In recent years, five weeks of episodes from late November until January have inaugurated a series of Big Kahuna Days for certain elitist wine enthusiasts.Traditionally, to be precise, from November 21st, until a New Year is born again, the seasonal crush of French Beaujolais has effectively introduced a kind of international feeding frenzy at certain high ticket hostelries, au currant resorts and other trendy enclaves of our First World.All it has taken to indulge such taster status at this admirable level of cask and carry, is to be on the right wine steward/purveyor’s “A” list and possess the where-with-all to induce right of passage past the keepers of the velvet rope.For those less familiar with a promotion which now threatens to span continents this singular crushin/corkin of a definitive French Gamay grape harvest, invites not only closer examination, but also a more realistic understanding which better serves the year ahead wine consumer’s expectations.Regard, then, the vintage Appellation Beaujolais.
Lilting. Melodious. A name to conjure visions of terraced, sun drenched slopes.
Languid. Lovely. encounters. Shared companionships of laughter, talk and tastes commingled in the play of light through a reflective rougir goblet.
Beau (elegant) joie (delight.). ? Perhaps.
Or as the late renowned wine authority, Roy Andries de Groot commented, “Beaujolais represents a dream a dream by millions of people who have never been there!”
Nevertheless, very few who actually quenched their enthusiasm for the wine at its source have failed to enjoy, profoundly, the new pressed, ripe strawberry colored, white juice from black grape extractions of the Gamay Noir da Jus Blanc.
However, anyone in that league is apt to be more than aware they are quaffing a very young wine.
In fact the production of Nouveau Beaujolais is so restricted under French federal law, and label, that a new Beaujolais, generally picked in the final days of September, or first of October, can only go on sale legally at midnight November 15th of the same year.
After that, the wine is dead!! We do mean D.O.A. as the clock chimes “12″ on New Year’s Eve.
To pour a wine with bouquet, lightness, color, brilliance and the exquisite delicate taste identified with true local Nouveau Beaujolais in such a restricted time frame is a task demanding incredibly difficult viticultural and vinicultural cooperative skills.
The factors impressed upon the final product can be, and are, as variable as a not uncommon local practice of a partially crushing of the harvest in the vineyard, (microclimate permitting) over the Gamay growth on Region II’s lower slopes which are south of Region I with its well drained calcareous Pinot noir bearing Cote d’Or soils.
Carbonic maceration and closed container suffocation of the grapes prior to yeast fermentation, all then become identified with the flavor of this early maturing, fruity, light red wine.
It is a combined art of reason plus region applied to experienced specialization that dominates every responsible reference to Nouveau Beaujolais, presumed exclusivity… and not surprisingly, its uncommon desirability.
Unfortunately, like a mountain wild flower torn from its high meadow, the N.B.’s lingering aftertaste when subjected to international distribution can be simply, and sadly, stated:
This product don’t travel worth a damn!
The evidence that this wine will start refermenting in the bottle has and will continue to beget disasters such as frothing at the mouth, blowing its cork, and throwing deposit tantrums through its gassy exhalation.
Why a lovely local wine, so enjoyable at its source should be ruined for the sake of promotion and profit begs an explanation.
With candor Aesop said it best. “It’s the nature of the beast.”
No secret that the image of dreams is our blood and flesh of commerce, and in the trade it won’t come cheap.
It might be timely to reflect here upon that remarkable Gaelic author Collett. She who introduced us to “Gigi” and who cautioned her character to recognize the authenticity of a diamond, ruby, sapphire or emerald.
“Never” she wrote, “Let them give you a cameo!”
Typically, in her dying hours, Collett asked to be driven south from her home in Paris to see her “Beloved Beaujolais.”
There in an archway of a great maison, she watched the Gamay harvest, she so loved.
Collett traveled to the source.
Only the genuine article was worthy of her respect.
There is a kind of poignancy that her profound wisdom is not around today to enlighten the integrity of certain international wine distributors.
The would be Nouveau Beaujolais cameo consumer could learn a trick or two.
Copyright PENS 4th. S. T8 ®.
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