Costco seems to get this wine year after year, as do many other retailers. I bought a bottle last year, because who can resist a $7.99 price tag, and I’d be lying if I said it was something that I highly enjoyed. I do, however, recall liking this wine in the past as well as looking forward to its release.
The 2017 release of Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais Nouveau is the 35th in America, which is quite impressive for a European wine. Americans drink somewhere in ballpark of one million bottles of this young and festive wine each year.
Everyone loves a story, right? The story behind the origins of Beaujolais Nouveau begins in France in the early 1800s. Beaujolais grape-growers would celebrate each year’s harvest by drinking some of the young wine that was just made. The wine was then meant only for local consumption.
It wasn’t until World World II, after the Beaujolais AOC was established, that the wine could officially be sold and distributed on December 15th of each year. In 1951, the release date of the wine was moved forward to November 15th, and then finally in 1985, the current law was amended to release the wine on the third Thursday of November each year, just in time for a pre-Thanksgiving weekend of sales in the United States.
It is customary to export and distribute the wine prior to this day so that retailers can have the wine available for purchase by the start of the official business day. Hence, one might occasionally see the wine on the floor of a retailer prior to the Thursday before Thanksgiving.
Beaujolais nouveau (essentially “new Beaujolais”) is made from Gamay, a thin-skinned and higher acid grape that is similar to Pinot Noir, and the wine itself undergoes carbonic maceration. Although this sounds like a fancy & scientific wine term, it is more simply described as whole cluster fermentation wherein each individual berry becomes a little ball of wine which is then pressed to release juice that is low in tannins yet fruit-forward.
I was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked this wine. For starters, it pours a beautiful, brilliant and bright-ruby color. The nose is vibrant and perfumed with bubblegum and crushed berries. The palate, dry and more tannic than I expected, is tart and juicy with a lingering note of what I can only describe as White Zinfandel. Fruity, in a word.
This screams for food, and will pair well with roasted turkey and cranberry sauce. For only $7.99 per bottle, I would have a bottle on the rack for this Thursday to appease the Old-World wine drinkers. While it’s not a deliciously yummy juice that you’d want to cozy up to a glass of, it’s a festive, fun, and easy-drinking wine that won’t overshadow the main event.
Wine Spectator recently released their rating for the 2017 vintage of the world’s most popular Beaujolais Nouveau. While the previous five vintages received scores of either 84 or 85 points, this vintage, significantly smaller than normal due to two fierce hailstorms in July, was awarded a more impressive 88 points.
Whereas roughly 100,000 cases of this wine are usually sent to the United States after each harvest, only 750 cases were imported this year. You may notice that the retailer stacks are smaller because of this.
CostcoWineBlog.com Rating: 89 Points
Costco Item Number: 892929
[Check out some of our other Costco Thanksgiving Wine Picks]