In Ontario, a few wineries have gotten in on the French tradition.
The third Thursday in November marks a special day in the wine world.
In France, we see the release of the “Nouveau” wines. These are the first wines of the 2016 vintage that will hit the market. Only 10 weeks ago, these wines were literally still grapes hanging on a the vine. The history of these wines is that they were made to reward the vineyard workers after the harvest for their hard work.
These wines are not “serious” wines and, contrary to what you would believe about most wines, these are not bottles you want to save. Beaujolais Nouveau actually deteriorates in the bottle and it will only be as good as the day that you buy it.
It’s light-bodied, tastes best with a bit of a chill, generally has a touch of sweetness, and drinks very easy.
Nouveau has its origins in France. In Beaujolais, they use Gamay to make their red wines so it’s no surprise that we find a few wineries in Ontario experimenting with this style of wine. In recent years, you’ve also been able to find bottles on the shelf originating from Italy called “Novello.”
In Ontario over the past few years, there have been a few wineries that have gotten in on the French tradition. At the LCBO you will be able to find the Gamay Nouveau from Reif Estate in with the French and Italian wines.
In Niagara, you will also find Vieni Estates makes a Gamay Nouveau. In Prince Edward County, you can find offerings from Trail Estate and Domaine Darius.
At the LCBO, you will find nine bottles available for sale: two from Ontario, two from Italy, and five from France.
2016 Reif “The Hanging Man” Kerner Nouveau – LCBO 408014 – $12.95
This is the only white Nouveau you will find at the LCBO. The nose is bright lemon and white flower. There is a slight sweetness to this wine but there is nice acidity to balance it out.
2016 Reif “The Fool” Gamay Nouveau – LCBO 220483 – $12.95
There is slight earthiness on the nose under the black cherry that I have come to expect from this wine. Juicy blackberry and maraschino cherry are what you find on the palate, with a hint of sweetness on the finish. Nice acidity helps cut through the sweetness.
2016 Mezzacorona Novello – LCBO 443192 – $9.95
Coming from Italy, this wine is made from Teroldego grapes instead of Gamay. There is a nice concentration to the raspberry and cherry flavours on the nose and on the palate.
2016 Negrar Novello Del Veneto – LCBO 899955 – $9.95
The nose on this wine is strawberry and banana. While the nose is a fruit salad, when you take your first sip you will notice this sits a little heavier on the palate. The finish is balanced with acidity but a little bit of sweetness lingers.
2016 Duboeuf Nouveau – LCBO 891846 – $10.95
This is the standout from the lineup of wines offered this year. This wine delivers everything you would expect from a great Gamay. There is a nice cracked black pepper note on the nose layered over candied cherry. This fruit-driven wine brings a lot of cherry and strawberry to the party but leaves clean with the return of the pepper note from the nose.
2016 Art’s Beaujolais Primeur Nouveau – LCBO 366476 – $13.95
I am reminded of Grade 7 when I take my first sniff out of the glass as this wine reminds me of fruit snacks… the red ones. While this does have a bit of sweetness it certainly isn’t as sweet as the lunchtime gummies from school. Fresh cherry and a clean finish are what to expect here.
2016 Mommessin Beaujolais – LCBO 897934 – $13.95
There is a subtle aroma of pepper over ripe red cherry on the nose of this bottle. The cherry flavours are nice and concentrated in the glass. Good acidity and a clean finish with just a touch of sweetness that lingers.
2016 Joseph Drouhin Beaujolais Villages – LCBO 113266 – $15.95
When I tasted this wine it had aromas of banana, cherry, and strawberry. The banana on the nose won’t last for long, so if you’re reading this note you should grab a bottle and open it as soon as you can.
2016 Duboeuf Beaujolais Villages – LCBO 932780 – $15.95
There is something very interesting about this wine. It has the hints of black pepper and cherry—pretty typical for a nouveau—but there is something extra tossed in there. There’s a distinct aroma of cinnamon hearts in with the fresh fruit.