Today is the third Thursday in November: « Le Beaujolais Nouveau est arrivé ». Montmelas is one of the grand châteaux of Beaujeu, the village which gives its name to the Beaujolais wine. There’s a real castle to visit with five centuries of family tradition. And you can stay night or two in one or other of the towers of the castle. All of course in promotion of their wines.
There’s been lots of pre-publicity that the vintage of 2017 will be small and not of good quality because of hail storms, there’s also been speculation that the Beaujolais gamay vines escaped the worst of the hail... so it’s rather interesting to now try a bottle of vin primeur, Beaujolais Nouveau 2017.
Well I have no complaints. The price on the shelves seems standard, there’s no rationing apparent neither the domain or chateau bottled nor the more generic, but still Appellation Contrôlé, Beaujolais Nouveau.
So now it’s uncorked after all of ten weeks in the bottle: strong ruby red colour, more intense than a normal Beaujolais. Strong and unusual nose, it’s banana but I had to phone a friend for a hint; just little fizz on the tongue indicating fermentation continuing
Rounded, a bit sharp even acidic but not tannic. Strong taste on the tongue for a Gamay and very front-of-tongue. No great depth or complexity and very little after taste.
We enjoyed it firstly with a Picodon (goat’s milk cheese) and a Sant Marcellin (cows milk cheese) from the Drôme region followed by Cuisse de Canard with a orange sauce, braised chicory (endive) etc.
An hour after opening (my oven here is capricious so the duck was delayed), the wine has become more normal. Still the distinctive taste of banana but the fizz on the tongue is much less and the wine is more drinkable in the conventional way.
I’m not sure I’d want to drink Beaujolais Nouveau every day but it’s been an interesting ride as the wine develops after uncorking; this bottle of Château de Montmelas Nouveau 2017 definitely disproves the stories that 2017 won’t produce any fine wines.