A Nouveau Track

New year, new varietal. I love Rieslings, in case you haven’t noticed, but there are so many other great wines out there. Let’s try a new one, shall we?

There’s more to wines than just the taste. I was reminded of this as I proceeded to open tonight’s 2005 Jean Lafitte Beaujolais Nouveau, using my waiter’s corkscrew to slive and remove the foil wrapped around the bottle neck. The firm, elastic resistance as I wound the corkscrew into the freshly cut cork, the lively pop as it came out with little fuss and no crumbling — all characteristic of a freshly bottle vintage, and all part of the tasting ritual.

Poured into a glass, this wine takes on a deep plum color and a nose reminiscent of ripe red berries and (oddly enough) grape juice. There’s an unusual tanginess to this wine, a little twist on the tongue enhanced by moderate tannins. It’s fruity and bright, almost juicy, although I can’t really ascribe a specific flavor. The astringency and tart notes linger into the moderate finish.

Beaujolais Nouveau is made from Gamay grapes and intended to be bottled just months after the harvest. It is meant for immediate drinking, not aging; right-now enjoyment, not necessarily careful tasting and aging. For this purpose, and for the $10 price, this wine serves its purpose admirably. It went very well (and very quickly!) with turkey at our Christmas dinner, and it’s just as fun by itself tonight. Good times.

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