Beaujolais Nouveau is that fun, bubble gum flavoured wine which boasts to be the first wine of the year to make it to market from Europe.
So what is all the fuss about? The grape variety that goes into making the traditional red Beaujolais Nouveau is that of Gamay. This can make soft fruit wines to mid to full bodied wines. As Gamay is light in tannins, it makes it easy to make young wines that do not require time in oak or bottle before being released. I am not saying that Gamay should not be barrel or bottle aged, but when making this light, fruit-driven wine style - Gamay is ideal.
So as we look to buy the Nouveau (permitted to be sold from the third Thursday of November), we look to the vintage reports to give us a guide as to how it will taste this year.
What has happened in the vineyard? Again we are seeing signs of climate change having an affect on the vintage. The harvest started very early this year (on August 25th); the earliest since the droughts and heatwave of 2003. Luckily, the weather changed at the end of August bringing some rain and cooler temperatures to the vineyards.
Overall, August proved to be very dry and sunny and with warm winds blowing up from the Rhone. This lead to some grapes becoming burnt and therefore, unusable. This in turn, has meant that the yields are down in terms of volume of juice, but the juice that has been made has great depth and concentration.
Philippe Bardet, from Maison Jean Loron, has informed me that the juice is very tasty with intense red berry fruits. So, despite this chaotic and unexpected year, Philipe is delighted with the vintage result.