• Well the holidays have come and gone. I probably should have written about Christmas or at the very least the bubbles for the New Year, but I was just too busy enjoying vacation, friends, family and afore mentioned bubbles. I’ve made a new year’s resolution to attend more wine tastings. I promise to take pictures and tell you all about it, but in the meantime I think we should talk about Beaujolais.

    Located in the far west side of France, Beaujolais is a wine region in the region Burgundy in France. They use the ol’ style of wine making, and no I’m not talking about pruno like they make in prison. I’m talking about the pulping the grapes into juice, add some yeast in a vat or barrel and throw in a lot of love. Stir the magical concoction and *poof* wine.

    In addition to this traditional method they also use a second method called carbonic maceration. This is where it gets rather fun. Carbonic maceration is where the harvesters take extra care when picking the grapes being careful not to break the skins on the grapes. Then the grapes are placed in a tank that is filled with carbon dioxide causing the juice to ferment separately in each grape. This method of fermentation is intracellular whereas the traditional method is extracellular. Often the weight of the grapes can crush those unfortunate enough to reside beneath the mound (although I have no proof to back it up, I bet that some vintners use long shallow tanks instead of deep ones to avoid this.) Those squashed fruit balls end up goin’ traditional making it a mixed fermentation.

    They use the ol’ style of wine making, and no I’m not talking about pruno like they make in prison.

    This unique style gives the wine a fresher much more immediately approachable palate. Which brings me to Beaujolais Nouveau. Nouveau (new) is made by some producers as a bright fruity wine almost more reminiscent of juice than wine. The kicker is this: the wine takes six weeks to make from harvest to bottle. The most celebrated fastest wine in the world even gets its own holiday Beaujolais Nouveau Day on the third Thursday of November. The wine makers often use this quick money to fund the rest of the year’s wine making, bottling, distribution and advertising.

    Despite being highly criticized by many wine drinkers as immature it definitely has achieved a huge cult following with people waiting in line or throwing parties to celebrate the first wine of the vintage. One thing that all critics generally agree on is that Beaujolais Nouveau is a great Litmus test as to the quality of the vintage for other regions in France.

    A frustration of mine is that because of this distinct style for Nouveau wine, the rest of Beaujolais gets characterized in peoples minds as this same style. There are Cru Beaujolais that need at least a few years in bottle, and produce some amazing medium to full bodied wines. Moulin-a-Vent and Morgon are the most prevalent examples. The benefit of this name tarnishing is that Beaujolais wines of this caliber are far less expensive than they otherwise would’ve been. I’m okay with that.

    So contrary to a lot of wine drinkers I like the Nouveau, and I love the Cru Beaujolais. Next time you’re out to eat and you contemplate a Pinot see if they have any Beaujolais..

    -Jonathan Hood