Raise a glass to St. Pete artist Ari Azzopardi-Robinson, whose work, "Candy Coated" will grace every bottle of the 2017 Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais Nouveau. These bottles have higher-profile labels than, say, a cabernet or burgundy, because while not known for its complexity, good legs, or aromatic bouquet, Beaujolais Nouveau wines represent a celebration of the harvest. The release of Beaujolais Nouveau — French law mandates it as 12:01 a.m. on the third Thursday of November — comes with much pageantry: On Nov. 16, the Beaujolais region will hold over 120 separate festivals to celebrate the release.
The label for Duboeuf's Beaujolais Nouveau is, perhaps, the most visible of all the bottles coming out of this region on Nov. 16; that's because oenophiles credit Duboeuf for the popularity of this less-than-sophisticated wine. Wine Spectator called him "the driving force" that makes this, ahem, best-served-chilled, drink-it-now wine, popular. The 2017 Beaujolais Nouveau marks the 35th year Duboeuf has released this bright-red wine often kindly described as "cheerful."
Why the popularity of such a wine? Marketing, and Duboeuf is the man behind it. After the harvest, vintners need money — with proper marketing, they can sell this young wine inexpensively and generate cash flow.
"Beaujolais Nouveau is all about ripe fruit that goes from vineyard to bottle in just a few weeks," CL's food critic (and oenophile) Jon Palmer Claridge says. "Whole berry fermentation avoids tannins to create a quaffable party wine that’s best served slightly chilled."
Fireworks will start at 12:01 a.m. on November 16 in Beaujolais; the idea is to start drinking then and keep going until dawn. More exciting, though, is the chance to celebrate locally with Azzopardi-Robinson at The Gallery in St. Pete. Likely there will not be drinking until dawn, but, as we said, it's your opportunity to raise a glass to a local artist's international success.