The holidays are upon us again, and just in time for party season, along comes fresh and fruity Beaujolais Nouveau 2011—adding a lively touch to your turkey dinner.
With the arts as a theme behind some of this year’s Beaujolais Nouveau releases—the 60th anniversary of the November release of the wines—2011 sees an unusually colorful launch for what was originally a wine drunk in the cafés of Lyons, France.
Market leader Georges Duboeuf has unveiled a graffiti-inspired label painted by Brooklyn artist Michael McLeer, a.k.a. Kaves. The painting was unveiled at one minute past midnight on Thursday, November 17 at a New York party hosted by Kaves, Georges Duboeuf Coproprietor Franck Duboeuf and Peter Deutsch, importer of W.J. Deutsch & Sons.
Meanwhile, Joseph Drouhin’s label, painted by Béatrice Drouhin, is called “Conversations” and was inspired by the Art Nouveau of French cabarets. And can-can dancers and café scenes are featured on many of the bold, colorful labels on the wines that are ready to be bought, and consumed, today.
Of several recent years, the 2011 Beaujolais Nouveau wines are some of the most attractive. Full of accessible red fruits and cherries, their light tannic structure gives them the chance to shine both at the table and in front of the TV.
Here are the best of the Beaujolais bunch:
86 Antonin Rodet 2011 Beaujolais Nouveau; $12. Excellent color on this firmly fruity wine. It has an appealing edge of tannins, giving it good structure, while showing a wide range of the fresh Nouveau fruit. Imported by Boisset Family Estates.
86 Paul Durdilly 2011 Beaujolais Nouveau; $12. Bright red fruits abound in this likeable cherry and banana-flavored wine. It has a soft tannic edge, laced with acidity and spice on the finish. Imported by Michael Skurnik.
85 Henry Fessy 2011 Beaujolais Nouveau; $9. Henry Fessy’s can-can dancer is with us again on this bottle of red cherry fruit-filled wine. There is solid acidity, the fruit attractively integrated. Soft tannins complete this fresh, fruity wine. Imported by Louis Latour Inc. Best Buy.
85 Joseph Drouhin 2011 Beaujolais Nouveau; $10. A wine showing good balance between taut structure and forward fruit. Red cherries dominate this easygoing light and fruity wine. Imported by Dreyfus, Ashby & Co. Best Buy.
85 Mommessin 2011 Beaujolais Nouveau; $10. Soft and rich, this wine has all the right red cherry and banana flavors that make for a good Nouveau. A delicious juicy wine. Screwcap. Imported by Boisset Family Estates. Best Buy.
85 Cave des Vignerons de Bel Air 2011 Beaujolais Nouveau; $19. An attractively ripe and lightly concentrated wine, with black cherry and an edge of dry tannins. Sweet fruit, richly juicy, right up front. Imported by Holiday Beverage Inc.
84 Thorin 2011 Beaujolais Nouveau; $13. Red cherry fruit, fresh and light, with bright acidity and minimal tannins. Imported by Boisset Family Estates.
84 Georges Duboeuf 2011 Beaujolais Nouveau; $10. There is a layer of tannins here that adds a dry edge to what is otherwise a sweetly fruity wine. It is full, with juicy strawberry flavors. Imported by W. J. Deutsch & Sons.
83 Albert Bichot 2011 Beaujolais Nouveau; $10. The wine has a bitter edge with a burnt character that clashes with the red fruit and banana flavors. Maybe in a few months. Imported by European Wine Imports.
Beaujolais Villages Nouveau
87 Domaine de la Madonne 2011 Beaujolais Villages Nouveau; $13. This is a smooth, red fruit-forward wine with just a hint of banana and some weight. The balance works well with acidity and light tannins. Imported by Michael Skurnik.
87 Henry Fessy 2011 Beaujolais Villages Nouveau; $10. A rich Nouveau, with fine black cherry fruit and some sweetness. It’s a full-bodied wine, the tannins and acidity offering a sense of structure. A definite food-friendly Beaujolais. Imported by Louis Latour Inc. Best Buy.
87 Mommessin 2011 Beaujolais Villages Nouveau; $10. A solid, ripe wine, very much a Nouveau for food, with some rich cherry fruits and an underlying smoky tannin layer. The fruit is ripe and full. Imported by Boisset Family Estates.
86 Cave des Vignerons de Bel Air 2011 Beaujolais Villages Nouveau; $20. A rich wine, with some weight and a tannic edge to the black cherry flavors. This is sufficiently structured to age, but the fresh fruit is ready to appeal now. Imported by Holiday Beverage Inc.
85 Albert Bichot 2011 Beaujolais Villages Nouveau; $12. A fruity wine, with light tannins and the juiciest fruit. It has all the right elements for a Nouveau, bubbling with freshness. Imported by European Wine Imports.
85 Bouchard Aîné et Fils 2011 Beaujolais Villages Nouveau; $13. All red fruit, red cherries and light tannins. This is a full-bodied, exuberant wine with the typical acidity of young Beaujolais. Imported by Boisset Family Estates.
84 Georges Duboeuf 2011 Beaujolais Villages Nouveau; $11. All red cherry and banana fruit, this is a soft, juicy and bright wine. Fresh but framed softly with some dry texture. Imported by W. J Deutsch & Sons.