by Fred McMillin
for December 11, 1997
Something New Under the Sun
February, 1976—"The 1975 Beaujolais nouveau in Paris was not very good and that finding its way to New York was worse, not worth the $3.50 or more for a bottle."
c. February, 1989—"Beaujolais nouveau is an amusing diversion in the late fall."
But regardless of the critics, the public bought the wine, millions and millions of bottles every year. So, today, the youthful wine is recognized by other critics as "extremely important." Last November, even the Times gave it more respect, saying "Beaujolais nouveau is a perfectly acceptable wine for Thanksgiving, easy to drink and easy on the pocketbook."
Now, this phenomenon did not go unnoticed by California vintners; a Beringer Nouveau first appeared in 1990. It is delightfully light and fruity, and available several weeks BEFORE the French version, October 28 being the release date of 1997 model. As far as we know, it's the first 1997 California wine on the market...plenty of time to check it out before the winter holidays. Winemaker Ed Sbragia has put a lot of work into this one. Believe me, it is no "amusing diversion."
Postscript: Although Ed has only a few weeks to make his Nouveau, he puts it through both CARBONIC MACERATION and MALOLACTIC FERMENTATION...there wasn't time for anything more before he had to pop it into the bottle!
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