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Beaujolais Nouveau's time has come

Le Beaujolais Nouveau est arriv_ proclaimed the signs on Nov. 15. Beaujolais Nouveau is here! Do I hear yawns and groans instead of cheers? For some, Beaujolais Nouveau (French for new) wine cameand lefta long time ago. Its not newits old. What was once an enthusiastically anticipated event has become just another day to plan for Thanksgiving dinner the following Thursday. Nouveau deserves a better fate. Beaujolais Nouveau is made from Gamay grapes grown in Frances Beaujolais region. It is officially released on the third Thursday of November, just a few weeks after the grape harvest. Through the process of carbonic maceration, the grapes are fermented inside their skins, thus producing a fresh, fruity wine very low in tannins and best served chilled. Because of the dearth of tannins (which help to preserve wine), Nouveau must be drunk within a few months of release. The decades since Nouveaus introduction outside of France have not been kind to the wine. Its quality has often been mediocre (though 2005 was a superb year), and its popularity has declined despite (or maybe because of) strong commercial hype every year. Miles Raymond of Sideways fame would probably disdain Nouveau even more than he scorned Merlot. Granted, Nouveau doesnt compare with a 2005 Moulin-_ent from Domaine du Vissoux, judged No. 1 in a Beaujolais battle recounted in the Oct. 3 New York Times. It is not a wine to sniff, swirl, and contemplate. But, if you want a charged-up grape juice, bursting with red cherry, fresh plum, and sweet pomegranate flavors, a drink that (like Thanksgiving) celebrates a recent harvest, Nouveau may be your drink. And it goes great with turkey. Looking for appropriate entertainment to accompany Nouveau? What about renting a French New Wave film? You can sip while you sympathize with a neglected schoolboy (Jean-Pierre L_d) in The 400 Blows (1959), gulp as Catherine (Jeanne Moreau) juggles two men in Jules and Jim (1962), and swallow while the police close in on the irresponsible Michel (Jean-Paul Belmondo) in Breathless (1960). Nouveau is probably not the wine you want while watching the great 3-hour-long French epic Children of Paradise (1945). The films are all available at Waterfront Video, 370 Shelburne Rd, Burlington, 802-660-5545, www.waterfrontvideo.com . Your local wine shop, supermarket, or bistro will undoubtedly have the Beaujolais Nouveau. At least for the next few months.

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