Although today began pretty much like any other day, a fortuitous visit to Majestic on my way home from work for a couple of alarmingly premature Christmas presents jogged my memory about the significance of the date.
Still nothing? Well, I was looking for a simple and honest bottle of red to enjoy with a ragu of mushrooms and polenta. The northern/central Italian food had me thinking about Dolcetto, Barbera or Montepulciano D’Abruzzo, which are all old favourites, but after a long day I was having trouble working up much enthusiasm about any of them.
Wandering round the shop, I was waiting either for inspiration to strike or for closing time to catch up with me so that I had an excuse for an impulse buy. Over by the till, I chose the gifts I wanted and began a final circumambulation of the stacks. I’d ruled out a Provençal rosé and an Alsatian Pinot Noir, and I was heading back to the Italian section when my eyes fell upon the bottle that I just couldn’t walk past.
As I’m sure you’ve all guessed by now, the third Thursday in November is Beaujolais Nouveau day and I’m happy to admit to having a soft spot for a good Gamay. The bottle I spotted was from the ever dependable Georges Dubœuf and it was a wine I knew well from my on-trade days. It also happened to tick all of the boxes: simple, honest and easy to drink. And only £6.99.
Beaujolais Nouveau 2011
In many ways it was a real blast from the past, an almost forgotten European style: “only”12.5% ABV, no oak, delicate extraction, zippy acidity and an overall lightness that many people would do well to emulate. I know that Beaujolais Nouveau's reputation, not entirely undeservedly, has taken something of a pounding over the last twenty or so years and that sales are generally plummeting, but when it's done right it can hold its own with any similarly priced wine. I enjoyed it even more than I thought I would!