The regulations in Beaujolais famously allow the new wine to be released for sale on the third Thursday of November following the vintage. This gave rise to a strange international marketing gimmick, whereby it became fashionable to drink the new Beaujolais on the first day possible. In the old days, legend has it, merchants would load up their vans just after midnight from the cellars in Beaujolais, and drive (and ferry) through the night to have the Nouveau available in their stores in London and Paris in the morning of Beaujolais Nouveau day. These days, wines ship around the world in advance, and are placed on the shelves on Beaujolais day. And these days, there is not so much interest: most people have realized that the typical Beaujolais Nouveau is a simple, lacklustre wine, mostly not worth the hype nor the price.
Still it can be fun to try, as if saluting the recent vintage; and it is certainly fun to find a good one. Cédric Vincent’s Beaujolais Nouveau 2010, is one of those rare finds.
There is something beautiful and appealing about the bright purple robe of a young Beaujolais, almost blue at the rim; the nose is raw and immediate, the fruit still primary juicy, and still hints of the magical stink of fermentation; in the mouth, this tastes, as it should, like freshly fermented grapes; it has balance, but doesn’t yet have the harmony and integration of a properly matured wine. Still, it manages to have charm, and a strong adolescent personality that grabs your attention. Juicy, bright boysenberry and elderberry, tangy fruit, and barely any of the caricatured bubblegum confected aromas of many nouveaux; silky and mellow, yet with that fresh berry acidity that makes your mouth water for more. The tannins are light, yet present and just grippy enough, in a youthful way, to give an interesting structure. This is a rare example of Beaujolais Nouveau that is delicious, engaging and worth drinking; in some ways, it is like a barrel-sample of greater wine, captured in a bottle. A classic example of ultra-young gamay, in a pure, transparent, yet modern style, whose character meets the contemporary need for Beaujolais to deliver quality, not just novelty.
A really delicious wine; but in a style that is sometimes hard to fit into modern life. This bottle of Château Rieussec 1998 was showing beautifully. It was in that stage of life of a Sauternes where it has clearly benefited from a decade in bottle, harmonising, complexing, mellowing, starting to move away from youthful fruitiness; and yet it still tastes very much like a young wine, bright, juicy, honeyed, intense, lush. It is pretty powerful for a Sauternes, big and bold, but with plenty of balance to avoid any sense of cloyingness.