Author Archives: Travis Oke

About Travis Oke

Wine writer / consultant

The Authoritative Guide to Beaujolais Nouveau

There is only one winner in a contest like this – and that winner is me.  Having a house full of friends eating and drinking unpretentious wine is the best of all worlds.

But in a very real way 3 wines won this year’s Nouveau competition. Here’s how I saw it anyhoo.

#1. Georges DuBoeuf Gamay Nouveau – at $10 it is a great price point.  Tart, juicy, and a bit of effervescence. This, in my humble opinion [which is the only one that counts in my wine blog] is the perfect Nouveau. So good that I only have empties left.

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#2. Mommessin – at $14 it’s not a crazy “fou” price and it inspirted the art that my girls draw every year on our chalkboard.  The smoothest, most well balanced of them all.  I have a couple left to serve with American Thanksgiving turkey this week.

 

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#3. Georges again – this time with this fancy label Beaujolais Villages Nouveau, that is a little pricey at $15 but what cha gonna do?  Georges knows Nouveau. Good enough to tuck away in my cellar until Christmas and even as long as Easter.

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Heavy Criticism Alert.  Hey Joseph Drouhin.  Stop trying to charge me $16 for Nouveau. You were very tasty but I could save my money and buy more of those expensive French copper pots I love if you would charge me $10 like you should.

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Thanks to all the other wines that participated. Here are my thoughts on you.

Italian wine … you tasted too much like Uncle Tony’s garage wine at the end. I liked your effort at rustic but it turned out a little too rustic if you know what I mean.  And Ontario wine … I like Jolly Ranchers as much as the next guy but sweet jolly rancher wine is not my idea of a Nouveau.  Art … I just didn’t like you.  Nothing personal.  I know that sounded personal but it’s not.  I will buy you again next year.

 

 

 

 

 


Mais Oui

Today we celebrate the release of the 2014 Beaujolais Nouveau in la maison Oke.

This one is a winner. One of the best in years. This is what Nouveau should taste like – tart, juicy, with a hint of effervescence – and it’s under $10!

It’s okay for you to go out and buy this at your LCBO in Guelph. I already have 6 bottles.

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Dear Wine Snob

This is an open letter to all wine snobs on the release of le Beaujolais Nouveau this week.

Dear Wine Snob,

I have the greatest admiration for you as a snob, and specifically as a wine snob. And so I know you will laugh at me when I declare that I am excited about the Beaujolais Nouveau release

I know why most “wine people” don’t really get into the Nouveau spirit of things.
• Beaujolais Nouveau is a very simple wine
• In fact it was only harvested 2 months ago
• It hasn’t been aged
• It hasn’t been blended with any other varietal – straight gamay
• In fact not much has been done to it at all except that the French have marketed the heck out of it – and they have done so brilliantly.
• Most of you refer to it as “wine Cool-Aid”.

Yes, I know it’s not a serious wine but I don’t care. I like it. It inspired me to start this wine blog in 2009.

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In fact I would go so far as to declare myself a Nouveau snob. I’m unreasonably hesitant to try a Novello from Italy (although they are always delicious) and I don’t get as giddy about a syrah Primeur as I do with a true Nouveau made with gamay grapes.

Fresh, juicy, “new” French wine is just the thing to start the holidays for me.

So to all you wine snobs that think that the words “Beaujolais Nouveau” translate as “I can’t believe I paid $12 for that” – this is what I have to say to you…

I like my carbonic maceration.
I like my red wine chilled.
I like the hype – bring it on Georges Dubœuf with your clever little œ in the middle of your name.
I like Gamay.
I like drinking wine that you don’t swirl and sniff.
I like Chateau des Charmes in Niagara producing Seven Generation Gamay Nouveau, because Canadians demand a little locavore in our drinking.

So while you wine snobs will be “pooh-poohing” me on November 15th, I will be proudly buying a 6-pack of Nouveau and loving it.

Travis Oke
Self proclaimed Beaujolais Nouveau snob.


Rene Descartes – Won’t Get Fooled Again

Did you know that Rene Descartes’ book “Meditations” is really titled Meditationes de prima philosophia, in qua Dei existentia et animæ immortalitas demonstratur. Translation: Meditations on the First Philosophy: In Which the Existence of God and the Distinction Between Mind and Body are Demonstrated.  That’s the way they rolled back in 1641.

