Why are we Bonkers for Beaujolais this Thanksgiving? Because Turkey Day was made for Beaujolais. Hey, that even rhymes! Beaujolais is considered the ultimate Thanksgiving wine, but why? Well, we’ll tell you if you listen to this episode, but as a little amuse bouche, here’s something to chew on. First, the fruity flavors of the wine pair perfectly with the many different flavors - both savory and sweet - that often land on the Thanksgiving table, complementing but not overpowering the meal. Second, Beaujolais is a wine that is very easy drinking! Made from the Gamay grape, Beaujolais it is a wine that is hard to not like - a crowd pleaser whether you love red wine or not. In fact, it can be a crowd pleaser even for those who usually don’t like to drink wine. So, this Thanksgiving, do yourself a favor and go Bonkers for Beaujolais with us. Listen in as we taste and review three Beaujolais so you can find one that will be perfect on your Thanksgiving table and won’t break the bank. And one of these wines we gave a 10/10! Wines reviewed in this episode: 2021 Jean-Claude Debeaune Domaine Pignard Beaujolais, 2021 Joseph Drouhin Beaujolais-Villages, and 2021 Domaine Dupeuble Pere et Fils Beaujolais.
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Episode 98: Thanksgiving Wine: Bonkers for Beaujolais! 00:00
Hello! And welcome to The Wine Pair Podcast. I’m Joe, your sommelier of reasonably priced wine, and this is my wife and my wine pairing partner in crime, Carmela. And we are The Wine Pair!
Ok, a quick orientation for those of you who may be new to the podcast - in each episode we learn about, taste and give our completely honest review of three wines that are reasonably priced - meaning under $20 each - and should be easy for you to find. And our podcast is made for people who want to learn more about wine, find new wines to enjoy, and just want someone to talk about wine in a fun way that regular people can understand. So, if that sounds like you, you are in the right place! And we are proud to say that we are recommended by the editors of Decanter Magazine who call us fun, irreverent, chatty, and entertaining.
Well, Carmela, it is upon us again, the wonderful Holiday of Thanksgiving, at least here in the US. Apologies to our friends in Canada who had their Thanksgiving more than a month ago on October 9. I guess they just want to say thanks a little earlier.
Today we are going to focus on wines that go with Thanksgiving dinner, but that could be a bit confusing if you are talking about the Canadian Thanksgiving or the American version Thanksgiving. And, just so we are clear, we are going to focus on the version of Thanksgiving dinner that occurs in the US.
And you may ask why does Canada have a Thanksgiving more than a month earlier than the US? And you may also ask who had the first Thanksgiving.
Well, here’s the real poop. If you believe the stories, the first Thanksgiving was actually celebrated in Canada in 1578, which is more than 40 years before the first Thanksgiving was said to have taken place in what would become the US in 1621! So how about that!
Here are some interesting differences between the two, Carmela. If you are ready.
- The Canadians celebrate their Thanksgiving on the second Monday in October, while the US celebrates it on the fourth Thursday in November.
- The US made Thanksgiving an official holiday in 1879, but our friends to the north did not make it a national holiday until 1957.
- Evidently, however, the Canadians are a little looser on what exact day over their Thanksgiving weekend the meal takes place. So while the US celebrates it on the Thursday, Canadians may celebrate it on the Saturday, Sunday, or Monday of that weekend.
Why do you think Canada celebrates their Thanksgiving earlier in the fall, Carmela? It’s because the further north you are, the earlier the weather gets cold, and because of that, harvest ends earlier in Canada. So there you have it.
But now, the real question is what do they eat, and is the same as what we eat here in the US of A. In terms of what food the Canadians eat, there is an important difference that has some bearing on the wine choice - which is really the reason why we are talking about this at all. Because, after all, this is The Wine Pair Podcast. In the US, we all know that the traditional meal is turkey with dressing or stuffing or dressing if you prefer and mashed potatoes and gravy. However, in the great white north, it is more common to eat ham or corned beef or a potato pie.
So, while you could get away with some similar wine choices for those different foods for sure, the wine that we are going to focus on for this episode is very turkey-dinner American Thanksgiving friendly and focused wine. And if you have forgotten by this time since hearing our intro, we are talking about Beaujolais, which is, if you didn’t know, made from the grape Gamay. And, so, for this Thanksgiving episode, we are going Bonkers for Beaujolais because this year we think you would be crazy not to serve it!
And we have three Beaujolais wines that we will taste and review and then we’ll let you know what we think and if any of these specific wines should be on your Thanksgiving table . . .
But first . . . we have to do our shameless plug.
