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I Love French Wine and Food - A 2007 Beaujolais Nouveau
Beaujolais Nouveau, the French red wine that arrives just in time for Thanksgiving, is a major marketing success. This wine is released for sale at one minute past midnight on the third Thursday in November. In the next 24 hours over one million cases will be sold. During the coming year, consumers all over the world will buy over 65 million bottles. Approximately 4 million bottles are exported to the United States, and 7 million to Japan and to Germany. On the downside millions of bottles of last year's production was destroyed prior to the release of the 2007 crop.
New wines are usually colored bright red or violet. They tend to be fruity, tasting of cherry, strawberry, raspberry, banana, and freshly squeezed grapes, depending on the grape variety used, the production method, and the area in which the grapes are grown. Detractors talk about bubble gum, lollipops, nail polish, and jello. Many feel that new wine tastes of grape juice with alcohol. One thing is certain; if you don't like a given new wine, don't store it away to try it again in two years. It won't improve with time.
Let me present a few tidbits of information before reviewing one of the best Beaujolais Nouveau wines. This wine comes from Beaujolais region of southeastern France and is made from the Gamay grape, which was kicked out of the world-famous, neighboring Burgundy region in 1395. By law, all grapes must be picked by hand in the Beaujolais region. Champagne is the only other region of France that forbids mechanical harvesting. While Beaujolais Nouveau was first regulated in 1938, it dates back to ancient times when a somewhat similar wine was produced for slaves. History does not record their reaction. Let's take a look at mine.
Before reviewing the Beaujolais Nouveau wine and imported cheeses that we purchased at a local wine store and a local imported food store, here a few suggestions of what to eat with such wine: Start with Salade Frisee aux Lardons (Curly Lettuce and Bacon Salad). For your second course savor Pot au Feu (Short Ribs with Bone Marrow). And as dessert indulge yourself with Poires pochees au Miel (Pears poached in Honey).
OUR WINE REVIEW POLICY All wines that we taste and review are purchased at the full retail price.
Wine Reviewed Mommessin Beaujolais Nouveau 2007 12% about $13.50 I bought this bottle a few days after the release of the 2007 Beaujolais Nouveau (November 15, 2007) along with a more expensive French offering and an Italian Vino Novello, (new wine) a quite similar Italian rendition. In what I hope is not a policy change my supplier did not include any marketing materials. Here are another supplier's comments: Crisp and enjoyable ' bright cherry and berry flavors, with enough tannins to stand up to richer foods. And now for my reactions.
My first pairing of this wine involved prepackaged eggplant parmigiana to which I added a lot of grated Parmesan cheese. The first thing that hit me was the taste of bubble gum, more or less dominating everything else. The wine was pleasant but not much else. I can't help but think about 1970s parties where people were younger and the wine was almost inconsequential.
The next meal consisted of slow cooked beef stew with potatoes. Now the wine had some black cherry and apple flavors but the bubble gum was still present, although not dominant. This Beaujolais Nouveau was moderately acidic and of medium length.
Then I tried this wine with breaded fried chicken breast slices, potato patties, and Turkish salad. The wine seemed a bit rounder than before. My paucity of comments is due, at least in part, to the wine's paucity of presence. Like it almost wasn't there.
The first cheese was a German Emmenthaler (Swiss-type) that is starting to age. The wine was fairly thin, but some fruit managed to poke itself out and guess what, there was no bubble gum at all. The change may have happened when the wine aged in the bottle for a few days. One could do a semi-scientific experiment to test this hypothesis with another bottle of this wine. Not a chance. Then I continued with a French goat cheese that has become older than necessary. The cheese rendered the wine almost tasteless. The wine was overwhelmed. I was underwhelmed.
Final verdict. Can you guess? Once again I was had. For this price one should be able to get something halfway decent. And yet as long as both yours truly and the Beaujolais Nouveau phenomenon are around I'll be tasting such wines.
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