Nouveau Crisis: Averted!
TL; DR: Nouveau and Thanksgiving: as with the Statue of Liberty, occasionally America and France synch up! We just got a tiny dribble of the tiny trickle of French Nouveau that made it across the Atlantic (the global supply crisis is real!)... and an equally fractional amount of some of the coolest Cali Nouveaux there are! Get 'em while we've got 'em, or hold your peace till 2022!
Think the current global shipping crisis is limited to microchips, bicycles, and olive oil? Mais non, monsieur! It's affected the veritable hallmark of autumn itself: the magic of a freshly harvested, freshly pressed Nouveau wine!
Between 1) a late and drastically reduced harvest (like many regions in France, quantities were slashed via spring frosts and summer hails) and 2) supply chain cluster@#*!-induced shipping delays that made it almost impossible to get the wine across the Atlantic in time? Less Beaujolais Nouveau reached American shores than ever before!
Ahem: does this matter, you ask? 'Isn't the microchip shortage more important?' you demur, world-wearily brandishing your dog-eared copy of The Economist.
To that we say: when was the last time a microchip affirmed the joy of being a live human in autumn?
At its best? Nouveau's a celebration of fall (and wine) in its purest and simplest form. Properly considered, it's nothing short of amazing to realize that just weeks before, this wine was a cluster of grapes in a grower's vineyard. Fresh, light, and the very definition of gulpable, Nouveau's meant less for ponderous reflection than for joyous celebration... but some of us end up reflecting on the passage of seasons despite ourselves!
Martha Stoumen's "Patatino," named after her little potato
Our Crisis Management Plan:
1) Get lucky! The horse we bet on came in! While many producers got stuck on boats, our fave classic Beaujolais producer, Pierre-Marie Chermette, somehow got his wines to us not just on time, but early! We received minuscule quantities of both his "Griottes" Nouveau and his old-vine "Origine" Nouveau, and they're as affordable as they are stone-cold gulpable. (We have a tiny handful of magnums, too!)
2) Look around you! Nouveau's not just for the French! Why live in a glorious, wine-producing state like California... and not sample and celebrate the our favorite local winemakers' recent harvests? Californian Nouveau is a window into the flip side of living in a dynamic wine culture: if, say, Napa Cabs are grandiose attempts to make Wagnerian operas, these are the mixtapes made by the late-night DJs whose parties you used to get invited to. Names like Broc. Cruse. Martha Stoumen. Presqu'ile. Think: bolts of galvanic energy instead of blue chip investments... and a vivifying force for the holiday table, for sure!
2021 Chermette "Griottes" Nouveau: $17. Buy here!
The quintessence of Beaujolais Nouveau.
2021 Chermette "Origine" Nouveau: $19.50. Buy here!
Extremely rare for Beaujolais Nouveau, this is a Nouveau sourced entirely from old vines! Gamay at its purest: dark purple, well-structured, with notes of cassis and raspberry.
2021 Chermette "Origine" MAGNUMS: $40. Buy here!
As limited as all of these are, these are *extremely* limited; get yours now, or wait till 2022!
The West Coasters:
2021 Broc Nouveau: $25. Buy here!
In 2021 Berkeley-ite Chris Brockway went fully Broc-wild: he made a blend of literally *every* wine that came into the winery (white, rosé and red) from his 2021 Harvest.
2021 Cruse Nouveau: $27. Buy here!
The man recently named SF Chronicle’s Winemaker of the Year is a master of Valdiguie, California's answer to Gamay. Fresh, fruity and - dare we say it? - kinda complex! Plums, strawberries, rhubarb, & peppery notes.
2021 Presqu'ile Nouveau: $27. Buy here!
Even the label tells you: it's baby Gamay! Fresh off the press not from nine time zones away, but from 5 hours down the 101!
2021 Martha Stoumen "Patatino": $33. Buy here!
One of California's most celebrated woman winemakers, Martha Stoumen's at it again: having slightly more vinous fun than anyone else! Named after her "little potato" (her prenatal name for her son), her Nouveau is a blend of Pinot Noir and Petite Sirah. The light, wild, jubilant and almost Jura-esque (Poulsard?) red that's going on our T-Day table.
Nouveau and the West Coast: They Just Kinda Go Together