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When it comes to wine, those of the Beaujolais family (not to be confused with F&S Gun Nut Phil Bourjaily’s family) have become synonymous with Thanksgiving, so much so it’s kind of cliche. While I generally don’t tend to run with the in-crowd, this is the one time of year I pile on the Beaujolais bandwagon, and here’s why.
1. I’m cheap. Beaujolais are generally cheap as well, especially those of the Nouveau appellation. A bottle of George Duboeuf shouldn’t set you back more than $10-14. Same goes for my favorite, a Louis Jadot Beaujolais-Villages. Expect to spend about $20 or more for anything of the Cru designation.
2. It’s accessible, even for wine newbies. By its nature, Beaujolais-Nouveau is a young wine, typically just 6-8 weeks old when it’s introduced just before Thanksgiving. That youthful age keeps things simple, with a clean texture and bright flavor that’s not too bold or too sweet.
3. Beaujolais is versatile. Because the easy-drinking red is so simple, its flavor doesn’t compete with your Thanksgiving dinner. Beaujolas-Nouveau pairs with white or dark turkey meat, or if your dinner plans call for pork, venison or even wild goose, it matches just as well. Same goes for the wide variety of side dishes that end up on the Thanksgiving table.
4. It’s okay to drink Beaujolais cool (but never cold). Many new or inexperienced wine drinkers often shun red wine because they’ve been taught it’s supposed to be served at room temperature. Beaujolais on the other hand benefits from 10-15 minutes in the refrigerator, just so it’s cool to the tongue, but not chilled.
5. Did I mention it’s inexpensive? In fact, I usually just buy a couple of bottle before turkey day, then stock up a week or two later when liquor stores often blow-out Beaujolais at great prices. My best steal yet was a case of George Deboeuf for less than $80. And yes, by accepted Beaujolais-Nouveau tradition, I drink it all before New Year’s Day.