As the clock strikes midnight on the third Thursday of November, the new vintage of Beaujolais, Beaujolais Nouveau, is released to the world! Over 60 million bottles make the trek to Paris for worldwide distribution, of which Germany is the leading importer. This is a young wine (only 6 weeks old), grown from the Gamay grape, and is very fruity, light-bodied, and virtuallytannin-free making for an extremely easy-to-drink red wine.
It is best served chilled to really bring the fruit forward and is a popular complement toThanksgiving dinners, in part due to its annual release date and in part due to its food-friendly nature.
The History of Beaujolais Nouveau
According to a French law passed in 1985, Beaujolais Nouveau may not be released earlier than the third Thursday of November.
As a result, tradition and custom have set in to make the annual release of this much loved wine a fun-filled event. Starting with the hand-picking of the grapes in the Beaujolais growing region (just south of Burgundy), followed by carbonic maceration, where whole grapes essentially act as their own tiny fermentation chambers, and onto speedy bottling all to culminate in the midnight release on the third Thursday of November.
The Race is On
Next vintners race to see whose Beaujolais Nouveau will be the first to fill the bars and bistros of the world awaiting the new vintage. They have employed all methods of transport as part of the fun and sport – from trucks to trains, and jets to hot air balloons designed to rush their vintage to the front of consumer lines.
Banners proclaiming, “Le Beaujolais Nouveau est arrive!” – "The New Beaujolais has arrived!" are scattered throughout wine shops, enticing those who are seeking a light-hearted, fruit-filled wine to decorate their holiday tables, and for a mere $6-10 a bottle, the decoration comes fairly cheap!