Le nouveau Beaujolais est arrive! And it’s terrific, and it’s. . . um, 2009. The Beaujolais “Nouveau” 2010, untimely ripped from the wineskins after a scant six weeks to be peddled to gullible guzzlers fonder of alcohol and ceremony than of flavor, is perhaps another story. Meanwhile, the newly released traditional wines from last year are well worth getting your corkscrew out for.
The vintage of 2009 was a very good one, warm, with useful rain in June and plenty of sunshine in August; the wines are rather full-bodied, fairly tannic, with acidity levels that are refreshing without making your teeth ache, and somewhat elevated (and natural) alcohol. Many will be even better with a couple of years to mature. At a recent tasting by Domaine Direct (http://www.domainedirect.co.uk/), the standard was generally high, with a couple of outstanding examples: Domaine Paul Janin et Fils Moulin-a-Vent “Clos du Tremblay” was dark and lovely, quite vibrant, and the “Vielles Vignes des Greneriers” was intense and velvety, even voluptuous (biodynamically farmed grapes, very old vines, no SO2). A trio of Fleuries from Domaine de la Madone promise great drinking now (the “Tradition”), next year (“Niagara”), and in 2012-2014 or even further (“Cuvee Speciale Vielles Vignes,” from 70- to 100-year-old vines, rich, serious, sensuous, sensational).
Then, just to pleasantly surprise me and upend the conventional wisdom some more, a friend went to Paris and brought me back a delicious 2010 Beaujolais Nouveau, made by Pierre-Marie Chermette at Domaine du Vissoux and bottled for the venerable wine bar/shop Legrand—it's not chaptalized, barely filtered, and hearty and jolly as a peasant uncle in a Dumas novel. An augury? Things seem to be looking up after all.