Beaujolais Nouveau, a light red wine made from Gamay grapes and released to much fanfare each November, arrives today in stores.
What's new this year? Some producers are bottling the booze in plastic. The PET bottles are easily recyclable, and weigh much less than their glass counterparts.
But wine expert Dr. Vino first blogged about the impending arrival by suggesting everyone opt out of the Beaujolais Nouveau. He suggests (with the help of an image of a polar bear chugging a bottle of the stuff) that not only is the Beaujolais Nouveau of inferior quality (among other issues, some years, the grapes are not ripe enough and need to have their alcohol levels boosted by sugar), but shipping the wine takes a huge environmental toll that just isn't worth it.
Sending all those glass bottles by air? That's a big carbon footprint, says the Doctor. He suggested celebrating the arrival with a glass of local vino instead.
However, he changed his mind after calling up big Beaujolais producer Georges Duboeuf and learning about this year's improvements. He wrote a new post advising drinkers to avoid only a third of this year's shipment.
Dr. Vino writes about the ultralight plastic bottles, used by producer Boisset, which reduce the weight of the freight. And he explains that the French government moved up the release date to allow more time for producers to ship the bottles by boat rather than by air, which is cheaper and more environmentally friendly. (The portion that can't be sent by boat is the third he suggests avoiding.)
He still advocates trying a local wine, or at least a cru Beaujolais, which are the region's wines made from top Gamay grapes. (One of his reasons? Gamay is very food friendly and "at 12.5 percent alcohol, you can have a couple of glasses too and still be able to function after dinner." Nice!)
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