Every third Thursday in November, France celebrate its favorite wine-drinking holiday: Beaujolais Nouveau harvest!! In towns like Beaujeu and Lyon within the AOC of Beaujolais, the stroke of 12 midnight on November 15th will signal the official release of Beaujolais Nouveau – the just-made, fruity, Gamay meant for easy and copious consumption. Giant barrels will be rolled into the town squares and free wine will be poured for everyone for a night of drinking and dancing!
Unfortunately we’re rather far from France and no one has responded to my Craigslist ad for a free barrel of Gamay that we could roll onto 18th Street, so we’ll have to celebrate the fall harvest in a slightly more tempered manner. Regardless, we are excited to announce the arrival of our Beaujolais Nouveau here in the store, available tomorrow! Typically light and fruit forward, Beaujolais Nouveau is meant to be drunk young and is an easy pairing with a variety of foods and occasions – especially Thanksgiving! Some Nouveau, especially from larger producers, tends to have unpleasant bubblegum or banana qualities; we’ve steered clear of those, and the small producers listed below have crafted great examples of high quality Beaujolais Nouveau.
Jean Foillard is one of the star natural winemakers in Beaujolais. His Cru Beaujolais are some of the most sought after in the region, in part due to his prime real estate with vineyards on the famed Cote-du-Py hillside. He and three other well-known Beaujolais producers – Marcel Lapierre, Jean-Paul Thevenet, and Guy Breton – are known as the ‘Gang of Four’ and are responsible for a return to traditionalist winemaking techniques. These include using old vines, farming organically, sorting the grapes vigorously, using only native yeasts, and applying minimal to no added sulfur. The resulting wines are a much more classic expression of Beaujolais, and his Nouveau maintains great complexity. It’s light in body, with bright cherry aromas, and a hint of earthiness and tart red fruit.
Perfect Pairing: Roasted Delicata squash with pomegranate seeds
Domaine Dupueble has existed since 1512 and has been passed from one generation to the next with the most recent heir, Damien Dupueble and his wife running the winery. Damien first established a relationship with importer Kermit Lynch in the 1980s when they began bottling Kermit’s Beaujolais Nouveau. This wine is made with the utmost care, from organically grown grapes, and is vinified with native yeasts and minimally added sulfur. The grapes are coming mostly from granite soils and this stony minerality definitely shines through. Deep, dark fruit flavors like blackberries and blueberries give this Nouveau slightly more weight than you might expect, but it’s still light and easily quaff-able.
Perfect Pairing: Nufenen cheese (pictured below!)
Cyril Alonso may as well be a fifth addition to the ‘Gang of Four’. He’s very close with them and his winemaking philosophies and techniques are right in line with his more well-known colleagues. Cryil is a negociant in Beaujolais, meaning he buys grapes from other growers rather than owning his own land. Despite not having his own vineyard, he’s able to source grapes from some of the most interesting plots in Beaujolais. This bottling comes from a small vineyard in the village of Lantignie that dates back to 1904! Cyril ferments this wine in cement tanks using native yeasts and minimal added sulfur. It’s a wine with dark fruit flavors like brambly, wild blackberries and a bit of a spicy backbone.
Perfect Pairing: Farro with kale, cranberries, and pumpkin seeds (from our kitchen!)
The coming of winter signals the arrival of our favorite French and Swiss Alpine cheeses, so we’re celebrating them all month. We’re excited for the batches and wheels arriving now since they were made from the milk of cows grazing on sweet, spring and summer Alpine grasses and flowers. Nufenen hails from Grisons, the eastern-most part of Switzerland, and is produced by a small cooperative of 22 small dairy farmers. It has the aromas of buttery biscuits and a sweet and supple paste with small eyes. Perfect alongside a glass of Beaujolais Nouveau. Come in and ask us for a taste!