On Thursday, November 19, we will release our 2020 Iowa Nouveau. This is the first wine of the season—these grapes were still on the vine on September 1. It is a young, very simple wine that is very fruit forward. There is no complexity here, just great flavors. In fact, it is a great choice for Thanksgiving because the 2020 Iowa Nouveau will complement the turkey, gravy, and mashed potatoes without dominating them and it will hold up nicely against the bigger flavors from the candied yams, green bean casserole, and cranberry salad.
In France, the Nouveau Beaujolais is an extension and reinvention of an old tradition. Food security in Europe was never a certain thing and by the 18th Century, it was customary for villages in rural areas to celebrate a good harvest with a festival in the town square. A local farmer might bring meat to the butcher who prepared it for the communal soup pot. Other farmers would contribute vegetables and villagers might contribute home-made pasta. The local grape grower and winery would contribute some fresh wine that they’d bring to the celebration in a big barrel on an ox-drawn cart. Everyone in the village would gather for a feast of thanksgiving for the good harvest.
By the early 20th Century, Beaujolais, which is located south of Burgundy, started sending their new wine all over France. It was made from Gamay, the grape that is grown in Beaujolais. It would arrive and be served in bars and restaurants on the third Thursday of November. I remember tasting it one time in a restaurant in Paris in the 1970’s and thinking that it was really good. Now, this same wine arrives not only in Paris bars and restaurants but also in New York, San Francisco, and even Tokyo all on the third Thursday in November.
We can’t grow Gamay in Iowa so we make our Nouveau blend from Marquette and Foch. Every year, I try to purchase one of the French Nouveau wines to compare to the Tassel Ridge Nouveau and, sure I’m prejudiced, but I still like our Nouveau the best. Plan to try one for your Thanksgiving dinner.
The 2020 Iowa Nouveau will be available to purchase at the Winery and at selected retailers in Iowa on Thursday, November 19, just in time for Thanksgiving.