It is here, accompanied by some serious hype from its most famous producer, Georges Debeouf. The 2011 Beajolais Nouveau has landed everywhere (officially on November 17 this year), with some splashy debut events in New York, Washington, DC, Atlanta, Chicago and Los Angeles, but almost nary a mention in the Philadelphia area, with the exception of the city's Midtown Village neighborhood marshalling its retailers and bars to offer the wine along its main 13th Street corridor. There has been barely a whisper about it here in central NJ. That saddens me a bit. I can remember when Nouveau's arrival was a lighthearted day of celebration.
This year Debeouf has proclaimed the wine to be "bursting with berries", so it's time to find out and taste this year's vintage.
HUGE blackberry and strawberry in the nose. It practically leaps out of the glass! Mouth feel is thin, but full of strawberries, blackberries and raspberries at the very first taste, with plenty of earth at the end, some dryness, too, and a noticeable absence of the usual green/vine notes of previous years. This is still a good light quaff, with just enough dryness to pair beautifully with buttery mashed potatoes, gravy topped turkey, herby stuffing, even that green bean casserole. I actually think that this year's wine will enhance the Thanksgiving meal and amplify the traditional flavors. Debeouf is accurate: it is indeed "bursting with berries," especially when your first inhale its aromas in the glass, but it definitely has enough backbone to carry through the entire Turkey Day feast, from snacks and munchies before dinner (think mild cheese and crackers, salumi, almonds, pumpkin or butternut squash soup, bruschetta, stuffed breads, focaccia, radishes) to every savory bite of the meal.
Even though I didn't get to sample a glass until now, the wait was worth it, and this year's Beaujolais Nouveau portends a great year for 2011 vintage Beaujolais wines. And a very tasty Thanksgiving Day wine pairing. Buy enough Nouveau for the weekend; it ought to taste just as good with a weekend of leftovers, sandwiches and turkey salad!