It’s hot outside but you’re still in the mood for a red wine. The solution: a bottle of the 2011 Georges Duboeuf Fleurie Clos des Quatre Vents.
This wine comes from the Fleurie appellation, one of the Beaujolais Crus in France’s Burgundy region. It is made entirely from Gamay grapes.
There is so much more to Beaujolais wine than Beaujolais Nouveau – and this wine demonstrates why. The flavors in the Clos des Quatre Vents are darker and more intense, with more present tannins giving the wine a good structure.
Deep garnet red in color, the light to medium-bodied wine opens with aromas of red and purple berries. The palate has a mix of fresh raspberry, boysenberry and plum with blackberry jam and a hint of crushed black pepper. Subtle floral notes of violet and rose are woven throughout, and linger on the silky finish.
Because it should be served slightly chilled (around 60°F), the Georges Duboeuf Fleurie Clos des Quatre Vents is a great red wine for a hot day. It’s perfect at outdoor barbecues and pairs well with grilled chicken, pork, hamburgers and lean steaks, as well as aged cheese.
There’s so much more to French sparkling wine than just Champagne. Sparkling wine is produced all over France using the same traditional method (and often same grapes) as Champagne. Called Crémant, the sparkling wine can be of the same high quality as Champagne, though typically costing much less.
There are seven appellations which include this designation in their name: Crémant d’Alsace, Crémant de Bordeaux, Crémant de Bourgogne, Crémant de Die, Crémant du Jura, Crémant de Limoux and Crémant de Loire.
Crémant is not limited to the three grapes of Champagne (Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier). Instead it may be made from one or a blend of each region’s native grapes, which can produce a range of flavors not found in Champagne.
Don’t limit yourself to Champagne – the variety of Crémant produced in France guarantees you’ll find several that you love.
Jaillance Cuvée de l’Abbaye Brut Crémant de Bordeaux ($19)
This sparkling wine is made entirely from Semillon, one of the two main white wine grapes in Bordeaux (Sauvignon Blanc is the other). This Crémant is aged on the lees for 24 months.
Dry, crisp and elegant, the Jaillance Cuvée de l’Abbaye has all the desirable characteristics you look for in a brut sparkling wine. It is extremely pale yellow in color, with round and fresh flavors. Ripe lemon, white grapefruit, white raspberries, almond and a touch of brioche are enhanced by small bubbles.
Click here to read a full review of the Jaillance Crémant
Crémant de Loire
De Chanceny Crémant de Loire Brut ($14)
This sparkling wine is made from 70% Chenin Blanc, 15% Chardonnay and 15% Cabernet Franc, all grapes grown in the Loire region. The grapes were hand-picked from 30 different families of growers, and the sparkling wine was aged for 18 months in cellars that date back to the 12th century.
The sparkling wine is pale straw yellow in color, as the juice from the Cabernet Franc grapes did not have contact with the color-imparting skins. The flavors from this red wine grape enhance the flavors of the two white wine grapes, adding a slight hint of white raspberry to the white grapefruit, lemon, pear and toast notes.
Crémant du Jura
Domaine Berthet-Bondet Crémant du Jura ($19)
Jura is perhaps the least well-known wine region in France, located just east of Burgundy. Its perched village of Château-Chalon (where Domaine Berthet-Bondet is located), is classified as one of the most beautiful villages in France.
This Crémant is made from Chardonnay and Savagnin, the two white wine grapes of the Jura. It is a lovely mix of citrus and white flowers. Flavors of lemon, white grapefruit and golden apple culminate in a dry and refreshing finish.
Jean Albrecht Crémant d’Alsace Brut Reserve ($18)
This sparkling wine is made entirely from Pinot Blanc, a white wine grape that is a genetic mutation of Pinot Noir. Most Crémant d’Alsace is made from Pinot Blanc, though it may also be made from Pinot Gris, Riesling, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
The Jean Albrecht Crémant is pale straw yellow in color with small bubbles. Dry and delicate flavors of white citrus and toast plus a hint of sweet apricot make this sparkling wine really enjoyable to drink.
