The Magic of Beaujolais Nouveau 2012

The first wines of the 2012 harvest from Beaujolais, France, hit bars and shops just in time for Turkey Day.


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It’s nouveau time. At the stroke of midnight on November 15, the first wines of the 2012 harvest from Beaujolais, France, flooded bars, restaurants and shops worldwide—and just in time for Turkey Day.

It’s been 30 years since leading Beaujolais producer Georges Duboeuf, dubbed the “King of Beaujolais,” first sent the fresh and fruity French wine stateside, and every year since its debut, Duboeuf has launched the release in style. This year’s bash—held at L’Express restaurant on Park Avenue South in New York City, which was decked out to resemble a Beaujolais village—was themed Nouveau Magic. Marco Tempest, techno-illusionist and virtual magician, presented the vintage during his Nouveau Midnight Magic Show—a dazzling, multimedia performance.

In Beaujolais, meanwhile, celebrations were muted since the harvest is half the size of last year’s due to dreadful weather conditions. According to recent reports, nearly 35% of Beaujolais producers have applied for government aid this year, and experts estimate that anywhere between 13–20% of the region’s growers could go bankrupt.

But don’t let the sad news stop you from celebrating the new bottling, say Beaujolais producers. They claim smaller yields lend more concentrated flavor in the surviving grapes, making this vintage sparkling in color and rich in structure, with firm tannins that will stand up to Thanksgiving Day dishes. And if you prefer your Gamay on the aged side, the 2011 and 2010 vintages are ready to be uncorked, particularly those from the crus of Moulin-à-Vent and Morgon, Saint-Amour and Fleurie.

Beaujolais Nouveau 2012

87 Thorin 2012 Nouveau (Beaujolais). This is a warm, fruity wine that has a touch of sophistication. Soft tannins, bright acids and red berry flavors give this a rich mouthfeel. Boisset Family Estates.
abv: 12%    Price: $13   

85 Bouchard Aîné & Fils 2012 Nouveau (Beaujolais). Big, ripe and fruity, this has a red currant flavor, with soft tannins. It’s bright and juicy, with fine acidity on the finish. Boisset Family Estates.
abv: 12%    Price: $13   

85 Georges Duboeuf 2012 Nouveau (Beaujolais). Surprisingly structured for a nouveau, this has a rich cherry flavor, with firm tannins and ripe acidity. The finish bears a tangy, textured character. Deutsch Family Wine and Spirits.
abv: NA%    Price: $11    

85 Mommessin 2012 Nouveau (Beaujolais). Banana and red berry flavors balance the tannins in this nouveau. It’s crisp and full of vibrant, in-your-face fruit. Imported by Boisset Family Estates. Best Buy.
abv: 12.5%    Price: $10   

84 Joseph Drouhin 2012 Nouveau (Beaujolais). As fresh and fruity as any nouveau should be, this has a rich red-cherry flavor, with a touch of black-currant-skin-like tannins. It’s bright and acidic. Dreyfus Ashby.
abv: 12%    Price: $11   

84 Signé Vignerons 2012 Domaine de Rochecorbière Nouveau (Beaujolais). Full, ripe and fruity, this is true nouveau. It has a delicious juicy character that’s sustained by some tannins. A bright, crisp cherry flavor floods the finish. Margate Wine and Spirit Company.
abv: NA    Price: $9   

83 Vignerons de Bel Air 2012 Nouveau (Beaujolais). This has a heavy banana scent, with a bitter cherry note trying to push through. The tannic structure hasn’t yet come together with the fruit—perhaps a result of the later harvest. It finishes dry. G.L. Steinke.
abv: NA    Price: $NA   

Beaujolais Villages Nouveau 2012

86 Georges Duboeuf 2012 Nouveau (Beaujolais Villages). This is a classic, fun nouveau, with firm tannins that add weight to an otherwise bold, fruity wine. Great for pairing with food. Deutsch Family Wine and Spirits.
abv: NA    Price: $13   

86 Signé Vignerons 2012 Château du Souzy Nouveau (Beaujolais Villages). The wine shows the depth of structure villages wines can have, even as a Nouveau. It has weight and a spicy fruit flavor, with upfront flavors of juicy cherry and banana. Margate Wine and Spirit Company.
abv: NA    Price: $9   

85 Albert Bichot 2012 Nouveau (Beaujolais Villages). For a wine meant to be consumed now, this is almost too tannic. It does have the necessary bright fruit, but it still has a dry core of fruit tannins, with a flavor of black currant skin. Try waiting until Christmas to pop the cork. A French Paradox.
abv: NA    Price: $13   

85 Vignerons de Bel Air 2012 Bel Air Nouveau (Beaujolais Villages). Firm and tight, this is a wine that is still shaking off its baby tannins. However, if you let it breathe for a few minutes before drinking, the fruitiness will allow it to pair well with food. The finish is all about its bright acidity. G.L. Steinke.
abv: NA    Price: $NA   

Read more Beaujolais reviews.

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