Looking at this illustration, fellow wine-writers and bloggers will understand what came in the mail to me yesterday. That’s right, the funky little VW bus, observed here by a pair of astonished, ghostly salt-and-pepper shakers, accompanied bottles of the Beaujolais Nouveau 2009 and Beaujolais-Villages Nouveau 2009 from the ever-busy producer, the so-called “King of Beaujolais,” Georges Duboeuf. Ah, the perks of the job!
It’s astonishing indeed how Duboeuf, whose title should be “King of Marketers,” elevated what was once, in long ago simpler times, a simple, innocent harvest ritual, into a worldwide phenomenon in which hundreds of thousands of people stay up all night in restaurants from Japan to New Jersey waiting to taste the first Beaujolais Nouveau shipped by overnight shipping companies. Actually, the product is already on the ground in most countries, just waiting for the traditional third Thursday in November, the 19th this year, for release. This year’s vintage is reported to be excellent but smaller in quantity due to a warm, dry summer. In Japan, for example, according to JapanToday.com, bottles of Beaujolais Nouveau shipped totaled 4.8 million, or 400,000 cases, a reduction of 30 percent from last year. Perhaps that steep of a reduction also reflects lack of interest.
This is all silly and rather harmless stuff. The sad part is that people who so eagerly participate in this annual folderol will probably never try a bottle of the great Beaujolais wines produced at the cru level from the 10 named communes of the region or even a bottle of respectable Beaujolais-Villages, typically a quaffable bistro wine.
Normally, I would rather be strapped onto the hood of a speeding Escalade and have “The Moon and New York City” mainlined into my brain 24/7 than actually review any Beaujolais Nouveau, but this year I will go along with the game and hold off until next Thursday and make a few comments on the fresh, grapey stuff, thereby, of course, just adding to the visibility of the silliness.
This year’s red and gold label for the Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais Nouveau and Beaujolais Villages Nouveau is one of the most garish in the annually changing series, resembling wallpaper in a Chinese restaurant. The wines will be priced at $10 and $11, respectively.