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Beringer Nouveau 2004

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Beaujolais Nouveau is a celebration of the wine harvest, the first of a vintage. French winemaker Georges Duboeuf is widely credited with taking what used to be a small affair known only among those associated with making wine and making the release of Nouveau an event for the entire wine world. My first taste of the 2004 vintage was in the form of Beringer Nouveau.

Beaujolais (including, of course, the Nouveau) is made with gamay grapes, producing a fruity and easy to drink wine for everyday occasions. On a trip to the wine store this past weekend, I asked about which Nouveaux might be available. No French Nouveau was left but there was a bit of an American-made variety available. Beringer Blass Wine Estates of St. Helena, California produces Beringer Nouveau in the traditional French manner of fermenting whole clusters of grapes together. I happily headed home with a bottle.

Unlike many other wines, Nouveau is specifically intended to be drunk young: it is the first taste of a vintage, intended to give some insights into how well the vintage came together and how it will age. By tradition (one encounters this word frequently when talking of wine), Nouveau is released as the clock ticks on to the third Thursday of November each year and is intended to be drunk before the end of the year.

Nouveau can be served as an aperitif or with the sort of food that makes for good casual events such as hamburgers done on a grill. Wine experts have declared the 2004 Nouveaux unexceptional, though I believe that in all cases where I have read such proclamations, they were connected with the French Nouveaux. Not having much familiarity with Nouveau myself, I am in no position to compare the 2004 to other vintages, though I found the Beringer Nouveau perfectly pleasant, unassuming, and easy to drink. Were someone unaccustomed to red wine looking for a way to give a casual red a try, I think Nouveau would be a good option.

Created by cmcurtin
Last modified 2005-01-06 05:56 PM
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