Crémant de Bourgogne
Blason de Bourgogne Crémant de Bourgogne Cuvée Brut ($10)
With Chardonnay and Pinot Noir being the main grapes of Burgundy (Bourgogne in French), this region produces sparkling wines that are very similar to Champagne.
The Blason de Bourgogne Crémant has flavors of pear, apple and toasted bread that culminate in a crisp finish that has a hint of toasted almonds. With its small energetic bubbles this sparkling wine is easy to drink and light on the tongue, with a price tag that’s hard to beat.
Beaujolais Nouveau is produced in the Beaujolais region of Burgundy in France. In accordance with French law it is released on the third Thursday in November — November 17, 2011.
Beaujolais Nouveau is a light bodied red wine made entirely from Gamay grapes. It pairs well with turkey, ham and other favorite holiday dishes.
Harvest for the 2011 Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais Nouveau began on August 22nd and finished on September 15th. According to Georges Duboeuf, the ideal weather during harvest was a perfect end to a great growing season.
“It looks as if the 2011 vintage will top every excellent year in the Beaujolais wine hall of fame. It is like nature has granted, under the sunshine of April and June and the heat of late August, a dazzling crop of Gamay. The grapes were a splendid, beautiful deep black. Each small grape shaped perfectly with ripe, thick, sweet and dense thick skin; everything it will need to become an exceptional vintage under the skill and talent of the winemaker.”
Beaujolais Nouveau fans around the world can now take their first sips of the 2011 vintage.
The wine is purple-magenta in color, with aromas of fresh dark fruit. The fruit-forward flavor shows off notes that are darker and more intense than the 2010 Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais Nouveau. The wine has silky flavors of fresh boysenberry, blackberry, plum, blueberry and raspberry, with a smooth mouthfeel and crisp finish.
Here it is, your first look at the 2011 Beaujolais Nouveau from Georges Duboeuf.
The label art is almost as anticipated as the wine; Georges Duboeuf has a different theme each year along with a colorful and creative label. Click bottles to enlarge image.
This year’s theme is “Nouveau Expression,” a celebration of creativity, self expression and enjoying the moment. The graffiti-inspired artwork was designed by Brooklyn artist Michael McLeer who goes by the name Kaves.
“I wanted to create a celebration in a neighborhood that could be anywhere in the world with bright energy and a positive vibe,” Kaves told importer W.J. Deutsch & Sons. “The corner of LIVE and LOVE is where I want to be. It’s a place where people live in the moment and love life. Beaujolais Nouveau is a celebration of friends and wine. My painting is a celebration of life. The two are a perfect pair.”
Artists across the country are invited to join Kaves and share their talents through the Nouveau Expression: Be Heard online art contest. The works of ten finalists will be exhibited at the uncorking party in New York. Submissions will be accepted until October 15th on Georges Duboeuf’s Facebook page.
Though the rest of the world will have to wait until November 17th to take a taste, Georges Duboeuf has declared the 2011 vintage to be terrific.
“2011 will be a great millésime in Beaujolais – complex, serious, solid and rich in delicious flavors. There is something divine about it. It is like nature has granted, under the sunshine of April, June and August, a dazzling body.”
According to Duboeuf, the wine is very deep purple with aromas of ripe wild strawberries, red and black currants, blueberries and a slight touch of peach. The palate is voluptuous and full bodied, enriched by well-rounded yet lively tannins.
Beaujolais Nouveau comes from the Burgundy region of France and is made entirely of Gamay grapes. The wine is released just after midnight on the third Thursday of November in accordance with French law.
The 2011 Beaujolais Nouveau from Georges Duboeuf will cost $10 a bottle.
Looking for a sparkling wine that’s just like Champagne but costs much less? Pick up a bottle of Blason de Bourgogne Crémant de Bourgogne Cuvée Brut.
This sparkling wine is nearly identical to Champagne. It is made in France, from the same varietals used to make Champagne and produced in the same method as Champagne. It just can’t be called Champagne because it’s not from that region; it’s produced just a hop, skip and a four hour drive away in Burgundy.
