(2023)

The third Thursday of November is Beaujolais Nouveau day. The tradition of releasing young wines more or less 'straight from the barrel' goes back for the best part of 100 years, but is still popular across the globe. The grapes for these wines were still on the vine in mid-September, so being able to drink them in mid-November is quite extraordinarily for red wine. One secret to that is that Nouveau is made with a proportion of carbonic maceration, a fermentation that keeps tannins soft and fruit to the fore.

Much Bojo Novo is at best inoffensive and quaffable, but a few aspire to something greater; if not more 'serious', then certainly more interesting. This wine - from the Villages appellation of the best vineyards - is fermented with wild yeasts, has no added sulphites, and is certified Terra Vitis, ensuring minimal synthetic chemicals were used in the vineyard. Deep, tooth-staining purple in colour, it weighs in with a hearty 14% alcohol. Forget the bubblegum aromas of some examples, this is deeply hued with plum and dark cherry, gravel and a lapsang-souchong note that is smoky and dark. In the mouth fruit is wonderfully sweet, plump and pure, yet crunchy too with enough tannin and a vivid acidity freshening the finish.  It is a delight, and available for under £11 per bottle by the case - even cheaper for bulk orders.

(2022) Yep, it's Bojo Novo day (Thursday November 17th 2022) but here's one that marches to a different beat: fermented with indigenous yeasts and with no added sulfites, it's a Beaujolais that could almost qualify as a 'natural wine', not farmed organically but in a strict eco-friendly and sustainable viticultural methodology, using no synthetic fungicides, insecticides, weed-killers or fertilisers. The colour is an astonishingly vivid deep purple, and the nose clear as a bell with scents of black cherry plus fine aromatic herbs and spices. In the mouth it bursts with fresh, crunchy black fruit. There's an inherent sweet fruit ripeness, but this is a dry and savoury wine, tannins and plum-skin gripping acidity extending the finish. Available by the dozen from Christopher Piper Wines (Christopher is also involved in making the wine) at the equivalent of £10.13 per bottle.
(2021) Wine merchant Chris Piper is passionate about Beaujolais, with close ties to the Château de Grandmont. On sale since the third Thursday of November, as is traditional for Beaujolais 'Nouveau', two flags hint that this might be a worthwhile example: it is certified organic, and it comes from the superior Beaujolais-Villages appellation. It has a wonderfully vivid purple colour and classically lifted aromas of cherry and watercolour paintbox, but there's something a little herbaceous and gravelly too. On the palate that gravel and a dry nut-husk character gives the otherwise buoyant and juicy red fruits a nicely savoury aspect, along with good acidity to leave the finish fruity, gently spicy and crisp. Watch the video for more information and food-matching ideas.
(2021) Described by La Scolca as the most tradtional of their Gavis. It is 100% Cortese from the high hills of Rovereto Superiore di Gavi, this is feather-light with 12% alcohol and delicate citrus, fresh-cut apple and some floral nuances. In the mouth it has a fine, juicy, mouth-watering core that is citrus again, but not aggressive, something more peachy comes in as the slightly saline acid fills the finish to give a little richness.
(2015) Pale colour and gorgeous perfume, all floral and briar, the soft truffle and woodland note, the very fresh acidity and lean profile, perhaps a touch more flesh would be nice, but the trade off is that freshness and alertness.