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james suckling uncorked

The Curse of Beaujolais Nouveau


Posted: Nov 16, 2006 4:21pm ET

I just dropped a Zantac. Heartburn. Burping. Sour stomach. It must be Beaujolais Nouveau.

Luckily, I was only tasting. If I had to drink a glass or two of the stuff ….

It’s always been a little like that. I remember living in Paris when the raw, young wines would come out on the market and I felt inclined to drink some of the year’s newest wine. It was always a question of how bad you were going to feel the next morning. With each glass, you would ask yourself: How much is this stuff going to hurt me? Occasionally, it didn’t, but that was usually in exceptional years. I think in 2005 I felt OK the day after.

Unfortunately, 2006 is not an exceptional year. In fact, I would say it is not even an average one. As much as wine producers in Beaujolais say otherwise, the vintage was a difficult one. Wet and poor weather for most of August and a mixed September resulted in weak, sometimes unripe grapes. And it shows in the Nouveau.

Here’s my advice. If you feel the need to drink some Nouveau tonight, this is my list of what is going to hurt you the least: Bouchard-Aîné & Fils, Labouré-Roi, Jean Bererd & Fils Le Perréon Domaine de la Madone, Domaine de Bel-Air and Joël Rochette.

Otherwise, why not celebrate the Nouveau by drinking something else?

Trevor Witt
Waterloo, Ontario, Canada —  November 16, 2006 8:31pm ET
James...Given the extraordinary prices( and quality i hope) of the 1st/2nd growths' for 2005, how do you think quality will compare 2005 to 2006? Living here in Ontario, Canada the LCBO priced 2005 futures through the roof (i still bought though!. thanks.Trev Witt
James Brown
Kingwood, TX —  November 16, 2006 9:58pm ET
Yup. I tried a Pierre-Marie Chermette Domaine du Vissoux and found it to be lackluster compared to last year's wine. There wasn't a lot of fruit, and it finished flat. This wine won't climb any ratings charts, but it was enjoyable with a pasta covered with puttanesca sauce, followed by an Advil chaser.
Peter Czyryca
November 17, 2006 8:54am ET
I'd like to see MD 20/20 tasted blind next to Boone's and the Nouveau. What would come out ahead? Dont discount the MD 20/20 Fruit Punch!
William Newell
Buffalo, NY —  November 17, 2006 11:08am ET
I can't comment on the 2006 Nouveau, but have had some very good ones...especially one out of the barrel at the farmhouse of a small grower/ producer in Beaujolais about a decade ago. I've had some BN almost every year since the mid-seventies and have had no bad after-effects.

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