Besides Burgundy, Crémants are made in several regions in France including Alsace, Loire and Bordeaux. For the quality and the price, Crémant is hard to beat.
Blason de Bourgogne Crémant de Bourgogne Cuvée Brut comes in at just under $10 a bottle. For the price, this Crémant is extremely elegant and flavorful. Aromas of pear, apple and toasted bread continue to develop on the palate, culminating in a crisp finish that has a hint of toasted almonds. With its small, energetic bubbles this sparkling wine is easy to drink and light on the tongue, with enough going on to keep you interested through your final sip.
A bottle of the Blason de Bourgogne Crémant de Bourgogne Cuvée Brut costs between $9 and $10.
At a celebration filled with flowers, tie-dye and a whole lot of groovyness and love, the 2009 Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais Nouveau was uncorked Thursday in Miami Beach.
Au Pied de Cochon was the setting for this year’s 60’s themed uncorking ceremony. The wine was brought to the restaurant in a VW van, escorted by a brigade of tie-dye clad chefs on motorcycles.
Beaujolais Nouveau comes from the Burgundy region of France. It is made with 100% Gamay, a thin skinned grape that makes a red wine with lower tannin levels.
This year’s vintage is being heralded as the best vintage in the last 50 years, thanks to perfect weather and growing conditions. It was a welcome change from the 2008 growing season, during which bad weather forced a later harvest and resulted in the lowest yield in more than 30 years.
Decked out in a long wig and purple sunglasses, winemaker Stéphane Queralt opened the first bottle.
Watch the uncorking ceremony below
My first taste of the 2009 Beaujolais Nouveau came from that big bottle, and I can definitely say it is the best vintage I’ve tasted. Other wine afficionados at the uncorking ceremony, many with several more years of wine experience than me, agreed that this is truly a special vintage.
The 2009 Beaujolais Nouveau is bursting with flavor. The wine is deep purple-red in color, closer to a Malbec or Syrah rather than the typically strawberry-red Gamay. Unlike previous vintages which have been candy sweet, this vintage has more substance with juicy raspberry, blueberry and cherry notes and a hint of spice on the finish. The tannins are intense for Gamay but still soft, balanced out by good acidity.
Released each year on the Thursday before Thanksgiving, the Beaujolais Nouveau is an ideal pairing for turkey; this year’s vintage can stand up to more hearty meats like lamb or beef. Best of all, it’s an affordable accompaniment at $9 a bottle.
I spoke with winemaker Stéphane Queralt who was thrilled to be able to share what he calls a “dream vintage.”
The Amateur Gastronomer: Why is the 2009 Beaujolais Nouveau being called the best vintage in the last 50 years?
Stéphane Queralt: It’s very exceptional when you work in wine to have 100% of the grapes be totally perfect. And when you have this perfect maturity you know just before you make the wine that it will be an outstanding vintage.
Georges Duboeuf who is 76 years old says this is the best vintage he’s ever seen. In Beaujolais, people who are 90 years old told me that they only tasted wine like this in 1947. If this kind of vintage happens every 60 years, you can imagine that we will not see it again in our life. So I’m very proud to see this beautiful wine today and have people discover this beautiful vintage.
AG: Last year you told me about 2008 being a particularly difficult year for Beaujolais. Was this year a relief in comparison?
SQ: Yes of course! It’s a holiday making wine with this kind of vintage. When you make wine, 80% comes from the vineyard, 10% comes from the winemaker and 10% is something you cannot control. So when you have good grapes it’s very difficult to make a bad wine.
AG: How does the 60’s theme tie in with the Beaujolais Nouveau?
SQ: Peace, love, sharing, happiness — for me this is the definition of wine. I don’t like the people who make wine seem complicated. Wine must be something very simple.
This kind of wine is fantastic because it’s the wine for parties, the wine for friendship, the wine to share with family. It’s a fantastic way to make people happier and to share good times in their lives.
AG: It’s an extraordinary achievement to have a wine that’s being called the best vintage in 50 years. But what does that mean for next year’s Beaujolais Nouveau?
