The 2021 Beaujolais Breakdown

By Aaron Winsor

Hello Prince Albert! Many of you have probably heard of Beaujolais Nouveau by this point and if not, it is a young, simple wine made by French winemakers out of 100% Gamay grapes at the end of harvest time to celebrate their endeavors. This wine is traditionally released on the third Thursday of November every year and that time is upon us once again!

This year in Prince Albert, we have the chance to try the Beaujolais Rose Nouveau from Georges Duboeuf. This is only the fourth vintage of the rose style and the first time it has been featured on the shelves in our fine city.

What makes Beaujolais special? This red (and rose) wine is very young and receives almost no aging time. The 100% Gamay grape wine is very fresh and is pressed, macerated and then filtered/fined before being stored in large stainless steel containers for a few weeks. After resting for a brief time, the wine is bottled and then promptly shipped around the world.

Young students around France will often have “Beaujolais parties” where they gather and buy several bottles to taste and share. The prices of this wine are incredibly affordable in France and bottles can often be found for a few Euros, making this a go-to for a fun, affordable get-together.

The other thing that makes Beaujolais special and gives it its unique fruity taste and style is the fermentation method used to make it known as carbonic maceration. Things will get a bit technical here: the grapes are placed in a large stainless steel tank in whole bunches, meaning the grapes are still on the stem and have not been separated from the skins. The air is completely removed from the tank and the grapes are allowed to sit at a cooler temperature.

After some time, fermentation begins to take place at the very center of the grape moving outwards towards the skin. As the skins of the grapes split, the juice interacts with the yeast left on the skin and fermentation accelerates until all the sugars of the grape have been converted to alcohol or the yeast dies off. The resulting fermented grape juice (now wine) is then packed full of fruity esters with an intensely smooth flavor.

Once the juice has been converted to wine, the wine is drained from the tank to be fined and filtered and then it is stored at a cool temperature in stainless steel tanks to rest before bottling and shipping.

Beaujolais Nouveau is meant to be drank young and fresh and will not benefit at all from aging. Grab a bottle and check it out! We currently have three reds and one rose to explore in PA so get some friends together and have fun! Here are my wine picks of the week!   

Joseph Drouhin Beaujolais Nouveau Primeur 2021: (AOC Beaujolais Nouveau, France). Dry red, deep violet color. High intensity on the nose with freshly crushed cherries and strawberries, field berry yogurt and fruity candy. The palate is drier than the scent would lead you to believe. The mid-palate is fresh and fruity with medium body and medium acidity. Tannins are mild which add a touch of grip near the finish. Medium-plus intensity with just enough zip (acidity). Simple, smooth, silky and fruity. Pair with cold cuts or lightly salted foods. Good! $23 12.5% ABV

Le Guinguette de Domi Beaujolais Nouveau 2021: (AOC Beaujolais Nouveau, France). Dry red, deep violet/purple color. This young wine is extremely fruity on the nose and features a blast of tutti-fruiti bubblegum, fresh red cherries and candy floss. Immediately sour to the taste. Sour cherry, chokecherry, high acidity (very high), bitterness and completely muted fruit flavor. The sour and bitterness take over the flavor and don’t leave room for much else. Unpleasant to taste. Wine is off; probably due to volatile acidity. This is not indicative of the Beaujolais Nouveau style and the bottle has gone bad. Poor. $22, 12.5% ABV.

Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais Rose Nouveau 2021: (AOP Beaujolais Rose Nouveau, France). Dry rose, medium pink color. Medium-plus intense scents of candy and fruit rise from the glass. Cotton candy, cherry stick-candy, candy apple, strawberry and flower blossom all swirl together. The palate surprises with its dryness and lack of intensity. Low intensity flavors of crab apple, pink lady apples and floral notes linger lightly. This rose is delicate and gentle with a medium-length finish of rose petal and soft apple. The contrast between the nose and flavor is slightly jarring but this is delightfully easy-going. Should be priced a bit lower. Good! $21, 12 % ABVCheers and thanks for reading!