If this blog post was a Medieval book I would probably entitle it :  The Who, Beaujolais Nouveau, and the Relevance of the Song Won’t Get Fooled Again on the Third Thursday of November: How the French Continue to Both Fool Me and Make My Life Better.

Who’s Next.  One of the greatest rock albums of all time – period. People who like this sort of thing are passionate about it aren’t they?  I have a friend [admittedly a bit of a curmudgeon] who has freaked out on people who refer to the song “Teenage Wasteland” on this album.  “The song is called Baba O’Riley! Get it right people”.

My favourite song may be “Won’t Get Fooled Again” – because the premise is of course that we all get fooled again. “Meet the old boss” anyone? “Same as the old boss”.

So I guess I’m willing to get fooled again – we all are.  At least when it comes to Beaujolais Nouveau.  The French have been scamming us [just like Vince Shlomi and the shamwow] and I don’t mind at all.  Selling fresh new wine that has only aged in the time it took them to put the juice in a bottle! Come on. In fact the French have fooled us several times over when it comes to food. Have you ever opened up a Camembert in a car in the summer?  They’re laughing at me while I gag on the gaggiest smell possible.

Next Thursday the Beaujolais Nouveau will be sold at the LCBO.  The “cookie dough” of wine is good enough to get me whipped into a frenzy year after year.  Don’t miss it.

Georges Dubœuf – with your clever little œ in your name – you are the new boss!

The Old Boss

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Shipped to Japan

As the anticipation of the release of the 2014 Beaujolais Nouveau whips itself  up into a frenzy at La Maison Oke [“my house” for those of who who prefer not to parlez] it’s nice to know that I’m not alone.

Anyone who has followed my blog [my brother and John from BC] knows that 5 years ago I built PulltheCork on the foundation of  my enthusiasm for Nouveau and my best idea ever – my annual Nouveau party.

Again, it’s not just me who gets excited. Read the following article from the Japan News. Anything the Japanese get excited about has to be good clean fun!

Less than 2 weeks to go!

Nouveau in Japan


Rioja and Napoleon Dynamite

We met our new awesome neighbours last night – inviting them over for a bottle of wine. Two hours and one lovely bottle of Rioja later, we felt like old friends.

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Photo taken in front of my copper paella pan using my iPhone. In fact this entire post was done with my iPhone – including using the LCBO app to scan the barcode on the bottle and come up with this…

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Also, the Montecillo is $2 off this month and is quite fruit forward for a Rioja, but you can still taste the dry, hot summer. We have another in the cellar [my basement floor – but cellar sounds better] so we may look for more new friends again soon. Or have our neighbours over again.

All this technology prompted me to start singing Lafawnduh’s song by Kip at the end of Napoleon Dynamite – If you’ve never seen the movie the follow Brother in Spain’s advice and don’t rent it – just go buy it!

Sure, the World Wide Web is great
But you, you make me ‘salvivate’

Yes, I love technology
But not as much as you, you see
But I still love technology
Always and forever

 


Pastafarian Lunacy and the NHL

I’ve had it with parody today and I’ve only been subjected to it once. You’ve seen the CTV newsclip about the guy from Vancouver who wants to wear a white pasta strainer on his head for his driver’s license photo? He claims his religious right as a Pastafarian – seriously, look it up.  As I understand it, Pastafarianism was created by atheists looking to get their own “religious rights” [now that’s actually a pretty good irony I think] so that the pastafarian may wear a pasta strainer on his head whenever he feels the pasta-god, or whatever those people are talking about, wants him too.

That’s whatever you were talking about. I’ve never heard such a shocking and brutal injustice I’ve cared so little about.

Time to get grounded back to earth and read and write about things that matter. Things like the Montreal Canadiens playing the Toronto Maple Leaves to open the books on the NHL season.

For my part a nice Cava from Friexenet Brut – the black bottle – celebrates the game nicely.  In Spain the locals consider this “Las cosas buenas” [the good stuff].  I also hear that it keeps the Pastafarians away. Come to think about it some of les Canadiens helmets look like pasta strainers.

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Freixenet Cordon Negro Brut Cava

$13.95

 


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