The rain hasn’t stopped for two days now. At this moment, as I look out on a wet and wind-swept Kilcrohane, I can see the waves crashing on the rocks in Dunmanus Bay and I feel very isolated. But on this stormy day, I have discovered that even in darkest (and dampest) West Cork you can, on the third Thursday in November, find this year’s Beaujolais Nouveau.
There I was dashing between the lovely stalls at Bantry’s Farmers’ Market when I saw on display bottles of this infamous fruity red wine, which was just being unpacked from their shipping boxes as I ducked into the wonderful Bantry food store The Stuffed Olive. It’s that time of the year again when the marketing machine goes into over-drive and the French pull another fast one – Beaujolais Nouveau. Gamay grapes fermented for just a few weeks before the wine is released to the world with a fanfare and some would say a shameless marketing ploy for a wine that never gets good reviews. One terribly well-known American wine critic said that drinking Beau Nou ( as we wine snobs call it) is like ‘eating cookie dough’. Maybe so, but I love it.
Memories of the late 1980s in Cork city came flooding back (which was appropriate considering the amount of rain falling). Beaujolais Nouveau was very trendy back in the day when my wine consumption consisted of Blue Nun and Mateus Rosé. Then, this was considered a ‘real’ wine because it comes from France and it’s red, just like wine should be.
Any self-respecting wine snob would probably have walked back out into the rain thumbing their nose at what most French people describe as ‘bad wine’ but not me. I remember standing with a glass of Beaujolais Nouveau at the bar in Pomeroy’s circa 1987, Filofax under my arm, trying to look like a Cork version of a Yuppie, while all the time thinking that this wine (that tastes a bit like Ribena) was the best thing since Rick Astley.
So, I bought two bottles of the 2011 vintage George Debouf Beaujolais Nouveau and tonight, as the rain falls and waves pound the Peninsula, I will drink a bottle and remember the 1980s. I have already downloaded ‘Never gonna give you up’. Now all I need is some cheese and pineapple on tooth picks and we are in for the night.
Enjoy the memories.