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mikeycook

Beaujolais in the U.S.

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[Entire text of my first posting quoted]

Hi John, before getting to the substance here, a sincere friendly suggestion, maybe useful to others too. It is very helpful to readers sometimes to trim any earlier text being quoted. This increases the impact of the posting, and comes partly from the general wisdom that “vigorous writing is concise” (Strunk and White), but also the firm tradition on Internet fora, ever since they became well established in the early 1980s. More on that is in classic online advisories, including the famous RFC1855 (a current link to the original), one of the most-read documents on the Internet and roughly the Net’s counterpart of Strunk and White. (It was posted on the Internet since late 1982 in predecessor versions, and from the Network Working Group since 1995.) It long predated the currently popular http/html protocols by the way, but so did Internet fora. Advice and standards of practice for forum users and administrators appear in Section 3.0, One-to-Many Communications, including this, which is widely followed. Among other things it conveys thought for the reader and for the content:

If you are sending a reply to a message or a posting' date=' be sure you summarize the original  ... This will make sure readers understand when they start to read your response. ... But do not include the entire original![/quote
...Tom Stevenson is not "factually" wrong in his assessment of Beaujolais Nouveau--it is his comment that it is "ideal for anyone who does not actually enjoy the characteristics of real wine." Wait--sorry--he is "factually" wrong here afterall--BN is not real wine? ... This is wine snobbery--as practiced all too often by British wine writers these days.  Mr Stevenson can't seem to provide a fact based assessment of the wine--he can't even bring himself to call it wine--without denegrating it and those who would like it.

...

Contrast Mr Stevenson's note (by the way--I am assuming that there is no additional context other than what you quote) with how Karen MacNeil handles the subject ...

First, I did Stevenson injustice by pulling his lowest-pH remark (earlier I called it crisp) out of its actual context, which wasn’t Nouveau wines specifically, though centered around them. It is from a succinct two-page summary of the Beaujolais world (including the story of the “Pisse, Vielle!” legend), in which he explains the use of full or partial macération carbonique (MC) in both Nouveau and some regular versions of Beaujolais. But he also explains the close connection of the technique to the resulting "pungent aroma of nail varnish" and the antipathy that has accumulated, including in Burgundy itself, to this style, citing Jean-Marie Guffens for the phrase “carbonic masturb*tion.” Having explained the trade word “lollipop,” early in the two-page section, from MC’s generation of flavoring chemicals used also in candies and bubble gum, he sums up the section with “Beaujolais Nouveau should be fun and used to promote a greater awareness of wine ... but readers should be aware that these “lollipop” wines are not good-quality Gamay, whereas the best Cru Beaujolais are the world’s greatest Gamay wines.” I believe this is a fact-based assessment.

Second, this information appears as a tiny part of a long wine encyclopedia (2001 edition is ISBN 0789480395), endorsed by US experts including Robert Parker, and comprehensive enough, as I’ve told people for years, that a newcomer could look up a random wine of the world, just bought, with a fair chance of finding a synopsis about it.

Finally I stand on my original comments. These cited the real, partly technical basis for criticism of Nouveau styles in the context of Beaujolais at large, in response to your posting, which mentioned none of this, but only “snobbery.” Stevenson nowhere claims that BNs are not real wines, but that the light MC styles are “ideal for anyone who does not actually enjoy the characteristics of real wine.” It’s possible to pay attention to the wording and detach questions of tone from factual content. Some wines appeal to people who are not wine drinkers or are turned off by mainstream wine. White zinfandel enjoyed repute for that, and before it, packaged wine coolers and cocktails in the US did so. I have used Beaujolais Nouveau myself to play the devil and seduce “white wine only” drinkers into the world of red wine (soon, they’re drinking Cabernet, and liking it!). That’s what I meant by factual, and it’s a dimension separate from how much people like the statement.

In none of this thread do I find warrant for offhand stereotyping of British wine writers (coming after “Mr Stevenson can't seem to provide a fact based assessment”). I didn’t mean to feed that, or any other, nationalistic prejudice.

Max

I'd love to follow your suggstion to "summarize" your post.

I can't. (I would bet neither Mr strunk or Mr White could either)

I honestly have no idea what you are talking about.

