Monday, November 22, 2010

2010 Wine Harvest Celebrated With Arrival of Beaujolais Nouveau

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For wine lovers, the third Thursday of November holds a special place in their hearts. On that day the Beaujolais Nouveau is released and it is greeted with fanfare and celebration. A band of 30 vino fans gathered at Walt Churchill’s Market (Maumee) to celebrate the occasion with several different bottlings of BN and a hearty traditional French dish.

The wine, produced from Gamay grapes located in the southern part of France’s Burgundy region, is a special category. The wines are only seven to nine weeks old, quite a contrast to your typical red wines which are aged for months and then released the following year or in some cases even longer. These wines typically sell in the neighborhood of $10 to $15.

This is a celebration of the harvest that has endured as long as humans have cultivated grapes – and wine manager Austin Beeman was front and center during the event at Walt Churchill’s Market pouring wine and explaining the traditions. The Beaujolais is fresh and fruity and made to be consumed young. To accompany the wine we were treated to cassoulet – a white bean and meat stew with over a thousand years of history.

This wasn’t a wine tasting per se. Really, how do you compare wines that are only weeks old? It was more of a wine party with friends new and old. The cassoulet, as Austin related’ is a traditional French dish said to be served to Crusaders headed to the Holy Land. The dish is “maximum calories in minimum bites.” The exact recipe wasn’t shared, but there was plentiful meat (lamb? pork?) plus white b

We sampled BN wines from Georges Dubeouf, Bouchard Aine & Fils, Domaine Rochette and Joseph Drouhin. Glorious T and Green Dragon gave the nod to Maison Drouhin as having the best of the Beaujolais.

This is a very light and obviously young wine. There are no tannin flavors at all. It shouldn’t be stored and should be avoided if you see it on the shelves after the first of the year. This is a wine that could accompany your Thanksgiving turkey, although a nice Pinot Noir works great as well.

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