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Beaujolais
New Review
Gareth Groves works for Bibendum

Remember, remember the third Thursday of November. It's Beaujolais nouveau day, the day that a lot of raw red wine that has barely finished fementing is let loose on the world with a whimper. It's a wine that French magazine was once sued for calling 'merde'. It's a shame, proper beaujolais deserves better.

 

Right now I have a glass of wine by my keyboard. It's a light, ruby red that bursts with savoury red fruits on the nose and is dry, refreshing and fruity on the palate. It has just washed down a simple plate of salad, tatties and chicken and tastes like the summer evening that is fading outside the kitchen window. We should all be drinking this stuff twice a week between May and August.

 

Why aren't we? Mainly because it reminds us of the bad old days when wine was a novelty and we couldn't tell the difference between Burgundy and battery acid, and thought anything with a cork was sophisticated. To our shame, it took the bloody Australians to show us the French were ripping us off.

 

The days of UK drinkers queuing up to buy Beaujolais Nouveau are long gone. We're too wise for that now, too sophisticated. Only we've failed to realise we are throwing the baby out with the bath water. Proper Beaujolais like the wine next in my glass is delicious. It may be simple and uncomplicated, but it is fun. A vinous PG Wodehouse compared to the serious literature of high-brow fine wine.

 

What should you look out for on a label? Ironically, not the word Beaujolais. The best wines will be labelled with one of the 10 Crus which make the best wine: Morgon, Moulin-a-Vent, Chiroubles, Brouilly, Cote de Brouilly, Julienas, Fleurie, St Amour, Chenas and Regnie. Awkward, I know.

 

Made from the Gamay grape that was banned from Burgundy's vineyards in 1395 by the medieval wine snob Duke Philip The Bold, Beaujolais has been a hick cousin for too long. It's time to welcome it back by pouring a large glass on a summer lunchtime and getting properly stuck in.

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