I am lightening the mood and the wine this week in preparation for next Thursday, 19th November – Beaujolais Nouveau Day. I remember a big fuss being made of Beaujolais Nouveau back in the Eighties when I started working in the wine trade. There were eccentric Tufton-Buftons who would drive their jalopies at high speed back from Southern Burgundy, like scenes from Wacky Races, arriving in the City in time for Beaujolais Breakfast so we could taste the very first fruits of the vintage! Thousands would gather in pubs and bars before work on the third Thursday of November to usher in the new vintage rouge consuming a trouser-full of fresh, juicy Gamay and a Full English before bounding into work to fall asleep at their desks.
Then it all went rather silent. Beaujolais Nouveau experienced a couple of scandals, and a few cheating aviators started winning the race by virtue of their mode of transport, and we fell out of love with this quaint and harmless tradition.
I am delighted that this farcical annual celebration is back with a bang. While I am not permitted to say that I have tasted this wine, let alone describe what it tastes like, I can assure you that I would not have interrupted Wednesday Wines and its regular volleys of serious wine recommendations to tell you about a non-story.
2022 Beaujolais Villages Nouveau, Cécile Dardanelli, Domaine Bel Avenir, France (£13.33, reduced to £12.00 each in a case of six) is imported by Wickhams, and this wine has inspired me to spread the word about their terrific and rather amusing initiative.
Jump on to the Wickhams website here www.wickhamwine.co.uk, and pre-order your six-pack of this wine. Then join Pip and Dan from Wickhams at 18.30 on 17th November, Beaujolais Nouveau Day, for an online tasting of the very first wine of 2022 with like-minded, thirsty disciples! I would advise cranking up some Indian snacks (those M&S reheat versions are tasty) to accompany this bonanza.
A couple of notes on the estate – Domaine Bel Avenir
Cecile and Alain Dardenelli are fourth-generation winemakers in La Chapelle de Guinchay, 3km east of Chenas. Their grapes are harvested from vines planted on different terroirs: siliceous clay (St-Amour), granite (Chenas), and limestone. Albert Dardanelli created the estate in 1961 and has since expanded to 18ha with vineyards in six Beaujolais Crus.