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Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Tuesday Review: Albert Bichot Beaujolais Nouveau & Villages

Albert Bichot Beaujolais
Nouveau & Villages, $9.99/750ml
By John Barecki with Doug Dorda

Le Beaujolais Nouveau est arrivé! If you were to be in France on the third Thursday in November, you would see banners proclaiming the arrival of the Beaujolais Nouveau. It's a harvest fest, of sorts, for the first wine made with the year's first grape harvest.

Beaujolais Nouveau is as close to a white wine as a red can get. The astringent tannins, common in most reds, are extremely low in these wines, leaving it fruity and almost too easy to drink. The wine is produced from Gamay, a grape that on its own produces a wine with high acidity because of stress on the vines caused by an alkaline rich soil. The carbonic maceration method (fermentation within the skins of whole grapes) combined with a three-week aging process brings out a heightened fruit character, but because of the young age, this wine is one you'll want to drink within a year...with a few exceptions. There are some that can be aged for up to three years. These are called Beaujolais Villages and are made with a slightly higher quality grape produced in only one area of the Beaujolais region.

No matter the level—Nouveau or Villages—these wines are always a treat for the food-heavy holidays. At Siciliano's, we currently have two different versions for you to take home, both are good, both are $9.99/750ml, and both are made by Albert Bichot. 

The Albert Bichot Beaujolais Villages has a deeper vinous character, showing a little more acidity. It's more cherry-like in flavor and has a dryer palate but is still quite easy to drink and will go great with meals.

Now, here's our own Doug Dorda with a review of the Nouveau.

The Beaujolais Nouveau from Albert Bichot should be considered a wonderful addition to any holiday feast. I found this playful wine to pour a brilliant candy red that, when tilted, reminded me of strawberry fields in the height of summer. There is a luminance that shines from within the wine that is simply “golden” and truly sets the stage for autumnal enjoyment.

Aromas of freshly picked fruits positively jump from the glass, and lightly cracked peppercorn mingled with freshly zested orange appear as though hidden, but seeking to be found. (At this point in my tasting I had begun to drool over a cheese plate, you may imagine why.)

The first sip is like gorging on a fruit salad, utterly loaded with all the nuance of mango, vine-ripened grape, cantaloupe, and the soft lingering presence of cherry. A contrast is provided to the wine by a young and perhaps shy note of tannins. However, the tannins play well with the aforementioned flavors, and simply offer themselves up as a balancing act to the bouquet of fruits that predominate the flavor profile.

Some of you may be wondering if I found the wine to be dry or sweet. There is no simple answer to that riddle. Because of the bright fruits, I would regard this wine as lightly sweet. But accounting for the tannins that provide the contrasting finish, the wine may be awarded a semi-sweet designation. I would posit that you should judge for yourself. Bear in mind that I did not find the wine to be dry in the least.

Pairing this wine with foods just may be one of the more simple things you do this holiday season – Eating fish? Beaujolais. Having chocolate cake? Beaujolais. Frozen pizza? Beaujolais. You get the picture. For a wine that costs only $9.99, I personally feel that this wine belongs on every holiday table.

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