Saturday, November 17, 2007

TN: 2007 Jean Bererd et Fils Beaujolais-Villages Nouveau Domaine de la Madone Le Perréon

The Story: I became aware of the Beaujolais nouveau phenomenon only a few weeks ago. As November 15, the third Thursday of November, approached, I could not go a day without reading a blog post, a newspaper article, or a message board topic about the arrival of 2007 B.N. I decided that if I wanted to learn about wine, I had better participate in the B.N. party.

I went to Astor Wines and Spirits to select my Beaujolais nouveau. The store had a nice selection of B.N. along with tasting notes from a (supposed) blind tasting the employees did. Among the B.N. at Astor, the only name I knew of was Georges Duboeuf, and since I have made it a personal rule to never buy a bottle of wine that looks like a candy wrapper, Duboeuf was out of the question. That left me with a bunch of B.N. ranging from about $9 to $16, so I did what any newbie would do and put my trust into the Astor employees, selecting the B.N. that had scored best in their blind tasting, the Domaine de la Madone. Of course, this wine was the $16 B.N., which made me wonder how blind the blind tasting was, but I purchased the wine anyway.

The Region: Beaujolais, France (duh). Beaujolais is actually located within the Burgundy region. Beaujolais-Villages is in the northern part of the Beaujolais region. Domaine de la Madone on Google Maps

The Grape: Gamay. The Gamay grapes that go into B.N. are fermented for just a few weeks, which is a very short time.

The Look: Very light purple. Translucent.

The Aroma: If one was to ferment a bag of Skittles, you would probably end up with a concoction that smells just like this wine. The aroma smells of artificial cherries, with hints of other candy-like fruit flavors.

The Swish: With the candy aroma, I expect this wine to taste extremely fruity, and in the artificial fruit flavor way, not the delicious fruit bomb way. To my surprise, this wine is not overly fruity at all; even more surprising given that it is a Beaujolais nouveau, which by name I assumed was always ultra fruity. In the first few tastes, I identify mostly cherries (real, not artificial).

Strangely, I also taste banana, which I notice in a surprising number of red wines, most notably young Old World Pinot Noirs. Banana is an odd description for red wine, so I cannot help but wonder if I am just confused by another flavor in the wine that I identify as bananas. Whatever it is, it's not a bad taste, just another flavor to add complexity to the wine.

The wine is light-bodied with a decent finish. It does not blow me away by any means, but it is a nice wine.

The Verdict: Eventually, I stopped trying to determine the flavor notes in this Beaujolais Nouveau. The wine is enjoyable and nothing more, but I realize that that's what B.N. is all about. No one is ever going to call B.N. the greatest wines, but a nice B.N. is a great wine to quaff with friends. I will not go out of my way to buy another 2007 B.N., but I will definitely seek out a B.N. on Nov. 20, 2008. While I am sure that this wine is a superb example of B.N., I do not think that B.N. is ever worth paying $16 for, so I will probably scratch Jean Bererd off the list for 2008 unless the Dollar gains some ground on the Euro in time for the crop of 2008 Beaujolais nouveau.

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