and not boo, you’ve got it. Congratulations! You are no longer drinking BOO-jolais! {Sorry, just a little pet peeve of mine.}

Beaujolais is a light, fruity red wine produced in the Beaujolais region of France. It is a made from the Gamay grape. Beaujolais Nouveau is released every November and should generally be consumed within six months to a year. They are meant to be drunk young and are simple, easy-drinking wines.

However, there are Beaujolais wines produced with depth and character. These wines can even benefit from some time in the bottle. However, that is not what we’re talking about here. Not at all. I knew that the Sparkling Beaujolais I purchased would be a simple, easy-drinking, quaffing wine, but with that bit of bubbly that I love so much…

Mommessin Gamay Fizz – a sparkling Beaujolais

I expected the wine to be pink, even though it’s made with red grapes. I don’t know why I was expecting a rosé. Maybe because Gamay is a thin-skinned grape? Maybe because many true Champagnes are made partially with Pinot Noir, also a thin-skinned grape.

But look at that gorgeous red deep purple color!

Because I like my bubbly with spicy food {the effervescence cleanses the palate with each sip}, we paired it with a Cajun sausage pasta that I made. {Yes, I do cook, not just eat out!}

Sparkling Beaujolais with Cajun Sausage Pasta

But the pairing didn’t work. The wine tasted like bubbly grape juice.

I know. Wine is made from grapes.

However, wine does not taste like grape juice. You know, the sweet concord stuff? Yes, that is what this tasted like.


I know that at only 9% alcohol, I shouldn’t have expected much {most wines are between 11 – 15%}.

Still, The Traveling Vineyard‘s Fissata is only 5.5% alcohol and tastes much better.

Fissata Italian “red” Bubbly {darker than a rosé, but not as red as the Sparkling Beaujolais}

While I prefer drier wines, the Fissata is sweet, so I don’t drink it very often. However, I’ve always appreciated it for what it is. And it does nottaste like sparkling grape juice. It’s got character. I’d much rather offer the Fissata to guests. {It doesn’t hurt that it has such a cute label, either!} Unfortunately, the Fissata is unavailable until this fall. Luckily, I still have a bottle on hand for any sweet wine-drinking friends who may pop in…

Furthermore, I tweeted about the Sparkling Beaujolais the night that I opened it. My cousin tweeted back: “French Lambrusco?” Honestly, it’s been so long since I’ve had Lambrusco, that I can’t really compare. Actually, I think the Sparkling Beaujolais was much sweeter than Lambrusco, but also much more bubbly. Think Grape Juice + Sprite. Hey, I could make that myself. Better yet, I’d make Sangria instead.

What wine have you had that surprised you? (Good or Bad?)

And don’t worry. I didn’t forget! Lastly, the winners of the Wine Accessory Package Giveaway are:

Corkscrew, Set of 3 Acrylic Pourers, Stainless Steel Foil Cutter, and Crystal Cleansing Cloth

Mer and Kat!

Ladies, email me with your shipping information at Uncommon Wine at yahoo.  Thanks to all those who participated in the giveaway!