Happy Beaujolais Nouveau Day!
The third Thursday of November each year brings the release of a little bit of fun, a little celebration in the wine world for Beaujolais Nouveau. Some may think it’s plonk, or even a scam, but I happen to think it’s a lovely kick off to the Holiday season.
What is Beaujolais Nouveau?
Beaujolais Nouveau is young Beaujolais. It is created, bottled, and shipped around the world within 2 months of the Gamay grapes being in the vineyard. If you like serious wine, this isn’t the wine for you. Feel free to stop reading and join the other wine snobs, it will leave more for the rest of us!
Beaujolais Nouveau originated about a century ago as a cheap, cheery wine produced by locals to celebrate the end of the harvest. Selling this young red was meant to clear large quantities of wine at a decent price, which would create a much-needed cash flow for vintners shortly after harvest.
In true celebratory fashion the vintners, including well known Georges Duboeuf, came up with the idea of a race to Paris to carry the first bottles of the new vintage. As you can imagine this attracted much media attention and by the 1970s, the race became a annual national event.
Beaujolais Nouveau owes its easy drinkability to a winemaking process called carbonic maceration, also known as whole-berry fermentation. This technique preserves the fresh, fruity quality of the grapes without extracting bitter tannins from the grape skins.
The cherry-red coloured wine is best served slightly chilled. It’s a fresh and fruity red that is the result of that quick fermentation process which produces a tasty, clean wine.
It is meant to be drank young, and fast. Usually by May of the following year, although some exceptional vintages will last a year.
Wine snobs be damned the popularity of Beaujolais Nouveau is undeniable with one third of Beaujolais’ grape production is dedicated to the Nouveau style. There are over 35 million bottles produced and distributed to 110 countries.
In France over 120 villages throughout the Beaujolais region celebrate the release of the wine. The town of Beaujeu has a five-day festival called Les Sarmentelles celebrating Beaujolais Nouveau. And in Lyon, fireworks light up the night sky.
Beaujolais Nouveau pairs with a variety of food, think fun and easy! A lovely charcuterie plater is a favorite pick. We’re having our own little celebration with a Chinese takeaway and Beaujolais Nouveau. Of course holiday turkey is a great pairing, and think about adding some wine to your cranberry sauce. The fruit, fresh wine would be a lively contrast to nutty richness of this kale and sausage couscous stuffed squash.
However you choose to enjoy your bottle of Beaujolais Nouveau be sure to pair with great friends and family!