Hooray – today is Beaujolais Nouveau day! — But is anyone interested?
Although it looks like a nice party, non-one is smiling: the 2003 Beaujolais Nouveau art of Terry Rogers hints at the tacky descent of an award winning marketing campaign which was the saviour of a winemaking region – a campaign that is now baring its teeth to all.
Beaujolais Nouveau brought (French) winemaking regions to a whole new clientele, it was marketing mixed with hype and mixed with fun. Over time the hype died. Add to the mix a few dire vintages and the fun was gone too. But can any class of wine truly be on the wane when Riedel are prepared to make an expensive ‘Sommelier Beaujolais Nouveau’ glass? Maybe those wacky Austrians are just having a joke at our (and the region’s) expense. The injection of great volumes of (admittedly cheap) sales helped a region prosper but the belt tightening is once more necessary.
Twenty years ago the region was less troubled in the homes and domaines of those who majored on quality ‘Cru Beaujolais’ – they had always had a steady clientele, but today the sins of the ‘sons’ are now reflected also onto the fathers; never mind Beajolais Nouveau, Cru Beaujolais is becoming hard to sell, tainted as it is by a whole new generation of wine-buyers with a perception of Beaujolais based on dodgy bottles of nouveau.
There has been some online visibility this year – Eric Asimov in vanguard here and here – but despite tons of worthy, interesting, ageable and complex bottles, and let’s be clear, fun bottles too, something needs to change in the region’s marketing department.
For what it’s worth, this year I bought my first real quantities of Beaujolais since I don’t know when – mainly 2005’s but some charming 2004’s too.