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2002 Beaujolais Nouveau Report
Copyright 2002 by Robin Garr. All rights reserved. Originally printed November 27, 2002. For more information go to

As I mentioned the other day, I was in no particular rush to taste the Beaujolais Nouveau last Thursday night. The annual frivolity surrounding France's first taste of the new vintage can be fun, but this modest, quickly produced young red doesn't really justify making special plans for its third-Thursday-in-November release if you already have something interesting to do.

This wine can wait, at least for a while ... although it's best not to defer it too long, as the conventional wisdom holds that Beaujolais Nouveau is best drunk up before New Year's Day. (Nothing terrible will happen if you keep it longer, but the fresh fruitiness that is its primary reason for being will eventually fade.)

So, giving the excitement (such as it is) a few days to die down, I picked up three samples of the new wine this week. Based on those tastings, I would say that 2002 was an unusually good year for this wine. In contrast with the harsh and vinegary qualities that Beaujolais Nouveau presents in years when the weather didn't cooperate, these three wines were uniformly presentable: Fruity and somewhat grapey, reasonably well balanced and easy to quaff if not to contemplate deeply.


Dark garnet. Typical Beaujolais strawberries mix with brown sugar and a not-unpleasant whiff of red-wine vinegar, but there's no sign of the characteristic Duboeuf "banana" and "cotton-candy" scents, and I don't miss them. Ripe and grapey flavors, sweet fruit over sufficient acidity. Fresh and bright, it's a crowd-pleasing Nouveau, easy to swallow.

FOOD MATCH: Sweet fruit makes it a decent match with a lightly spicy shrimp Creole.


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