Buzz puts the 'bozo' in Beaujolais

Posted: November 22, 2013

BUZZ: Hey Marnie, what's with all the Boojalay at the state store this week? You can't walk in without tripping over the stuff.

Marnie: It's a French wine called Beaujolais, Buzz, but the name is pronounced more like "bozo" than "booyah."

Buzz: Because only clowns drink it?

Marnie: Lots of people drink it. It's unusual among reds because it's drunk younger than most - more like white wines. What you saw was a special type of Beaujolais called Beaujolais Nouveau. Every year, a small amount of the wine is bottled as soon as possible after the harvest and rushed to market. All over the world, it's put out for sale on the same date - Beaujolais Day, the third Thursday in November.

Buzz: I thought older was always better with red wine, like whiskey.

Marnie: Most wines do need time to mellow a little after they ferment. Typically, they are aged at the winery before release - at least a couple of months for the lightest whites and up to a couple of years for heavier reds. Reds are aged longer because they contain grape-skin compounds called tannins that seem too astringent or harsh when young, but soften over time.

Beaujolais is a rare exception because it's made from a grape called gamay that is freakishly low in these harsh tannins. As a result, its light red wines can taste yummy right away.

Buzz: Sounds a little wifty to me. I like my red wine with some beef on its bones.

Marnie: Many wine lovers do, but there are plenty of times when lighter reds like Beaujolais Nouveau come in handy. Like Thanksgiving, for example.

Buzz: Oh yeah? How's that?

Marnie: Well, traditional Thanksgiving foods tend to be very high in sugar - cranberry sauce, glazed carrots and sweet potatoes with mini marshmallows. Sugary foods make most dry wines taste a little off - more sour and bitter than they normally do. It can be hard to find red wines that can handle this, but fresh, fruity Beaujolais Nouveau is one of them. It has sangria-like qualities that work extremely well with holiday meals.

As a bonus, Beaujolais is light enough to start drinking early. And it has a candy-apple quality that appeals to folks who don't normally drink wine - from grandma to the nieces and nephews in college.

Buzz: It's good to start drinking early on Thanksgiving Day? I'm out the door for a Beaujolais run.


Marnie Old is a local sommelier and

wine author known for practical

advice with real-world relevance.

Buzz's musings are interpreted by Daily News Assistant Managing Editor Gar Joseph.

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