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And, as we do every week, we’ll tell you someone we think you should tell about The Wine Pair Podcast. This week, we want you to tell anyone who is responsible for bringing the wine or is just wondering what wine to bring or serve for Thanksgiving dinner, and we want you to tell them about our podcast and better yet, send them this episode so they will know what to bring.
ARTICLES and LINKS
Topic: Why Beaujolais is the Perfect Thanksgiving Wine, and How to Serve it 09:34
So, let’s talk a bit about why Beaujolais is the perfect Thanksgiving wine, shall we Carmela. And we’ll also spend a minute or two on how to serve it.
As a reminder, Beaujolais is made from the Gamay grape. To be called red Beaujolais (and yes there is such a thing as white Beaujolais which is made from Chardonnay but that is another story), it must come from the Beaujolais area of France, which is near the city of Lyon and is in the central-east part of France. It is south of Burgundy and north of Rhone. You can of course find Gamay grown and made into wine in other parts of the world - Oregon, Washington, California, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada, and even other parts of France - but when grown outside of Beaujolais, it is known simply as Gamay. In fact, last week in our Thai food pairing episode, we drank a Gamay from France that was not a Beaujolais, and so was just called Gamay.
So now let’s talk about the Thanksgiving meal in the US which is dominated by a few things: turkey, stuffing or dressing, mashed potatoes, and gravy. Beyond that, there are several foods that show up that may be more regional in nature, or just family traditions. Some families serve mac and cheese, some add cranberries as a garnish, usually there is some sort of buttery bread or dinner rolls or croissant type rolls (I love that Pillsbury calls them crescent rolls), and often there is another protein like ham that may be served. People also serve side dishes like green beans or broccoli salads with lots of mayo and maybe bacon and cheese, and even regular green salads, along with side dishes with some sweetness like sweet potatoes and that famous sweet potato and marshmallow casserole.
What that means is that generally Thanksgiving is a meal with a light and salty white meat as the main dish, with a lot of side dishes that are starchy, buttery, and sometimes sweet, and all complemented with rich gravy.
So that means you have to find a wine that works for all of them, and that ain’t easy. Now, from our perspective, there are many different types of wines you can serve at Thanksgiving dinner beyond Beaujolais that are great like brut sparkling wines; crisp white wines like Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Sauvignon Blanc, and Soave; and light reds like Pinot Noir and Cabernet Franc. You can even serve rosé wines - and we would choose ones from Provence that are Grenache based, or that are made from Pinot Noir.
But, we are here to talk about Beaujolais, and why we are Bonkers for Beaujolais this Thanksgiving.
The first reason is because of the turkey and the often sweet elements that are included on the Thanksgiving table, Beaujolais works great because it is a light red wine that will complement all those different flavors and not overpower them. It has low tannin, a light body, relatively low alcohol, and high acid - and that high acid makes it a really good food wine, and it can honestly go with a broad array of foods - even grilled and spicy foods.
The second reason is that Beaujolais is an easy drinking wine. The more hard-core big bold red wine lovers may balk at it, but just tell those people to relax. It’s Thanksgiving for god’s sake! Beaujolais is a wine that is hard to not like, and it is a great wine for people who don’t drink a lot of wine, or who tend to really like whites and roses, and for those who do love wine in general, it is a crowd pleaser. And, you can let people know that they experts, like us, insist that this is the perfect Thanksgiving wine.
Now, which Beaujolais you choose does matter a little bit, and we would aim towards the wines that say Beaujolais-Villages on the label. That is the higher end Beaujolais and is still very reasonably priced - you should be able to find them at or below $20, which is another nice thing about Beaujolais. And you also don’t have to worry about aging Beaujolais. Most of them are meant to be drunk young, and so you can feel good about pulling them right off the shelf.
There are other versions of Beaujolais, and one that comes out each year right around Thanksgiving is Beaujolais Nouveau - which just means new - and it is meant to be drunk right away, and is the lightest and fruitiest of the Beaujolais. It is also the least appealing to us because it is not the highest quality - so we would suggest to just stay away from it if you can. Instead, reach for a Beaujolais just marked Beaujolais without the Nouveau on it, and, again, if you can, choose Beaujolais-Villages.
Finally, the great thing about Beaujolais, and an important thing about Beaujolais, is that it actually should be served a bit chilled. This does not mean fridge cold, but cooler than room temperature. If you have a cellar, pulling it out of a cooled cellar is fine. If not, then just pop it into the fridge for 30-60 minutes so that it gets a little chill on it. If it’s too cold, you will just find that it really tamps down on the aroma and flavors of the wine, but if it is just a bit chilled you get to really experience the wonderful fruity flavors.
