How long does it take you to open a bottle of Beaujolais Nouveau and drink it? About as long as it takes for an on-line news story to come and go is the answer. This is a wine for the on-line age, no longer a 24-hour wine, but a 24-minute wine, part of the era when Refresh is the computer click of choice.
Yet, in 2008, the news is that, in order to cut down on carbon emissions, Beaujolais Nouveau has slowed down. The wine has taken an eight-day boat trip, not an eight-hour plane ride to get to the east coast of America (sorry, California, it’s still air travel for your wine, although that could change next year). The extra plus is that sea travel cuts down the costs, and therefore the price of a wine that is for now and for fun.
As usual, the Beaujolais Nouveau of top producer, Georges Duboeuf, has arrived with fanfares and, this year, with bikers. A cavalcade of biking chefs is escorting cases of the wine to opening ceremonies in New York and Miami. Meanwhile, across in Las Vegas, the Paris Las Vegas casino will light its Eiffel Tower red to celebrate Beaujolais.
And what of the wine? Franck Duboeuf commented to Wine Enthusiast Magazine on the small quantities of wine in 2008, especially in the superior Beaujolais Villages appellation. But he also highlighted the low tannins and richness resulting from the small grapes and low yields.
Tasting 2008 shows wines that are fresh, many with high acidity, but also full of bright red cherries and juicy fruit flavors. Proper Beaujolais Nouveau, in fact. Drink it lightly chilled, drink it now.
The best from Beaujolais in 2008
87 Henry Fessy 2008 Beaujolais Villages Nouveau (Beaujolais Villages); $17. Moving towards richness, with a smoked meat character, this offers a rounded, ripe texture. The blackberry flavors are layered with some tight tannins, and boosted by spice and vanilla. A definite for food. Imported by Louis Latour Inc.
87 Louis Tete 2008 Le Pot Beaujolais Nouveau (Beaujolais Villages); $15. It may be labeled Nouveau, but this wine is hardly ready for drinking at this early stage after the harvest. It is a properly structured wine, which shows relatively ripe berries and a gush of lively fruit and acidity. It is worth keeping until the end of the year. Imported by Bercut-Vandervoort & Co.
86 Henry Fessy 2008 Beaujolais Nouveau (Beaujolais); $14. A deliciously ripe wine, its black berry fruits bursting with vitality. The wine is fresh, its acidity an important element in its drinkability. The wine finishes with a suggestion of tannin, but also of juicy fruit. Imported by Louis Latour Inc.
86 Prosper Maufoux 2008 Beaujolais Villages Nouveau (Beaujolais); $10. A full, ripe wine that has dark plum flavors as well as fresh acidity and berry fruits. There is some good structure here, fleshing out the fruit and finishing with a dry, firm aftertaste. This should go well with rich food. Imported by House of Burgundy.
86 Louis Tête 2008 Beaujolais Nouveau (Beaujolais); $14. This is rich for a nouveau, its blackberry jammy texture offering more than just juicy fruit. The burst of strawberry and banana is classic, but the ripe fruit gives the wine some additional complexity. Imported by Bercut-Vandervoort & Co.
85 Joseph Drouhin 2008 Beaujolais Nouveau (Beaujolais); $16. Fresh but with some good dense berry fruits, this is an attractively concentrated wine with some smokiness creeping between the vivid fruit. It has some banana split sweetness, while lively fruit returns in the aftertaste. Imported by Dreyfus Ashby & Co.
85 Pierre Dupond 2008 Beaujolais Nouveau (Beaujolais); $12. Full and soft in the mouth, this currant, raspberry and banana flavored wine is lively and fruity. Its tight acidity is balanced by some smokiness and the finish is vibrant and fresh. Imported by Exclusive Imports.
84 Georges Duboeuf 2008 Beaujolais Nouveau (Beaujolais); $11. Probably the biggest selling Nouveau, and certainly the best known. A powerful aroma of ripe bananas leads into a palate of bright fresh red berry fruits. The wine is fruity, easy and, with just a touch of tannin, totally ready to drink.. Imported by W.J. Deutsch & Sons.
84 Georges Duboeuf 2008 Beaujolais Villages Nouveau (Beaujolais Villages); $11. The Beaujolais Villages appellation adds weight to this Nouveau. There is structure, some density, and firm but not bitter tannins. A banana flavor is everywhere, edging between the fruit and freshness. The aftertaste works, though, with its lively, smoky character. Imported by W.J. Deutsch & Sons.
83 Paul Beaudet 2008 Château des Maladrets Beaujolais Villages Nouveau (Beaujolais Villages); $15. There is some weight here as well as texture. The wine has a sweet edge to it, giving richness reminiscent of fruity Jello lying on top of the acidity. The finish, with light tannins, reaffirms the weight. Imported by Exclusive Imports.
83 Mommessin 2008 Beaujolais Nouveau (Beaujolais); $13. Very fresh and light, this red cherry flavored wine is a burst of fruit and bright acidity, crispened by tight tannins. Some smokiness adds an extra dimension. Screwcap and PET bottle. Imported by Boisset America.
82 Paul Beaudet 2008 Domaine Romy Beaujolais Nouveau (Beaujolais); $14. Light, its fruit showing bright, crisp blackcurrant juice freshness, this is the epitome of the easy quaffing Nouveau. Very berry in its texture, it finishes with stalkiness and tight acidity. Imported by Exclusive Imports.
82 Labouré-Roi 2008 Beaujolais Nouveau (Beaujolais); $14. A light, freshly fruity wine, with edgy green tannins and tight redcurrant fruit flavors. Its fruit is a burst of juice in the mouth; light, bright red, and with prominent acidity. Buy a bottle, and the UN will plant a tree in Africa is the claim that comes with this screwtop, PET bottle. Imported by Palm Bay International.