My dad used to drink and my mom did not like it. But that’s not the side of the story I want to say. The story is that Dad used to let us, kids, taste from his glass. Face it: back in Europe we tasted from Dad’s glass and we ended up being way better behaved than our American peers. But I digress…
Anyway, Dad used to drink a lot of bulk wine. That’s how they make it, back in Europe. You go to a small wine store that has the wines in barrels, you taste, you like – you buy it in a plastic two-liter bottle. You don’t age it (and they probably don’t, either), you don’t store it in a cellar. It’s the wine for a day or two – just drink it. Dad used to chill his, white or red, especially in the summer. And at dinner he’d have a glass or two, and in-between he’d sneak in the kitchen and get a few sips more.
I did not drink until two years ago. I still get tipsy from a full glass of wine. And since I started wine school and wine tastings, I could never find the taste of wine my dad used to drink. Until two weeks ago.
We tasted in class a flick of wines, and among them was a Beaujolais Nouveau from Burgundy, France, made out of black Gamay grapes. The professor explained that it is a limited release and there is a whole fuss around it, all according to French legislation. The wine is fermented for a few short weeks after harvest, does not get tannin-taste, it stays very fresh and fruity. You can’t keep it more than one year, it’s not a wine that can be aged. It is released one minute after midnight, the third Thursday of November and (if you’re lucky) you can find it until the end of December, when the sale stops. Before drinking it, you have to chill it a bit, maybe 30-40 min.
To me, Beaujolais Nouveau smelt like sunny late fall days, back in Europe… scarf days – not too cold, not too hot. The taste of it suddenly reminded me of Dad and all his quiet funny faces, behind Mom’s back. I went to Trader Joe’s and bought two more bottles, so I can sip and miss Dad even more.
If you want to try it, it works really well with cheese, chicken, turkey and other winter meat dishes but it’s not big enough for steak. And it’s under $10 for a bottle. Worth bringing it to family gatherings and events where you could stick your nose in the glass and answer only if asked. J