It’s a day that is anticipated and celebrated by excited fans everywhere. The third Thursday in November, at one minute past midnight, Beaujolais Nouveau Day begins. On that day, at that time, thousands of cases of new wine are shipped from the vineyards, in the Beaujolais region of France, to Paris, and then on to the thirsty masses all over the world. The tradition evolved as a regional event in the early 20th century, and the day was originally designated annually on November 15th. However, in 1985, as the celebration gained in popularity throughout France, this was changed to the third Thursday each year. With no more inconvenient Monday or Tuesday release dates, it became possible for revelers to celebrate over a four-day weekend. Sounds perfectly reasonable to me!
Here in the United States, Beaujolais Nouveau Day happily coincides with our Thanksgiving Day. With a taste and body profile not unlike Pinot Noir, a bright, lively, fruity Beaujolais Nouveau pairs very well with the traditional turkey dinner.
Beaujolais Nouveau is about as un-snobbish as you can get in a red wine. It’s not made for high-brow, serious, sniffing-and-swirling tasting events. It’s an easy-drinking, fun wine meant for a party! Made from the Gamay grape, Beaujolais Nouveau is meant to be consumed young. Unlike most red wines, that are aged for several months or years, Beaujolais Nouveau is unaged, and released just weeks after harvest. In production, the wine undergoes a short fermentation process, with the skins in contact with the juice for only a brief time. This results in a light, acidic wine with minimal tannins. In this way, it is often compared to a summery white wine, rather than a more traditional red wine. And like a white wine, Beaujolais Nouveau is best served chilled. As a light, low-tannin wine, the recommendation is to enjoy your Beaujolais Nouveau within six months.
This year, my Beaujolais Nouveau selection was the Jean Claude Debeaune Beaujolais Nouveau Celebrate Harvest 2015. Here’s my review, posted to Vivino.
Delightful and lively. Beaujolais Nouveau is always a fun wine. Purple color in the glass, the aromas greet the nose with raspberry, strawberry, and cherry. The flavors on the palate are raspberry, cranberry, cherry, and red currant. The tannins are light and the acidity is brisk. This wine wakes up your mouth! The finish lingers with red fruit and a bit of peppery spiciness. Definitely a gulpable wine!
Purchased at Total Wine & More, $9.99
Rated 4 out of 5 stars
If you haven’t tried Beaujolais Nouveau yet, it’s not too late. There’s still some in stores and it would be a great addition to a Christmas dinner table, a New Year’s Eve party (before the bubbles, of course), or for any other reason you can think of to celebrate! If you miss out, don’t fret. The next Beaujolais Nouveau day is on November 17, 2016. Mark your calendars now!