Like the holidays at which it traditionally is quaffed, this year's Beaujolais Nouveau, the fresh new wine from the French region of that name, won't be around long. The 2011 was released on Nov. 17, the third Thursday of that month being its official debut date, and it is meant to be drunk while young and bumptious, the product of very short fermentation. It is thought by many to be a taste of what might be when the mature, aged gamay wines of the region eventually come to market.
In some years the hype surrounding the grapey wine's release runs well ahead of the product, but this year the juvenile wine is something to shout about. We sampled the Georges Duboeuf bottling (about $10 at supermarkets, liquor stores and wine shops while it lasts) and found it to be more robust than the rather thin offerings of off years. If it is in fact a preview, things look good for the 2011 Beaujolais vintage.
The nose is as fruity as they come, with grapes, blackberry and a light spice edge this year. On the tongue the fruit is big and rambunctious, compounded largely of undisguised grapes, blackberry, a little ripe strawberry and a smidge of cinnamon. Overall it offers a nice balance and the promise of good structure in the mature wine.
Pair it with pizza, a BLT or a burger with the works, or splash it around liberally at holiday parties.
By Colette and John Bancroft. She is the Times' book editor, and he is a freelance writer specializing in food, wine and travel. For an index and archive of reviews, go to pictograph.com.