We are discussing Beaujolais Nouveau for Pete's sake. A simple wine, for sure, that really doesn't warrant a lot of discussion.

As for "offhand stereotyping" of British wine writers and nationalistic predjudices --please!

By the way-as you think highly enough of Robert Parker to cite him, here's a quote for you:

"The Nouveau hysteria and incredible profits taken by the wine trade from the sales of nouveau have resulted in a school of thought that has attempted to disparage not only the wine but those who consume it....A few arrogant wine snobs would would have you believe it (BN) is not fashionable, that is ludicrous."

I agree.

Do You? (I think you do)

That's all.

I edited this for spelling errors


Edited by JohnL (log)

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john,

max's suggestion was sincere and friendly. scrolling thru entire previous posts is a little tedious. please take this as a constructive, friendly, sincere observation. :)


Edited by wkl (log)

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john,

max's suggestion was sincere and friendly. scrolling thru entire previous posts is a little annoying. please take this as a constructive, friendly, sincere observation. :)

I am not assuming anything other than that Max was offering friendly advice.

I was playfully tweaking him a bit.

I thought he was a bit overwrought in his post/response.

Nothing more or less.

As for the shortening of posts/responses.

That is a mixed bag--I often include an entire post in my response to it because often people do not read every post in a thread (I often do not).

If I feel it is important--I try to provide the entire context for my response often out of respect for the post and poster to whom I am responding so a reader gets the whole picture in one click.

I do agree with Max--that is, in general terms, he has a valid point here.

to clarify my response--we are dealing with Beaujolais Nouveau and its popularity etc.

what often happens is mention the wine and there are many people who can't seem to just provide an objective assessment--they often have to go on about--it is not "real" wine or "real" Beaujolais. It also isn't Fleurie or Morgon or for that matter Montrachet or Chateau Lafitte.

That is a value judgement.

The folks who make Beaujolais (Nouveau and otherwise) often argue about its merits.

I have no problem with someone stating he/she hates Beaujolais Nouveau and why.

I do have a problem with people who denegrate it (or anything for that matter) based upon what it is not and worse imply that those who might like it are somehow not "experienced" wine drinkers or people of good taste or Beaujolais Nouveau is for people who don't like the taste of real wine.

anyway--I am not sure there is much more we can say about Beaujolais Nouveau except it is the 18th of November it is here-- and if a lot of people want to buy into the excitement that those crafty Frenchmen are selling--I am all for it. In fact, I envy them--maybe we are all a bit too jaded out here. in fact, I think i will go out and buy a bottle --I haven't had it in a long time and maybe it is time to enjoy a wine you don't have to think about too much--a wine that actually tastesd as if it was made from grapes--what a concept--I will toast Max! (and I am not being facetious here).

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Just back from five days in Paris, so we were there for the Beaujolais Nouveau "hysteria." Yes, it is a great marketing device, but we had lots of fun anticipating the arrival, drinking different varieties at lunch (perfect with a Croque Madame) and opening several bottles with other hotel guests Thursday evening. A great wine? No. But a fun time? Yes! Of course, I'm no wine expert. I just love wine, almost as much as I love Paris.

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Just back from five days in Paris, so we were there for the Beaujolais Nouveau "hysteria."  ... we had lots of fun anticipating the arrival, drinking different varieties at lunch (perfect with a Croque Madame) and opening several bottles with other hotel guests Thursday evening.  A great wine?  No.  But a fun time?  Yes!  Of course, I'm no wine expert.  I just love wine ...

Bravo Nancy. I applaud people who choose wines they like (as opposed to this business of agonizing over what “is thought to be” good). That’s real.

Here’s a summation of my main points in this diverse thread.

Beaujolais has long been popular in the US. The “Nouveau,” a spin-off from the original wine, shifted the perception of wine newcomers on what Beaujolais means, bringing some confusion. Nouveau’s lack of prestige in the wine industry has a demonstrable technical basis that you can verify for yourself if you care to (scent chemistry in common with candies and nail varnish). I like the stuff in its own right [Note 1]. Beaujolais also inspired pleasant casual US spin-off wines including the other-varietal “Nouveaus” with similar aromas but less marketing. Tom Stevenson published a succinct overview of the Beaujolais world in his popular wine encyclopedia, ISBN 0789480395 (recent 4th edition is ISBN 0756613248).

