Here's What Beaujolais Tastes Like And Why It Smells Like Candy

No matter how many times you walk up and down the aisles of bottles at your local wine shop, there always seems to be a new variety you've never heard of. A large world of wonderful red wines exists beyond the standard Cabernet Sauvignons, Pinot Noirs, and Malbecs, and you're missing out if you don't venture outside of them. But we understand that breaking into wine connoisseur culture can be intimidating, and we're here to help, one wine at a time. 

If you've come across Beaujolais in the reds section and wondered how to pair it, or picked up a bottle and found to your horror that it smells like a candy shop, you're not alone. But don't fear, this red wine varietal is deceptively accessible and easy to enjoy. We've got the answers when it comes to what this wine tastes like, how to enjoy it, and why it has that curious moscato smell. 

Why does Beaujolais smell like bananas?

If you show up to a party with a bottle of Beaujolais, folks may be put off by the super sweet, almost cloying notes that come from this light red wine. Common observations of the smell include bananas and bubblegum. But in the case of Beaujolais, the taste does not match up with the scent, and this delicate variety is nowhere near a dessert wine.  

According to Wine Folly, Beaujolais has primarily sweet notes of raspberry, tart cherry, and cranberry, but it also has more savory undertones like mushroom, forest floor, and smoke, so the ultra-sweet smell may be a shock to the system. It's due to a unique winemaking process called carbonic maceration (via Vine Pair). This technique is used on light red wines to emphasize the fruitiness of the grape and reduce tannins, which can result in a powerfully saccharine smell, but can still produce a highly drinkable, well-rounded tasting wine. 

What does Beaujolais pair with?

If you're looking for another, more mainstream wine to compare Beaujolais to, Pinot Noir is a close comparison, says The Gourmet Shop. Pinot Noirs are known for their deeply earthy yet fruity flavors. Wine Enthusiast observes that Pinot Noirs have notes of cherry, raspberry, mushroom, and forest floor. Sound familiar? Similar notes are found in the Beaujolais. So if your go-to is a Pinot Noir or other light bodied red and you're looking to branch out, the Beaujolais is a great choice. 

Thanks to its uniquely fruity yet earthy taste, Beaujolais is very easy to pair with food. Matching Food and Wine recommends sipping it with patés, brie, ham, turkey, fish, duck, and vegetarian dishes. If that seems like a lot of variety, it's because it is. So when in doubt for picking a wine for your next dinner party, consider a bottle of Beaujolais, no matter what is on the menu.