Domaine Dupeuble Beaujolais Nouveau 2018
Releasing wine right after the harvest is common across Europe, drunk to celebrate the completion of harvest and as a chance to assess the style and quality of the vintage. But no other region has marketed young, freshly-fermented wine quite so successfully as Beaujolais, perceptions of which are most often negatively dominated by Beaujolais Nouveau.
The style arose after phylloxera and two wars had left the region in a sorry state and it badly needed reviving. The marketing solution in the early 1960s was Beaujolais Nouveau, a young wine that had long been been made for local consumption but which began to be sold commercially across France and the UK.
The style is perfectly suited to the fruity, youthful freshness of Gamay, and by the early 1990s over 50% of Beaujolais sold around the world was Nouveau. That success was both a good and a bad thing.
Tasting a wine that’s only just finished fermenting is fun, but there’s a reason why wine is aged before release and the simple structure of Beaujolais Nouveau damaged the region, even if it had once saved it.
But Beaujolais is back. Quality is on the rise, and that’s true of Nouveau which is undergoing a quiet renaissance. This 2018 release from Domaine Dupeuble both surprised and greatly impressed me by its quality, structure, and complexity. It’s a great expression of both Gamay and Beaujolais, fresh, fruity, floral, slightly green and carbonic, with a light tannic edge. This is exactly what young Beaujolais should taste like.
It’s astonishing that such a young wine should taste so good and have such a serious edge to it. Phenomenally good winemaking is at the core of this: I’d love to track the few weeks between picking, fermentation, bottling, and shipping.
I’ve heard that 2018 is the best Beaujolais vintage in decades. If the point of Beaujolais Nouveau is to assess the vintage, then I can’t wait for the regular 2018s to be released.
Grape Variety: Gamay
Food pairing: pizza, pasta, grilled meat, boeuf bourgignon