Le Beaujolais Est Arrivé! Every year on the third Thursday of November, young Beaujolais arrives to the waiting masses
Every year on the third Thursday of November, young Beaujolais arrives to the waiting masses. Beaujolais Nouveau (meaning new Beaujolais) is released when just 6-8 weeks old. It’s a red that is made for chilling and should be consumed A-SAP.
Here are some fast, fresh facts:
- Beaujolais Nouveau is a fruity, very young red wine that is released for sale every year on the third Thursday of November. Why the Thursday? Because these Beaujolais folk want to keep the week short and have the celebrations go till Sunday.
- It’s made from handpicked Gamay – the lightest, thinned skinned red grapes – from the Beaujolais region in France.
- The speed and easy drinking style is all down to the way it is made. Beaujolais Nouveau undergoes carbonic maceration – which means, instead of the grapes being pressed and fermented, whole grapes and their brunches fill an oxygen starved tank which results in a fermentation happening *inside* the berry. This keeps the fruit flavour and allows the juice to be extracted from the grapes with a minimum contact with the skin.
- Not that you need an excuse, but that fruitiness and easy drinking style means Beaujolais Nouveau is for immediate enjoyment. No cellars, storage and waiting for its best. Slightly chill yours to maximise the fruit flavours.
- Started in the 1970s and continued every year since, there is a race to get the first new vintage bottles to Paris. The race craze soon spread to Europe, US and Asia. Modes of transport have included Concorde, hot air balloon and even an elephant (we can guess who won).
- There are over 100 Beaujolais Nouveau-related festivals held in the Beaujolais region. The most famous festival, Les Sarmentelles, held in Beaujeu, the capital of the region. It last for days and the winner of the annual tasting contest wins their weight in wine.
- Over half of the wine is consumed in France, but other big tasters include Japan, Germany and the USA.
- Fun, lighthearted and fruit driven – with raspberry, tart cherries and in some cases, bubblegum
- Serve – slightly chilled
Wines to try:
Beaujolais wines run the scale from zippy, zesty, tarty to the more serious smokey and woodland tasting Crus. One of our favourite producers is Marcel Lapierre, Beaujolais’ natural wine making superstar, who offers wines across this scale.
What we buy: Raisins Gauloius – top-notch that goes down way too easily.
What we buy: Morgon – slightly more serious offering from their Cru plot.