Next month there are two wonderful opportunities to explore and enjoy a glass or two of something new: Beaujolais Nouveau Day and Thanksgiving Day. Deanna Albertson, manager of Vino Mas, is passionate about wine. This led her to pursue and achieve both Sommelier Level 1 and Certified Specialist of Wine (CSW) certifications, but ultimately, she just wants to help people enjoy wine. We asked her to tell us all about Beaujolais.
She explained that France does not label grape varietals, it labels areas. Burgundy, for example, is an area in which primarily chardonnay and pinot noir grapes become delightful red and white burgundies. Beaujolais is not a grape, it is a very small area in eastern France, just south of Burgundy, in which only gamay grapes are grown. Gamay grapes are thin skinned with low tannin, providing tasting notes that include pomegranate, blackberry bramble, violet, or potting soil. The Beaujolais region features three areas: one in which most of the grapes are used for Beaujolais Nouveau, another for Beaujolais Villages with granite and schist terroir increasing complexity, and the area north of the river, comprising 10 Crus, each with slightly different terroir and talented producers who work to coax unique flavors and aromas out of the single grape varietal.
Beaujolais Nouveau Day is the third Thursday of November, just a week before Thanksgiving. The Beaujolais released on this day is fresh, fruity, and unaged, best enjoyed slightly chilled and within a year—serendipitous because it pairs beautifully with traditional Thanksgiving dishes. Menus include a variety of dishes featuring root vegetables, cranberries, and spice, which are not overwhelmed, but well-highlighted by the low tannin and acidity in a Beaujolais Nouveau. Anything you’d pair with a Pinot Noir on this day will go equally well, if not better, with this wine.
If you want to truly broaden your Beaujolais palate, explore wine from the Crus—all presenting with a more complex, dusty taste profile but remaining quite food-friendly and pairing well with light, spicy, fruity flavors.
In the world of wine, the more you learn, the less you know, so take a visit to Vino Mas soon for a class, a tasting, or just peruse the selection and try something new.
I have always enjoyed a nice glass of Beaujolais now and then. I didn’t know any of this and definitely wouldn’t have thought to chill it.
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