The holiday season, which began with Halloween, picked up speed today with the release of this year's Beaujolais Nouveau. According to French tradition, the quality of Beaujolais Nouveau purportedly reflects the quality of the vintage overall, but it's always "great," so that marketing scheme pretty much has lost its impact.
Nowadays, Beaujolais Nouveau is seen more realistically as just what it is, a youthful, fruity, zesty and easily drinkable wine best suited for casual harvest parties, including Thanksgiving.
I just tasted three releases at David Berkley Fine Wines & Specialty Foods, and the wines are just what Beaujolais Nouveau should be - fresh, buoyant and unchallenging. My favorite was from Domaine DuPueble ($16 regularly, $14.50 on special), which won me over for its bright cranberry color, fruity fragrance, slim build and earthy flavor, which ran to beets, cranberries and spice. I wouldn't, however, refuse a glass of the other two being poured, the frisky and cherry-accented Louis Tete ($13 and $11), put up in a traditional Beaujolais "pot" bottle, and the fleshy, firm and noble Georges DuBoeuf ($16 and $13.50).
As he poured the wines, David Berkley said that drinking Beaujolais Nouveau on the day it's released assures the consumer of "fun, frolic, good will and prosperity" in the new year. Could be another marketing scheme, but we'll suspend judgment until this time next year.