This week, the wine industry lost one of it’s tireless trailblazers. the icon Georges Duboeuf, famous for making Beaujolais wines famous. He died aged 86.
With Georges’ passing, the entire wine world paused in silent reflection.
Perhaps you’ve tried some of Georges Duboeuf’s Beaujolais wine?
What is Beaujolais wine?
For the most part, Beaujolais is a red wine that smells and tastes of bright raspberry and cherry fruits. These wines are never drying or bitter and most are made for immediate consumption and pleasure. That is, the vast majority of them do not require cellaring and are just scrumptiously delicious on release. Glug, glug!
Yet, there are a few rare rosé Beaujolais wines. But they are a unicorn.
All Beaujolais wines are dry. Yet most give you the impression of sweetness because they are so deliciously fruity. Georges Duboeuf’s Beaujolais wines are the standard.
In fact one style of Beaujolais, Beaujolais Nouveau, is the earliest legally released wine in all of France.
On the third Thursday in November after harvest, at 12:01 am, the first Beaujolais Nouveau is released to the public with much fanfare. Massive parties, torchlight parades and fireworks flood the region. And this party lasts an entire week!
Perhaps you weren’t aware that Georges Duboeuf, is the largest marketer extraordinaire of Beaujolais’ success.
In a region that has been shrinking steadily over the last 2 decades, the Duboeuf family has kept the regions many vignerons in business.
How Georges Duboeuf brought Beaujolais to the world
How did Georges Duboeuf keep the locals in the wine business?
He bought a whopping 20% of all grapes in the region for their Duboeuf family brand. They now make 2.5 million cases annually.
You see, not all farmers know how to label their wines and get them to market. But Duboeuf started selling wine from his bicycle at the age of 19. By 1964, he bought the license to be a négociant, a business that can buy grapes and make wine under one label.
Truthfully, the Duboeuf domain only owns one Beaujolais estate: Château des Capitan’s in the Cru of Julienas. The rest of his grapes come from other vignerons.
Georges then partnered with the celebrated Lyon chef, Paul Bocuse, that created the success that is Beaujolais Nouveau. Together they created a buzz that spread from Lyon to Paris to New York and to the rest of the world.
Even today, cafe’s in Paris will place signs in their windows to announce the new vintage. “Le Beaujolais Nouveau est arrivé!” or “Beaujolais Nouveau has arrived!”
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What is Beaujolais Nouveau?
Beaujolais Nouveau wines are released when they are maybe 1-2 months old. The ‘Nouveau’ wines are younger and fresher than the wines labelled as Beaujolais.
Beaujolais Nouveau are made with a winemaking technique known as carbonic maceration. This brightens the colour of the wine to give it a bright fuchsia rim. But it also gives it the pronounced candied cherry fruit aromas and flavours.
All Beaujolais wines made from 100% Gamay grapes.
How to serve Georges Duboeuf's Beaujolais Nouveau?
Although Beaujolais Nouveau is a red wine, it should be chilled before drinking. Serving temperature for this light bodied red wine is best at a cool 10 º Celsius.
In fact, most sources say you should chill the wine to bring out the fruit flavors. Chilling the wine also tapers the sour tartness of these super young wines.
Here in Whistler, Canada. I just plop the bottle in the snowbank for 15 minutes, et voilà!
Drink immediately and do not cellar. Bottoms up!
(In fact, during the week of celebrations, the native French are known to drink Beaujolais Nouveau in large heavy beer glasses with handles!)
What foods should you pair with Beaujolais Nouveau?
Beaujolais Nouveau is a wonderful answer to all those Asian dishes that are tough to pair with wine. Therefore, Asian fusion dishes that have soy sauce in them or spice work wonderfully with the intense cherry fruit.
It’s a red wine that equally matches salmon dishes. Their intense fishy oils are washed away on the palate with Beaujolais Nouveau. Think too of raw fish and soy sauce in sushi!
Beaujolais wines are medium alcohol only. Somewhere between 11.5 – 13% abv. Accordingly, they don’t create much heat when drunk with spicy dishes.
But medium weighted meats are also a good partner. Duck, pork, and venison fit the bill. The cherries and raspberry fruits in the wine stand up to any fruit compote condiment in the dish.
So, if it’s that time of the year after the third Thursday in November, snatch up a bottle of Beaujolais Nouveau. Raise a glass to Georges Duboeuf! And thank him for bringing Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais Nouveau to the world!
Hurry up, these wines don’t last long!