SQ: That’s always the problem with outstanding vintages. I say you can die now after drinking the wine because you don’t know what will happen. It’s like a lottery, you cannot predict nature. Maybe we can have a better wine next year, you never know!
By French law, Beaujolais Nouveau is always released on the third Thursday of November all over the world. It is meant to be drunk young, within 12 months of bottling, and should be served slightly cool (about 55º F), to enhance the fruit flavors.
The annual celebration kicked off in Miami Beach yesterday with a bang — the revving of motorcycle engines. The Beaujolais Biker Brigade, made up of some of Miami’s best chefs and led by a man dressed up as the Georges Duboeuf bottle, escorted the 2008 vintage to the swanky Casa Casuarina for an uncorking ceremony with winemaker Stéphane Queralt.
According to French law, Beaujolais Nouveau may be released at 12:01am on the third Thursday in November. This year the red wine is green; instead of arriving by air freight, the wine was shipped earlier by boat, to help offset the wine’s carbon footprint.
Beaujolais Nouveau is made in the Burgundy region in France from 100% Gamay grapes that are picked by hand. It’s made to be drunk within 12 months of bottling. The price of a bottle is $10 to $12.
If you think Beaujolais Nouveau is too sweet and fruity, you may want to try this year’s vintage. I was pleasantly surprised with my first taste. There is more black fruit with flavors of red currants, wild strawberries and some peach, with a hint of spice. A nice amount of tannins to give it a fuller mouth feel. I spoke with Stéphane who told me the more complex taste is the result of a difficult growing season.
AG: How is the 2008 Beaujolais Nouveau different than the 2007 vintage?
SQ: I think this year was quite different compared to last year. We had a difficult spring and summertime and were lucky at the end because we had 20 beautiful days just before the harvest. We harvested quite late compared to the other years, just because of the bad weather. That gave us the possibility to have a beautiful balance for the Gamay grape, with good acidity and sugar and with a good maturity.
Because the vintage wasn’t so easy at the beginning we had low yields. I think it’s the lowest yield since 1975. It gave us a wine which is darker and which has more concentration. We have more of the black fruits – black currant, blueberry – and the tannins are tannins of a serious wine.
AG: What do you think of the response to this year’s wine?
SQ: I noticed that people were a little bit surprised by the quality of the wine because they noticed that compared to ‘07, ‘06, it was not a candy wine. This year it may be a little bit more serious with more of the black fruit and the good tannins.
AG: What would you recommend pairing with Beaujolais Nouveau?
SQ: For me, Nouveau is first a wine for a party. That’s why it’s fun for me to come to Miami and party with this wine because that’s a perfect match! The good thing with the Beaujolais Nouveau is that it’s versatile. It’s a wine that smells like white wine and can taste like red wine. It’s a red wine which you can chill and is perfect for fish. It’s good for white meat, like turkey for Thanksgiving, for example. It’s good to taste the other wines of Beaujolais because Beaujolais is not only Nouveau, Beaujolais can be as a serious cru, like Moulin-á-Vent or Morgon.
AG: What do you think makes a good wine?
SQ: First you have to be in a good condition, a good place, good friends, good ambiance, no worries, and that makes already 50% of the quality of the wine. After that you have of course the quality of the wine itself. For me, it is its elegance and fruit. A good wine is a wine that you want to drink again shortly after your first glass. I know some people think that a very strong, heavy, big wine is also very good wine, but for me the quality of a good wine is to be drinkable and to make you want a second glass.
AG: Have you already started looking ahead to next year?
SQ: It’s early but it’s very important to look ahead. We were lucky to have the leaves on the vines a long time after the harvest because the leaves can give us a lot of energy for the spring, when the vines wake up and go to produce the new cycle of the vine. This year we noticed that the leaves stayed a long time after the harvest, so that’s a good first sign for the next year.
AG: Will you try to have these black fruit flavors in next year’s Beaujolais Nouveau?
SQ: It depends on the crop and the maturity of the grape. Those are things that you cannot control. You’ll have to wait to see what the weather is and every year in our country is different. That’s why it’s interesting because you have to adjust your winemaking and the harvest, looking at what you have in your vineyard. It’s a full time job from spring until now.