Today is the third Thursday of November! Today is the day that Beaujolais Nouveau emerges from the temporary storage rooms of French wineries and makes its way around the globe, bringing joy to wine lovers (then leaving them with terrible, terrible hangovers on the third Friday in November).
Oh, Beaujolais Nouveau…some people hate it a lot, some people hate it a little. I don’t know anyone who would say that they love the wine. For me, BN is 75% about the celebration, 25% about the wine. But I’m getting ahead of myself — let me take a minute to let Wikipedia explain exactly what BN is…
Beaujolais Nouveau is a red wine made from Gamay grapes produced in the Beaujolais region of France. It is the most popular vin de primeur, fermented for just a few weeks before being released for sale on the third Thursday of November. Beaujolais Nouveau is intended for immediate drinking. The wines show definite variation between vintages, and as such are eagerly awaited as a first indicator of the quality of the year’s regional wine harvest.
By law, all grapes in the region must be harvested by hand, reflecting the practice of making wine using carbonic maceration (whole berry fermentation) which emphasizes fruit flavors without extracting bitter tannins from the grape skins. The wine is then pasteurized to prevent secondary malolactic fermentation and is ready to drink just 6–8 weeks after the harvest.
If you want to read more about BN, this article from Slate is a great (though slightly dated) read.
So, what can I say about the 2012 BN vintage? We picked up a bottle of Domaine Dupeuble (the BN imported by Kermit Lynch), Domaine de la Madone (a BN Villages), and Paul Durdilly (the cork on this one isn’t fully shoved into the bottle, perhaps showing the haste with which it was bottled). We popped two to sample today, which we’ll compare with the third tomorrow. And…they’re fine, but I couldn’t wait to have a glass of Vina Borgia boxed wine afterward. It tasted even better than usual.
This is a great opportunity for me to talk about our new favorite local wine store, Red Feet Wine Market & Spirit Provisions in Ithaca, where we got our three bottles of BN this year. Red Feet has a carefully selected, affordable range of wines. It’s the kind of place where you feel you couldn’t possibly make a bad pick, because everything in the store is delicious.
The staff is friendly, authentic, approachable, and well-informed. They don’t want to just ring up your bottle, they want to help you find a bottle that you’ll enjoy. This is one huge improvement over our old Chicago favorite, Binny’s, where we mostly tried to avoid the staff, because they’d tell us things like “they don’t make wines that are 100% from one grape” (FYI, Binny’s guy — they do, and it says so right on the label).
Red Feet assembles wine grab bags each month — 6 bottles of wine for about $60 (this month there are three options in honor of Thanksgiving). These are fantastic. We picked one up on one of our first days in town and it made our move-in and unpacking process happy. Very happy.
Another thing I love: the errand runner’s discount, which could also be called the self-employed person’s discount. Shop M-F between 12-2pm and you get 15% off all wine purchases, on top of any other discounts.
I am totally in love with this place. I can’t wait to go back (but no more BN for me — this year).