So, look, this Thanksgiving, serve some Beaujolais, ok? (Hey, that rhymes) But you may be asking yourself how do I find a good Beaujolais? Well, let’s help you find them!
ARTICLES and LINKS
Beaujolais Wines We Chose for This Episode 17:58
As usual, all of the wines we have chosen for this episode are under $20, and all of them should be relatively easy to find because I bought them all at a local grocery store or Total Wine. Especially at this time of year, Beaujolais or Gamay should be easy to find, and there are some very widely available Beaujolais producers, namely Louis Jadot and Georges Duboeuf.
Just note again that we would avoid Beaujolais Nouveau. It will be easy to find right now, and probably at a good price, but for the best experience, we would just strongly suggest you do not buy the Nouveau. Ok! Final warning.
I will also note that we did pop these wines in the fridge for about 30 minutes just to cool them down a bit. Again, we don’t want them fridge cold, just cooled down to bring out the flavors.
The first wine we are going to taste is called Jean-Claude Debeaune Domaine Pignard Beaujolais and it comes from - bum bum bum - Total Wine and is one of their Winery Direct wines. Now, those of you who have been listening lately know that I have been getting down on Total Wine, but in this case, it was handy to go there because I started my wine journey at a local grocery store chain called QFC and while they had several Beaujolais to choose from, some were a little more expensive than we want for the podcast, and so rather than just choosing a Gamay that was not a Beaujolais, I went to Total Wine and found they had a decent selection of Beaujolais
There is not a ton of information on this wine because it is one of their Winery Direct wines and that makes me really irritated. So, we’ll move on and hopefully we like this wine.
The next wine we are going to drink is called Joseph Drouhin Beaujolais-Villages. One of our top wine shops in town here in Seattle called Esquin Mad Wine calls this wine the perfect Turkey wine. So there you go.
This wine, because it is not one of those stupid Winery Direct wines from Total Wine actually has some information available. The winery gets its grapes from a number of different vineyards, and they say they harvest by hand, and then they use semi-carbonic maceration for the first 6-10 days. We talked about this in our last episode, but basically carbonic maceration is a process in which they put whole grape clusters into a chamber with no oxygen, and the grapes start to ferment naturally from the inside until they burst - and this is supposed to really bring out the fruit flavors and tamp down on tannins. After that, yeast is introduced to finish the fermentation, and they age the wine in stainless steel for 6-8 months. So this should be a great wine for Thanksgiving, and I am expecting a very fruity and fresh wine.
On a side note, Drouhin is a well known Burgundy winemaker, and they have a winery in Oregon as well called Domain Drouhin. So there.
The last wine we are going to taste and review is called Domaine Dupeuble Pere et Fils Beaujolais, and this is a winery that has been around for a while and is well known for their Beaujolais, and they use organic farming practices. And when we say a while, the estate has been making wine since the 1500’s! They also do not use sulfur dioxide and they hand harvest.
Now, in case you are wondering, sulfur dioxide is used to control oxidation in wine as well as to protect against bacteria and mold. However the use of sulfur dioxide is controversial, and when people talk about low intervention wines, they are specifically talking about not doing things like adding sulfur. So, if you want to avoid sulfur, this is a good wine for you!
The winery also says that they do not filter their wines and only use natural yeasts for fermentation. A lot of the reviews of this wine say that it drinks like a Cru Beaujolais, so, if this is a good wine, it is going to be a heck of a value.
Well, Carmela, this is going to be really fun. We have three different Beaujolais to try, and we should be able to find at least one that is good for Thanksgiving. So, what do you say we take a break and try our first wine?
ARTICLES and LINKS
Beaujolais Wine Pairing Tasting and Reviews 24:33
Wine: Jean-Claude Debeaune Domaine Pignard Beaujolais
Region: France, Beaujolais
Retailer: Total Wine
Professional Rating: WE 84
What we tasted and smelled in this Jean-Claude Debeaune Domaine Pignard Beaujolais:
- On the nose: Cherry candy, sweet cherries, red cherry, cherry and chocolate, cherry cordial syrup, strawberry syrup, clay, a tiny bit of smoke. Fruit juice
- In the mouth: Fruity, juicy, fresh, very nice, easy to drink, stone
How would this Jean-Claude Debeaune Domaine Pignard Beaujolais pair with Thanksgiving dinner: Excellent wine for Thanksgiving. Would go with all of the various flavors, even sweet foods. Good with salty foods, too. Serve chilled for sure.
As a reminder on our rating scale, we rate on a scale of 1-10, where 7 and above means that we would buy it, and 4 and below means that we are likely to pour it down the sink, and a 5 or 6 means we are likely to drink it and finish it, but we are probably not going to buy it.
