Article by Eric Asimov of The New York Times
Wine School, a monthly column, invites you to drink wine with Eric Asimov. In each installment, Mr. Asimov chooses a type of wine for you to try at home. After a month, Mr. Asimov posts his reaction to the wine and addresses readers’ thoughts and questions. This assignment was Beaujolais; Mr. Asimov shares his thoughts on this wine below.
Because wine can seem so arcane, and because it offers an experience that can be difficult to articulate, it becomes easy to fall back on conventional wisdom.
“What is that odd whiff in the glass of older riesling we’ve just poured?” you may wonder. Chances are, somebody will respond, “Petrol,” a dead giveaway that the assessment came from some secondhand description of the wine. (Most Americans wouldn’t use a British term like “petrol,” unless they were repeating something they had read or heard.)
And so it is with Beaujolais, the subject of this installment of Wine School. It’s a wine trapped too often by clichés, confined by expectations, held back by a checkered past that leaves many hesitant to embrace all that the best bottles have to offer.
The purpose of Wine School is to shed those expectations that can shape our responses and limit the growth of confidence and ease. Together each month we will explore a particular type of wine. The idea is to drink, not taste, with curiosity and attention, then to share thoughts and insights. The hope is that in time this sort of considered wine drinking will lead to an understanding of what you like, what you don’t like and why, and that it will encourage all of us to sharpen our observations and re-examine our assumptions.
Few wines require such a re-examination more than Beaujolais. Here is an example of why:
“The beauty of Beaujolais for me has always been its simplicity and its price point,” said one reader, Al Jiwa of Toronto. “These days, however, the price point is so much higher than it used to be while its quality, as enjoyable as it may be, is straightforward, offering very little complexity not to mention offering no ageability.”