This past weekend marked the release of the first wine from our 2020 harvest: a traditional Beaujolais-style red Nouveau wine. Carl beat the worldwide release date (stemming from the Beaujolais region's long-held traditions) of the third Thursday in November, by quite a lot this time!
Carl and I agree that this year's Nouveau is our favorite, from all of the recent years that we've been producing it. (This is his 20th Allegro Nouveau.) This year's wine is the first one made from the grapes in our young Arandell vineyard, a block of vines within what we actually call "The Nouveau Vineyard" here in The Brogue. (Back in mid-August, this vineyard was featured in an article by Paul Vigna for PennLive.com.) These disease-resistant grapes have the perfect flavor characteristics for a bright Nouveau wine. A splash of Chancellor grapes from our Stewartstown vineyards complements the Arandell.
For Carl's early Nouveau vintages in the early 2000s, he took the grapes through a fermentation process called "carbonic maceration." This traditional Beaujolais technique involved fermenting the grapes whole, rather than after crushing them. The whole-berry fermentation leads to very fruity wines with few palpable tannins, since the juice hasn't been in contact with as much of the skins and stems as traditionally fermented juice. (It's also, he reports, an act of masochism in the cellar.) What ends up being most important is the light and celebratory flavor, reminiscent of cherries.
The best feature of Nouveau wines, apart from their heralding of the beginning of the release of a new vintage, is that they are so incredibly versatile when it comes to pairing with food. Hands down, Nouveau is my top recommended wine for pairing with holiday feasts. These feasts tend to contain so many different kinds of flavors--from meaty to herbal to spicy to sweet--that wine pairing can be quite challenging. Oaked wines tend to not pair well with sweeter or spicier dishes, but the unoaked Nouveau really shines on the table--and makes a wide variety of food shine, as well.
To celebrate the Nouveau release, we had an early-November feast (our second official Thanksgiving-ish meal of the season so far). This one included:
-Red Wine Vinegar Chicken (a traditional Beaujolais Nouveau companion)
-Squash Stuffing Bake: a yummy blend of veggies, torn bread, and herbs
-Charred Sweet Potatoes: This one Bon Appétit recipe alone would have been a challenge for pairing with any wine but fresh Nouveau. Its combination of sweetness, spice, citrus, and nuttiness provides a real flavor and texture explosion.
-Pear Tarte Tatin: fun to make, deliciously sophisticated in flavor
Allegro's Nouveau is available in limited quantities for select Wine Club members and visitors to our sales locations.
Cheers to the 2020 vintage!