Friday, 31 December 2010

The mystery of the vanishing Beaujolais

A couple of us were discussing the 'Beaujolais Run' a few weeks ago, might be fun to do the run etc etc, still caught up in the fairytail of it all, so to speak... then I saw this article in the Telegraph ~

Why is Beaujolais Nouveau virtually impossible to buy in Britain nowadays. Once, the supermarkets used to compete for the best choice, but it hasn't been on the shelves for years.


If you've heard of Beaujolais the chances are you remember the annual and much-feted race for the first, squealingly young 'nouveau' wines of the vintage to arrive from across the Channel on the third Thursday of November. Perhaps you also remember the taste of the wine - all too often, piercingly acidic, with a smell reminiscent of the old pink penny bubblegum that came in an individual waxy wrapper, and a horribly thin taste. Visit Beaujolais now, mention nouveau and most producers will put their head in their hands and sigh. The idea of drinking freshly harvested wine was exciting for a while but the farrago all but destroyed the reputation of the area. Today Beaujolais is split in two: the southern, generic, part of the appellation has a shocking quantity of untended, overgrown vineyards that are turning to wasteland because the wines, facing competition from everywhere else in the world, can't find a market.

The crus in the north, however, are enjoying a much-deserved resurgence in popularity. This has been helped by the blazingly good 2009 vintage, the likes of which hadn't been since 1947. The crus - the likes of Fleurie, Morgon, Moulin a Vent, Brouilly and so on - are superb and I've been drinking them thirstily all year, but the vintage also made fantastically good value wines of lowly Beaujolais and Beaujolais Villages, the last of which are still on the shelves so buy them while you can. As for Nouveau, I think they're trying to forget about it - but I did see some on a supermarket shelf the other week so it is still around

~ So I think that trip to France is off and looking at Karens comment on Pinot Noir we won't be buying that there either !

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