Nouveau LCBO release 2012 – What to buy

Did you know that the third Thursday of November each year marks the annual release of Beaujolais Nouveau wines?  This is recognized worldwide, often celebrated with parties and festivities. That Thursday is today and the LCBO released 10 Nouveau wines this year  including some classic examples of Beaujolais Nouveau and some interesting Nouveau examples made form non traditional grape varieties.

For those that may not know Beaujolais Nouveau is a very unique style of wine.  Beaujolais is a sub-region in the Burgundy region of France.  Wines coming from this area are made from the Gamay grape variety.  More specifically Nouveau wines coming from Beaujolais are their own unique style made from an extremely short maceration and fermentation process. The goal is to release the wines to the market extremely quickly following the harvest.  Hence on the 3rd Thursday of November we are seeing the 2012 wines.  The result is a light and fruity wine, sometimes with a hint of residual sugar, and no ageing.  The wines are meant to be consumed young… otherwise known as immediately.

Some other regions in the world are now making Nouveau style wines, including a couple releases from right here in Ontario.  This year the LCBO releases 10 nouveau style wines.  Lucky for me (and by association lucky for you) I have tried all 10.  Nouveau style wines are amazingly simple, so I am going to keep this blog post amazingly simple.  Below you will find what wines you should try and which you should not.

The Fool, Reif Estate, Gamay Nouveau, VQA, Niagara Ontario – $9.95
Recommendation: Consider it
Why? An appealing dessert like nose with some nice fresh strawberry. Nice Cran/Cherry on the palate.

Chateau des Charmes Generation Seven Nouveau, VQA, Niagara Ontario – $11.95
Recommendation: Must try
Why? A very impressive palate. Possibly the most full bodied release that the LCBO offers this year.

Mommessin Beaujolais Nouveau, France – $13.95
Recommendation: Consider it
Why? Some nice acidity and decent length for a Beaujolais.  Even some soft pepper on the palate which was nice.

Catalans Primeur Syrah/Merlot, France – $9.95
Recommendation: Don’t bother
Why? Tasted and smelled like Banana medicine. You might like banana medicine, but not in your wine.

Jeanjean Syrah Primeur, France – $9.95
Recommendation: Consider it
Why? A bit too much bubblegum and candied fruit flavour, but a soft palate, nice finish, and easy drinking, which is enough to get a soft recommendation.

Duboeuf Gamay Nouveau, France – $8.95
Recommendation: Don’t bother
Why? Might be some value at $8.95, but very, very weak flavour.

Negrar Novello Del Veneto, Italy – $9.95
Recommendation: Don’t bother
Why? The bubblegum and candied flavours are far too strong.

Tollo Novello Rosso Terre di Chieti, Italy – $8.95
Recommendation: Must try
Why? Easily the best value of the group and one of the best wines.  Nice ruby colour with dark cherry and even some hints of smoke and pepper on the nose. Following that an impressive palate for $9.

Beaujolais Villages Nouveau, Joseph Drouhin, France (Vintages) – $14.95
Recommendation: Must try
Why? The most classic and typical Beaujolais of the group.  Candy and cherry on the nose  which carry through nicely on the palate.

Beaujolais Villages Nouveau, G. Duboeuf, France (Vintages) – $14.95
Recommendation: Consider it
Why? Likely priced a bit high but overall a pretty inviting wine and a fairly classic example of Beaujolais Nouveau.

**Caveat**
Personally Beaujolais Nouveau is not my first choice.  It is a bit too candied and light for me.  However I have reviewed all of these wines objectively leaving personal bias aside.  If you have never tried a Nouveau style I encourage you to do so.  They are very unique and worth at least sampling.

- Mark
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