Try Something Nouveau!
Beaujolais Nouveau Day is coming
If you love a sprightly celebration of wine, be sure to mark November 18 on your calendar this year. What started as a French tradition among vineyard workers has grown into a worldwide holiday known as Beaujolais Nouveau Day. This end-of-harvest celebration focuses on a new wine that’s made especially for this event.
This special wine is grown in the Beaujolais region of France and made with the gamay grape. Like pinot noir, the wine has a flavor profile that’s light-bodied, fruity and slightly floral with a heaping amount of acidity and low tannins. Beaujolais nouveau is typically a red wine, but more producers are releasing a rosé version as well. When done in nouveau style, the grapes are picked and quickly crushed and bottled, producing a unique flavor profile that’s sought out by wine lovers of all levels.
Beaujolais Nouveau Day brought attention to the small winemaking region within France and made the wine very profitable. There are about 2500 farmers growing grapes for this wine and producing over 20 million bottles per year. Roughly 40% of that wine is exported, primarily to the United States, Japan, Great Britain, Canada and China.
Before the 1950s, Beaujolais nouveau wine was made for vineyard workers to celebrate the end of the harvest and to congratulate them on their hard work for the year. Popularity increased when local shops in Paris started to carry and advertise this early-release wine. Soon, the race to provide the freshest vintage of nouveau wines to Paris started.
Producer and businessman Georges Duboeuf was a key player in the rise of Beaujolais nouveau wines. In the 1970s, Duboeuf promoted contests for vineyards to race to Paris and encouraged the start of many festivals throughout Paris.
By the 1980s, other countries became invested in this wine as well as the festival surrounding it. In 1985, stricter laws were passed for the yearly release of the Beaujolais nouveau wine, including one controlling the release date. These wines can’t be sold before 12:01 a.m. on the third Thursday of November.
For those of us in the U.S., this date works perfectly for picking up this lovely wine for Thanksgiving sipping, since that’s the fourth Thursday of November.
So, where do you find Beaujolais nouveau? Most wine shops carry it. Look for George Duboeuf’s Beaujolais Nouveau in red and rosé styles. Both wines will be listed at affordable prices, around $13, so you can stock up.
For the red version, you’ll notice bright flavors of strawberries and currants with an enticing perfume to accompany the fruitiness of this wine. It pairs well with traditional holiday fare and charcuterie. The rosé carries notes of white peach and a touch of citrus. Pair this with fresh fruits, light cheeses or a variety of desserts. Serve both wines chilled.
Because of the nature of its release, you’ll find this wine in late November and possibly early December, but probably not later in the year. Be sure to pick up a few bottles when you see it! Its peak drinkability is in the first year.
If Beaujolais nouveau wines are new to you, I hope you give them a try and taste the magic. Look for the bright and colorful poster that accompanies the stack of equally vibrant wine labels. Just ask if you can’t find it because you don’t miss out before it sells out for this year.
Start the holiday season with friends and family with something new to sip. Enjoy while also staying safe.
Le Beaujolais Nouveau est arrivé!
Jessica Roberts has worked with Fine Wine & Good Spirits for six years, taking the position of Wine Specialist a year and a half ago. What began as a hobby soon blossomed into a satisfying career. Jessica works at the Premium Collection store in Phoenixville. Stop by for one of her tastings or just to ask a question. Learn more at FWGS.com.
back to top