Where does it come from:
The origin of Altesse has been the subject of some debate. It has been suggested that it's identical to Furmint, the noble Hungarian variety used to make the great sweet wine Tokaij. However others suspect that it is indigenous to the hills of Savoie. Today there are fewer than 1,000 acres under cultivation, mostly in France, though there is a small quantity in Switzerland.
What's it like for the farmer:
Altesse needs gentle care, as it is quite to susceptible to the most common forms of grape rot.
Jean Foillard, Beaujolais Nouveau, 2014
Distributor: Winebow, 236 W. 26th Street, New York, NY, 10001
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Le Nouveau est arrivé! The Beaujolais Nouveau has arrived! Now I know what you are thinking. Didn't the Nouveau arrive three weeks ago? The Duboeuf posters have been up in my local liquor store since before Thanksgiving! Well… Yes, you are technically correct. Most of the Beaujolais Nouveau is already here and a lot of it has been drunk. But at Blue Ribbon, we take Beaujolais very seriously and to say that we are particular is putting it mildly. We are willing to wait three weeks if it means getting something great.
Beaujolais Nouveau has a bad rap, and to be honest the reputation is mostly justified. Most Nouveau is a magic potion of under-ripe juice, sugar and sulfur that resembles real Beaujolais about as much as a third-string high school quarterback resembles Peyton Manning. But over the past ten or fifteen years, the best of the region's growers have started to reclaim Nouveau as part of their heritage. Jean Foillard stands atop this group.
Jean is an iconoclast. Spend some time with him and you will find him by turns jovial and cranky. A tasting at the long trestle table in the barn opposite his house is virtually guaranteed to turn into a party, as he descends again and again into the cellar to fetch another bottle, perhaps a rare cuvée or a vintage not often seen (beware the drive home!) But his wines are anything but irreverent. Rather they represent some of the purest expressions of the Gamay grape found anywhere, wines of remarkable intensity and style.
Jean is best known for his Morgon, "Cote du Py," a Cru Beaujolais of considerable weight and grip. His Nouveau drinks like the much-younger sibling. It may not have the density and power of the Morgon, but it still brims with minerality and pure red and dark red fruit flavors. Furthermore, Beaujolais has always been a favorite of bistro tables for its freshness and this wine could quench thirst for days with. You've tried all the rest. Now come join us at Blue Ribbon for the real thing. This week, Le Nouveau va arriver!
Wine Director, Blue Ribbon Restaurants