Note 1: This is despite aromas that remind me of the lab in high school where we learned about chemistry of flavors and scents (a “progressive” school -- some teachers were actual practitioners of their subjects -- my organic chem teacher was a retired industrial organic chemist and she liked food science). I remember the dramatic connection of nasty natural scents like butyric acid to the pleasant ripe-fruit aromas that could be made from them. We synthesized principles of artificial wintergreen, grape, and pineapple, in the class. Speaking of fresh produce, best wishes for everyone in the US celebrating the Thanksgiving holiday and to those in other nations with corresponding harvest festivals, even if not so late in the year.

-- Max

--------

“...{decvax,philabs}!mcvax!moskvax!kremvax!chernenko” -- Piet Beertema, 1984

See a Google archive about it

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Here’s a summation of my main points in this diverse thread.

Max,

I do hope folks see more in this thread than just discussion about Nouveau.

If wishes were true, mine would be that readers note that cru Beaujolais can be, when in the hands of a good producer, one of the finest, most expressive, least expensive, food friendly wines made anywhere on earth.

But then, I've always been a dreamer . . . :smile:

Best, Jim


Edited by Florida Jim (log)

www.CowanCellars.com

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"There are few things worse than a bottle (let alone a cellar) of wine that is in decline."

This is generally my opinion when thinking about how long to store my wine. However in the case of Cru Beaujolais, I find young examples fairly uninspiring and I'm prepared to risk losing them for the chance of getting something that tastes like mature burgundy - that is also how aged examples have generally tasted to me. I have about 8 bottles of various crus at the moment from 2002 and 2003. I haven't enjoyed the bottles I've had and will now happily take my chances by leaving them for 2 or 3 more years.

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"There are few things worse than a bottle (let alone a cellar) of wine that is in decline."

This is generally my opinion when thinking about how long to store my wine.  However in the case of Cru Beaujolais, I find young examples fairly uninspiring and I'm prepared to risk losing them for the chance of getting something that tastes like mature burgundy - that is also how aged examples have generally tasted to me. I have about 8 bottles of various crus at the moment from 2002 and 2003. I haven't enjoyed the bottles I've had and will now happily take my chances by leaving them for 2 or 3 more years.

May I inquire as to the producers of the wine you have?

It has always been my feeling that, Beaujolais is part of Burgondy and, in Burgundy, producer is paramount.

Best, Jim


www.CowanCellars.com

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Jim,

I couldn't find out much about the producers :hmmm: , any info gratefully received.

Hospices de Beaujeu, Regnie, 2001

Domaine Rastin, Moulin a Vent, 2002

Domaine Pardon, Fleurie, 2003

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Jim,

I couldn't find out much about the producers  :hmmm: , any info gratefully received.

Hospices de Beaujeu, Regnie, 2001

Domaine Rastin, Moulin a Vent, 2002

Domaine Pardon, Fleurie, 2003

I'm familiar with Guy De Pardon in Fleurie; could this be the correct name? They usually make very silky and supple wines; it surprises me that you wold not think much of it, unless of course, you just like bigger wines to begin with. In any event, a pretty good producer in most vintages.

(A short word about 2003; it is an atypical vintage and was highly touted by Mr. Rovani and others in the media. I would suggest that, the reason it was lauded was that the media writers like very fruit forward wines, ie., 'big' in the context of Beaujolais. I'm sure some readers would agree with that opinion but I do not. I think many wines in the 2003 vintage are blousy, soft, candied and out of balance. But one man's poison is another's meat, eh?)

Hospices de Beaujeu is a co-op/negociant where the wines are sold off at auction (much like the Hospices de Beaune in Burgundy). They may now have a domaine bottling also but I have not seen it. I do not wish to say anything bad about the wines but I doubt you will find first rate Regnie from this operation. 2001 was a poor vintage in most of Beaujolais.

I am not familiar with Rastin. 2002 was a good vintage in most of Beaujolais.

In my post above (in this thread) are several suggestions for producers (and vintages) that you may find more pleasing. The nice thing about Beaujolais is that you can do a good bit of experimenting without breaking the bank.

And I would urge you to do just that.

Best, Jim


www.CowanCellars.com

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If wishes were true, mine would be that readers note that cru Beaujolais can be, when in the hands of a good producer, one of the finest, most expressive, least expensive, food friendly wines made anywhere on earth.

