Beaujolais nouveau wine is back in fashion '“Â Alistair Gibson
It may well have passed you by but last Thursday was the third Thursday of the month, the traditional release date of Beaujolais nouveau everyÂ year.
It's fair to say that Beaujolais nouveau does not quite enjoy the appeal that itÂ once did.
The 1980s saw it at its height with races to be the first one to bring new wineÂ back. There wereÂ breakfast parties dedicated to itÂ and Beaujolais nouveauÂ even had a starring role in Only Fools and Horses.
There are several reasons for its demise, not least the fact that the production of nouveau became so great thatÂ quality was duly effected.
AndÂ since the 1980s there has been the advent of New World wines, which are taking up more and moreÂ shelf space with flavours thatÂ more instantly appeal.
But '“ whisper it very quietly '“Â the pastÂ couple of years have seen a renewed glimmer of interest in Beaujolais nouveau, which isÂ undoubtedly a reflection of the interest in the wines of Beaujolais as a whole, rather thanÂ just about nouveau.
There is definitely a move towards lighter style reds by manyÂ drinkers and of course Beaujolais fits that profile very nicely.
Situated at the southern endÂ of Burgundy and north of the gastronomic city of Lyon, the red wines of Beaujolais '“Â there is also a little, seldom seen white produced from chardonnay '“ are produced from gamay, and can vary from simple, fruity wines to the more complex, age-worthy reds of some of the 10 Beaujolais crus.
Beaujolais-Villages '˜Combe aux Combe' 2017, Louis JadotÂ (Tesco Â£11Â but on offer at Â£8.50 until December 26) is produced by one of the mostÂ well-known wine merchants in Burgundy and is a lovely introduction to this style.Â There are a relatively high proportion of grapes added into this blend from some of the 10 cru villages, whichÂ adds to the quality of this wine.
It offers red berries on theÂ bouquet, followed by more, ripe red fruits on the palate with some nice crunchy acidityÂ before a very satisfying, juicy finish.
You could try chilling this slightly and thenÂ matchÂ with a country-style patÃ©Â or a mid-week dinner of grilled Toulouse sausages and lentils.
Moulin-Ã -Vent Les Rouchaux 2015, Thibault Liger-Belair (Â£22.50 Berry Bros &Rudd) is anÂ altogether more serious wine and shows the heights that this region can reach.
Moulin-Ã -Vent is one of the 10 cru villages and it's nice to see a Beaujolais with some bottle age.Â
Still dark in colour, there are notes of raspberries and black cherries and a little spice onÂ the bouquetÂ followed by quite a powerful mouth-feel with spice and sweet fruit, but stillÂ retaining freshness on the finish.
I think it would probably develop for another few yearsÂ but it is delicious right now and would be wonderful with a Sunday roast beef,Â maybe confit duck, or that classic burgundy dish of coq au vin.