Jean-Claude Debeaune Domaine Pignard Beaujolais Wine Rating:
- Joe: 8/10
- Carmela: 8/10
Wine: Joseph Drouhin Beaujolais-Villages
Region: France, Beaujolais
What we tasted and smelled in this Joseph Drouhin Beaujolais-Villages:
- On the nose: Sour cherry, earthy, mushroom, not fruity, complex nose, clay, forrest dirt, raspberry
- In the mouth: Sour cherry, blood orange, very acidic, not juicy, austere, very European style wine, complex, tart, taste more like a French Pinot Noir than a Beaujolais. May not need to be as cold. Nice on the table.
How would this Joseph Drouhin Beaujolais-Villages pair with Thanksgiving dinner: Would go well with Thanksgiving dinner, but also good with richer foods, Italian foods, stews and roasts, good with ham. Needs to be paired with food.
Joseph Drouhin Beaujolais-Villages Wine Rating:
- Joe: 9/10
- Carmela: 7/10
Wine: Domaine Dupeuble Pere et Fils Beaujolais
Region: France, Beaujolais
What we tasted and smelled in this Domaine Dupeuble Pere et Fils Beaujolais:
- On the nose: Spiced cherry, cinnamon and cherry, warm baking spices, clay, a bit of smoke, smells like Holiday, cinnamon candy, Hot Tamale candy, cinnamon bear candy
- In the mouth: Cinnamon, Big Red chewing gum, cherry, smoke, charred, rich and complex, a formal wine, menthol, pine tree.
How would this Domaine Dupeuble Pere et Fils Beaujolais pair with Thanksgiving dinner: Super versatile food wine, Would go great with Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner, from turkey to Prime Rib. Beautiful on the table and in the glass. Tastes like a much more expensive wine. Good for Friendsgiving
Domaine Dupeuble Pere et Fils Beaujolais Wine Rating:
- Joe: 10/10
- Carmela: 9/10
Which one of these are you finishing tonight?
- Carmela: Domaine Dupeuble Pere et Fils Beaujolais
- Joe: Domaine Dupeuble Pere et Fils Beaujolais
Taste profiles expected from Beaujolais 47:33
- Wine Folly: Pomegranate, Blackberry Bramble, Violet, Potting Soil, Banana
- VinePair: The wine has red berry flavors, including raspberry, red cherry, red currant, and cranberries. High-quality cru Beaujolais is occasionally compared to Old World Pinot Noir, with mushroom, forest floor, and smoky notes.
- Jean-Claude Debeaune Domaine Pignard Beaujolais
- Winery: A fragrant and floral bouquet leads to flavors of red fruits and hints of spice. Made from the Gamay grape, fresh raspberries and cherries shine through.
- WE: Juicy with bright red-cherry flavors and fresh acidity, this wine is ready to drink. A touch of banana spoils the overall effect
- Joseph Drouhin Beaujolais-Villages
- Winery: It has a lovely raspberry colour and a brilliant hue. The nose is both refined and intense, with notes of violet, peony and red fruit syrup. As you drink it, it feels fresh and silky. Both freshness and fruit remain for quite a long time on the palate.
- 305 Wines: Both the nose and mouth develop aromas reminiscent of black fruits such as blackberry, cherry, deliciously mingling with liquorice and spices.
- Domaine Dupeuble Pere et Fils Beaujolais
- The Wine Feed: A generous, ripe style of Beaujolais with plenty of black cherry, blackberry and blueberry character, but also some pleasantly sappy tannins that provide crispness at the finish and keeps it light on its feet.
- Englewood Wine Merchants: This glorious Gamay boasts blackberry, cassis, baking spice, and crushed rock all of which converge on a lush, long finish. A beautiful balance between fruit and acidity, the 2021 Dupeuble Beaujolais reminds us of a $30 Cru Beaujolais with its depth and structure.
- The Cheese Shop of Salem: Drinks like a Cru Beaujoalis. Ripe notes of cherries, pomegranate, and roses
Outro and how to find The Wine Pair Podcast 50:17
Ok, so, Carmela, it is just about time for us to go, but before we do, we want to thank you very much for listening to us - and if you haven’t done so yet, now would be the perfect time to subscribe to our podcast and also a fantastic time to leave us a nice rating and review on our website or Apple podcasts or other podcast service - and it is an awesome and free way to support us and help us grow listeners.
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Alright, with that, we are going to sign off, so thanks again, and we will see you next time. And, as we say, life is short, so stop drinking shitty wine.