A Beaujolais Expert Assesses the 2007 Vintage

     Is it global warming or just a coincidence?

     August has traditionally been “les vacances” for the French, but now those lazy days of summer seem to be replaced by “le vendanges” (at least for some).

     “This has been a year of unpredictable weather and, initially, we thought the harvest would begin even earlier than it did,” said said Georges Duboeuf, one of the leading makers of Beaujolais. “This is only the fifth time in my life that I witnessed the start of the Beaujolais harvest before September, and three have been in the last decade (2000, 2003 and 2007).

     “The harvest in Beaujolais officially began on August 25, thanks to the dry and fresh ‘bise’ (North wind). We didn’t begin to pick in the Pierres Dorees (golden stones) region until a little later, on September 5th.”

     These hillside vineyards are where most of the Beaujolais appellation is harvested. 


      “While I cannot assess the entire harvest until it is over, it does seem that the yield this year is significantly less than in 2006,” Duboeuf added, saying that he believes this is the year of the perfectionist.

     “This is a harvest that requires a great deal of attention from the vineyards to the vat in order to extract the essence of a vintage that experienced some very capricious climate conditions.” 


     The colors of the 2007 Beaujolais Nouveau range from a vibrant crimson red to red tinged with purple. The bouquet is lovely, with very floral and fruity aromas that highlight fresh raspberry, red and black currants, along with crushed strawberries.

     “My initial impression on the palate is of fresh grapes with crisp and delicious flavors that touch on boiled sweets and mimic the light-hearted aromatics,” explained Duboeuf. “This is a Beaujolais Nouveau that shows the purity of the Gamay grape and the brilliance of a pleasant and delicious young wine.”

     Dharmadhikari’s office in the Food Science Building at Iowa State. A full-time lab supervisor, Sebastian Donner, was hired in June.

     Iowa wineries can submit samples for analysis of sugar, acids, alcohol content and a host of other factors. State laws dating back to Prohibition don’t allow wine tasting in the university laboratory, but an analysis of a wine’s chemical makeup can show how to improve it. Dharmadhikari hopes a law change will eventually make it possible to establish an experimental winery on campus.

     Dharmadhikari is working with the industry to develop quality standards for Iowa wines. Wines meeting those standards would be certified and special labeling would help consumers recognize the higher quality products.

     One question Dharmadikari has been asked many times is how Iowa wines can compete with established wines from California and elsewhere. He has a quick answer.

     “We’re not trying to copy what others can do. We’re trying to figure out what we can do best in Iowa. Iowa wines may be different, but different doesn’t mean bad,” he said. “This is the way new markets evolve.”

Posted in Wine Buzz
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