Cheers! Wine Consultants

Fun, fruity Nouveau is perfect for the holidays

By Dan & Krista Stockman


Three weeks ago, Beaujolais Nouveau was released, and we got to work immediately.

We searched high and low for all the Nouveau we could (easily) find, and came up with wines from six different makers. You might think if the wine is intended to represent the terroir – the characteristics of the region it is from – and it is made of the same grapes from the same vintage, the wines wouldn't be very different. But they were. Some were simple and fun while others embraced a complexity beyond the wine's youthful existence.

We started our three-week Nouveau party with Georges DuBoeuf. The DuBoeuf is usually the easiest to find and typically sells for less than $10 a bottle. This year, we found it at Kroger for $9. This is a wine that you can pretty much count on being the same year after year. DuBoeuf is consistently fun and fruity (which does NOT mean sweet). It's light-hearted and friendly. From the moment you pop the cork to the last sip, it screams Nouveau.

The next bottle was from Mommessin and featured a Cancan dancer on the label. “The French Cancan, a symbol of French dance, celebrates life and provides our everyday life with energy and happiness,” the label reads. The same could be said for Nouveau. This Nouveau had a bright fresh nose that fit perfectly with the bright fruit flavors of the wine. This was fun from beginning to end and made a great pizza wine. We also found this one at WineTime for $14.

Next up was the Joseph Drouhin, which we picked up from Binney's for $9.99, but which is now also available at WineTime for $15. This Nouveau does not feel the need to scream about its youthfulness. It is much more reserved with a smooth mellowness rounded with blackberry flavors. This is a wine that despite its youth, has enough acid to pair well with blue cheese. It still has that light-bodied Nouveau feel, but just a little more grown up than others.

Our fourth bottle was produced by Henry Fessy and also had a Cancan dancer on the label. Talk about fun. We were ready for this one, and it was ready for us. This wine was the most substantial of the Nouveau we tried. This was no baby wine. It had nice floral notes and even a bit of a bite in the finish. And, yet, like the Cancan dancer on the label, it didn't take itself too seriously. It was still fun and sassy and kept calling you back for more. We found this one at Binny's for $9.99.

Next was the Domaine Rochette, which was sold at WineTime for $16. It had the yeastiest nose but still and was a little more reserved than some of the others. This is not unusual for the Rochette. Year after year we have found that this one is a little more mature in the fruit flavors – a little darker fruit and not quite as bright. Yet, it is still fun and light and everything a Nouveau should be.

We found our final bottle at Costco for $7.99 – the Bouchard Aine & Fils. This one is a lot like the DuBoeuf in that it is uncomplicated. It is straight up a fun, young wine. It is Nouveau. It does not require a lot of thought to drink. And, it makes a statement that it is here for a short period of time and then it's gone. Drink me now, it says.

We love Nouveau because it's approachable and fun, and it's great for parties because even most non-wine drinkers love it and it's great with food. But it's even more fun when you can compare several different Nouveaus head to head. WineTime still has a few bottles each of the Mommessin, Domaine Rochette and Joseph Drouhin, but they're going fast.

If you haven't had any Nouveau yet this year, the clock is ticking. Nouveau should really only be on shelves through the end of the year. These are not wines to save. These are not wines to age. These are wines that want to be picked up, brought to a party and enjoyed.