Vive le Beaujolais Nouveau!
from our blog contributor: Henry Foy, Emporium Wine
It’s coming! The first wine of the 2017 vintage is about to arrive. Let the celebration begin.
What is this wine that causes so much excitement around the world every year about this time? It is Beaujolais Nouveau and the third Thursday of November is Beaujolais Nouveau Day. Worldwide. In France, where this amazing wine comes from, it is practically a national holiday celebrating the end of the harvest season. The carnival atmosphere may go on for days.
Over a hundred festivals with parades, fireworks, music and copious amounts of wine will be held in the tiny Beaujolais region of France. Parties will also be held across the US and other countries awaiting the 12:01 AM release of the new wine. Not a moment before, according to French law. In years past we have seen images of the precious cargo arriving by hot air balloon, rickshaw, Concord jet and camel to commence the festivities.
Just eight weeks ago the grapes that make this wine were still on the vine. When the Gamay grapes that go into Beaujolais wines are picked, hand-picked that is, the rush begins to process the wine. The technique for extracting and fermenting the juice is done quickly to preserve the fruity quality that is characteristically Nouveau.
Beaujolais Nouveau is not a wine for snobs and is mean to be drunk young and slightly chilled is okay, too. You can’t get any younger than this; it is literally the first wine to be produced from grapes harvested this season. Though the hullaballoo marketing may imply a wine of greater status Nouveau is not a complex wine. But it is light-bodied, fresh and fruity with an absolutely beautiful, intensely purple color and fresh, clean, distinctively Gamay nose. It is a fun wine that enthusiasts wait all year for. Or maybe it’s just the parties marking not only the end of the harvest but the beginning of the holiday season.
Ah, the holidays are upon us. In the US Beaujolais Nouveau is often called the Thanksgiving wine because of the timely release and because it pairs very well with Thanksgiving fare. Third Thursday; Nov. 16. Plan a party and stock up for Turkey Day. More on Thanksgiving wines in the days ahead.
The light, fruity style of Beaujolais without the bitter dryness of more complex reds is a great starting point for a lifetime of adventure. Beyond Nouveau there are several levels of quality in Beaujolais wines that might be stepping-stones to experiencing all sorts of exciting wines. Grab a glass and catch the WAVE; we’ll be your loyal wine guide.
Story by Henry Foy, owner of Emporium Wine. Be sure to stop by Emporium Wine for all your holiday wines and especially this year's Beaujolais Nouveau.