- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Louis Jadot, Beaujolais-Villages, 2003, $10

Skip nouveau. The custom of drinking new Beaujolais wine a couple of months after the harvest is just that — a practice promoted by producers to sell their wares. A sip or two can be pleasant, but in truth, the wine is never very good.

Don’t skip Beaujolais, though. A good specimen, drunk a year or two after harvest (even longer with the cru wines), can be delicious. The 2003 vintage, whose wines are now widely available, is by far the best in memory.

The record heat that plagued Western Europe in summer 2003 led to uneven results in many winegrowing regions. In Beaujolais, however, the wines are superb. That’s because, unlike in more typical years, vintners did not need to add sugar to the fermenting grape must. Also, because Gamay, the Beaujolais grape, is naturally high in acid, the wines remain in refreshing balance even while being full of natural ripe fruit flavor.

Louis Jadot is the rare Burgundy producer that truly cares about Beaujolais as well. It shows in this wine, which tastes deliciously open and lively. It should drink well over the next year or so.

In summer, Beaujolais is the perfect picnic red. This time of year, it’s ideal for drinking with holiday turkey, ham or roast beef, especially the day after. Sandwiches, anyone?

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