Some friends and I recently got together and grabbed a bunch of Beaujolais Nouveau to taste, just for the fun of it -- fun (and really good marketing) being what B-N seems to be all about. On the sly, I also grabbed a cru Morgon from Marcel Lapierre to throw into the blind bottles, just to see what would happen.

Wow.

I very happily realized that there is incredible cru Beaujolais out there at wonderfully low prices. At CAD $40 it isn't what I (personally) would call the "daily-drinker" range, but it was good enough that I ran down and grabbed the other bottle the shop had. I get the feeling that I'm going to end up drinking a bunch of cru Beaujolais, and that I'll be a happy, happy person.

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Bump! Just a note of thanks to Florida Jim for the great article on Beaujolais and recommendations. I'm am neither up on the finer points of wines, nor well informed about what to look for in any particular vintage. But like the moron in the art gallery, I may not know much about art, but I know what I like :raz:. Inspired by FJ's article, I decided to try a few bottles of Beaujolais at one of our local wine purveyors, and eventually stumbled onto a 2003 Morgon, Domaine des Versauds. I don't know all the buzzwords, but to me this is a wonderful everyday wine for around $11 a bottle. It is remarkably flexible in terms of what sorts of food it accompanies, and just a real pleasure to sip with a bit of good cheese and crackers. So, long story short, thanks Jim for the bit of education :biggrin:.


"My only regret in life is that I did not drink more Champagne." John Maynard Keynes

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So, long story short, thanks Jim for the bit of education :biggrin:.

You're welcome - delighted to hear it.

Best, Jim


www.CowanCellars.com

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Look for Beaujolais from Importers Louis/Dressner, Kermit Lynch, T.Edward wines, and Polaner. And keep an eye out for producers such as Lapierre, Tete, Pacalet, JP Brun, Granger, Bernard, Bereziat, Thevenat, and Janoudet. Great wines. The Beaujolais ad campaign is sponsored by the EU and any connection with drinkable juice is purely coincedental. France has long been on the "vin de soif" (wine for thirst) bandwagon and that's why you find simple, light reds on most cafe' and brasserie menus. Over here we're too busy sniffing and analyzing to enjoy. Look for other "vin de soifs" from Loire, Savoir, Auvergne, and Gaillac.

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Last year, several million bottles of Beaujolais were quietly distilled into industrial use alcohol and ethanol. This year, the government is contemplating mandating reduced production as a mean to raise quality and stimulate sales.

At its best, Nouveau reminds me of the Cherry Kool-Aid I drank decades ago, which isn't at all a bad thing. On certain occasions, we need a wine that reminds us pleasantly of summers past. The problem is that Nouveau is taken too seriously. I think it should be seen as a throwback or a tribute to a more primal attitude towards wine: the idea, after a grueling hot summer of tending vines, battling pests and other barbaric incursions, followed by a back-breaking harvest, is to drink some of that wine just as soon as possible. Suggest to a midieval viticulturist that the results of all that labor should be bunged into a cellar for a few years before enjoying it, and he'd laugh in your face. The beauty of Beaujolais is that it can be potable after only a few weeks in the barrel. So it's dismaying that what was, just a few years ago, a light-hearted celebration of the new harvest has turned into an over-commercialized distribution of swill. And what's perplexing is that, even though millions of gallons of Beaujolais were relegated to scrap-alcohol, I still have to pay $8.99 for that summery Kool-Aid taste.


--

ID

--

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Dear Ivan,

Go here: http://astorwine.com/

Put the word nouveau in the search engine and watch as the 2005 Terres Dorees, Beau. Nouveau comes up at $6.98/bottle.

Buy it.

If it does not please, I will buy what you don't want.

Without question the finest Nouveau I have tasted and I like that price.

Best, Jim


www.CowanCellars.com

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Thank you, Jim.

Does it taste like Cherry Kool-Aid circa 1965?

If it does, I'm in.


--

ID

--

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It's not going to get any better, so I would drink it fast. Astor is an excellent source of most types of wine IMHO.


"If the divine creator has taken pains to give us delicious and exquisite things to eat, the least we can do is prepare them well and serve them with ceremony."

~ Fernand Point

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