It’s that time of year again, and no, we’re not just talking about Thanksgiving. We’re popping the first corks of the annual Beaujolais Nouveau vintage. And lucky for us, these light, fruity 2015 bottlings are ready to drink and readily available in stores and restaurants across the U.S. as of Thursday, November 19, 2015.
To toast the arrival of this year’s wines to U.S., the largest producer of Nouveau, Georges Duboeuf, will host a party on Friday evening at the French Embassy in Washington, D.C., organized by the French-American Chamber of Commerce and the Alliance Française.
Meanwhile in New York City, Franck Duboeuf, son of Georges, will host a number of receptions to launch the release of the wine.
As for the wines themselves, the regional wine council Inter Beaujolais described the 2015 harvest conditions as “practically perfect,” with ripe, small berries of “exceptional quality.”
The result? Beaujolais Nouveau that’s rich and more structured than usual, with riper fruit. And while some could be aged, most should be enjoyed before Christmas. So, go ahead, buy a bottle, pop the cork and pour a glass during the holiday season. Here are my top 10 selections.
Henry Fessy 2015 Nouveau Vieilles Vignes (Beaujolais-Villages); $12, 87 points. Old vines impart some extra concentration to this wine, which brings fresh fruit and bright cherry flavors. This bottle is ripe and fruity, with a lightly tannic background. Louis Latour Inc.
Joseph Drouhin 2015 Nouveau (Beaujolais); $12, 87 points. Light tannins support the fresh berry and red currant tones in this attractive wine. It has a bright, fruity character with plenty of acidity to give it life. As Nouveau goes, this brings a good amount of character. Dreyfus, Ashby & Co.
Vignerons de Bel Air 2015 Natural Nouveau (Beaujolais-Villages); $15, 86 points. This fresh, fruity wine, bottled with minimum sulfur, has light tannins, with plenty of crisp red currant and cherry flavors. Bright and perfumed, the wine has great intensity. Matinicus Wines LLC.
Antonin Rodet 2015 Nouveau (Beaujolais); $12, 85 points. Fruity on the palate, with bright, juicy acidity, this is a fresh wine that’s full of red berry flavors. A touch of banana at the end does take away some of the crispness, but the final acidity prolongs the red cherry flavor. Golden Gate Cellars.
Georges Duboeuf 2015 Nouveau (Beaujolais-Villages); $12, 85 points. This is a smooth, ripe wine that has fine red cherry and berry flavors, along with vibrant acidity. The ripe tannins are a product of the small, concentrated berries of the vintage. Deutsch Family Wine and Spirits.
Henry Fessy 2015 Nouveau (Beaujolais-Villages); $11, 85 points. A deep purple color gives this wine an immediately exuberant appearance. It’s ripe on the palate, with soft tannins to contrast a fresh black cherry tone. Lively acidity carries the finish. Louis Latour Inc.
Vignerons de Bel Air 2015 Nouveau (Beaujolais); $13, 85 points. An attractive, soft wine with fresh red fruit flavors and a light tannic structure. The palate is shows some richness yet is balanced by streaks of acidity come the finish. Matinicus Wines LLC.
Bouchard Aîné & Fils 2015 Nouveau (Beaujolais); $12, 84 points. This Burgundy-based négociant house has produced a ripe, soft and fruity wine. Showing plenty of red cherry flavors and a young, fresh texture, this wine is bright and exuberant. Boisset Family Estates.
Georges Duboeuf 2015 Nouveau (Beaujolais); $11, 84 points. This wine is about red berries, with only the slightest hint of banana. The world’s best-selling Nouveau, it’s young and fruity, with a fresh tannic structure. Deutsch Family Wine and Spirits.
Paul Durdilly 2015 Nouveau (Beaujolais); $12, 84 points. Bright purple in color, this wine is full of banana flavors and has a tight, tannic backdrop. It’s rich, although the berry fruitiness is muted. Surprisingly, it seems to be a wine that needs to age a few months. Maybe a New Year’s celebration? Skurnik Wines Inc.