Authentic Beaujolais

Beaujolais Nouveau © T. Joly
November and early December are the months of Beaujolais Nouveau. Bottles are everywhere but many of them taste too much alike. However small winemakers produce very good ones you can find in some wine stores.

[ Practical ]

- Domaine Robert Perroud
Odenas, Rhône
Tel : 0474043563
- Domaine Fellot
Rivolet, Rhône
Tel : 0474673775
- Emmanuel Mandrillon
Liergues, Rhône
Tel : 0474688522
- Pascal Berthier
Crêches-sur Saône, Saône-et-Loire
Tel : 0385374164
- Domaine Dupré
Les Ardillats, Rhône
Tel : 0474048814
Wine stores
- HD Vins
1 rue Dante, 75005 Paris
Emmanuel Mandrillon and Pascal Berthier Beaujolais Nouveau
- Caves de la Transat
91 rue Galliéni, 92100 Boulogne Billancourt as well in Rouen and in Le Havre.
Domaine Fellot and Domaine Robert Perroud Beaujolais Nouveau.
- Le Vin Sobre in Marseille, Les Caves Rosel near Caen, La Boutique des Vins in Toulouse, Le Chai in Poitiers, L’Entrepôt in Les Mureaux (78) and Le Nouveau Panier Frais in Epone (78).
Domaine Robert Perroud Beaujolais Nouveau.
- Cave du Gourmet in Strasbourg, Cave du Château in Brie Comte Robert (77), Mor Braz in Soisy-sous-Montmorency (95), Treille de Cormeilles in Cormeilles (95), Cave Bordelaise in Biarritz, Cave Barthod in Besançon.
Domaine Fellot Beaujolais Nouveau.
- Chemin des Vignes, 113 avenue de Verdun, 92130 Issy-les-Moulineaux and 7 rue Pasquier, 75008 Paris
Domaine Dupré Beaujolais Nouveau.
- Terroirs Originels
Tel : 0474695382
The third Thursday of November is ritually and by law the day the Beaujolais Nouveau is released. An event celebrated worldwide in numerous bars and restaurants. Then, this purple-pink coloured wine said to be light and fruity is for weeks on the front windows of wines stores and supermarkets.

Beaujolais © DR
 Talented winemakers
However the craze is not anymore what it was in the 90’s. Many consumers have been disappointed complaining about several flaws : the wines homogeneity, too many of them taste too much alike, the fermentation using a type of yeast that imparts a banana smell, and an overall poor quality.
For sure Beaujolais Nouveau is not a wine to be kept for ageing. Made from Gamay grapes, it is a wine meant for immediate drinking with very little tannins, dominated by fruity flavours, and lightweight even by Beaujolais standards. But if you stay away from the cheaper offerings and the mass producers you can find excellent ones.
The Beaujolais region indeed counts a number of talented and conscientious winemakers crafting first-rate wines. Members of Terroirs Originels are part of them.

Robert Perroud © DR
 Hand picking harvest
Founded in 1997 this association gathers together winemakers from the Beaujolais, Mâconnais and Coteaux du Lyonnais appellations that share the same values. They all aim to produce authentic and quality wines that reflect their personality and the terroir. In order to do so they take very good care of their vineyards, have a high density plantation, harvest by hand picking and do everything by themselves from vines cultivation to bottling.
And you can notice the difference when it comes to tasting. The Domaine Robert Perroud Beaujolais Nouveau offers a nose carrying strong but harmonious red berries aromas and has a beautifully balanced fruit intensity and persistence on the palate with a smooth end. But is it surprising coming from this winemaker known to produce some of the best Brouilly and Côtes de Brouilly ?...
Slightly darker in colour, the Domaine Fellot Beaujolais Nouveau has a nose mingling red berries and ripe fruits aromas while it is generously fruity with a long lasting finish on the palate.

Jean-Michel Dupré © DR
 Mineral notes
Owning mainly steep hillside vineyards facing the South, Emmanuel Fellot also produces a Beaujolais Village Nouveau that has a similar red berry aroma with a slight touch of black cherry while it has a glimpse of smooth tannins and a bit more complexity on the palate. This description also fits the Emmanuel Mandrillon Beaujolais Nouveau. And this winemaker has a specificity making him unique. He is the only one producing a Beaujolais Nouveau Rosé, a refreshing wine with notes of peach and pear on the palate.
Lastly, the Pascal Berthier Beaujolais Nouveau – a winemaker known for his Saint Amour - and the Domaine Dupré Vigne 1911 Beaujolais Nouveau are more complex, more concentrated wines. Both have a dark ruby colour and a nose mingling red berries and mineral aromas. Their palate is round, elegant, fruity and they have smooth tannins. Fermented without yeast, the Domaine Dupré gets better if you aerate or put it in decanter for a while. As all the other ones you can even keep it for two or three years. Their retail prices range from 5,80 € to 7 € a bottle.

November 21, 2008
Thierry Joly