Beaujolais Nouveau

Le Beaujolais Nouveau Est Arrivé! The New Beaujolais Has Arrived!

Today, the third Thursday of November, marks the 60 year French tradition of unveiling the first wine of the harvest season, Beaujolais Nouveau.

Beaujolais is located in the region of Burgundy, France, where winemaking traces back to the Roman times. There are 2,500 Beaujolais growers in the region.

  • By law, Beaujolais grapes must be harvested by hand and grown on individual, free standing vines.
  • Beaujolais Nouveau is made from 100% Gamay grapes, which have thinner skins than most grapes, causing lower levels of tannin. The wine is meant to be served slightly chilled, at about 55°F, which brings out the wine’s refreshing and fruit-forward character better than if it were served at room temperature.


    Video on Jean-Claude Debeaune Beaujolais Nouveau 2012

  • Beaujolais Nouveau owes its easy drinkability to a winemaking process called carbonic maceration, or whole-berry fermentation. This technique preserves the fresh, fruity quality of the wine without extracting bitter tannins from the grape skins.
  • Originally, Beaujolais Nouveau was the wine of the vineyard workers, consumed to celebrate the end of harvest and giving them a first taste of the new vintage.
  • In 1985, France passed a law requiring that Beaujolais Nouveau must always be released on the third Thursday in November anywhere in the world.
  • More than 35 million bottles of Beaujolais Nouveau are expected to be consumed in the months following the wine’s release.

To celebrate the day, Beaujolais Nouveau countdown parties became popular throughout France and abroad. Now, Beaujolais Nouveau Day is a global celebration. While there are many great brands of Beaujolais Nouveau to chose from at your local wine shop, Georges Duboeuf has created the biggest splash in the U.S.

This year, Georges Duboeuf celebrates their 30th anniversary of Beaujolais Nouveau in the U.S. with “Thirty Years of Magic“…

  • Marco Tempest, world-renowned techno-illusionist, is using his new brand of magic to tell the story behind the brand, the wine and the overall celebration of Beaujolais Nouveau. And he’s created a label for this year’s wine that comes to life, through a customized augmented-reality application that is used with your smartphone. Get all the details here.
  • Events are happening across the country, like today’s Tapping of the Keg in Baltimore. See the list here.
  • The 2012 vintage is vibrant, fruit-forward and best served chilled. Despite the short harvest the “quality is excellent!” Georges Duboeuf has proclaimed. “The color is a lovely ruby red with purplish tints. The aromas are very pleasant, dominated by red berries, and on the palate, they are flavorful, subtle, fresh and fruity with good structure and balance,” Duboeuf confirmed.

Beaujolais Nouveau is a perfect pairing with a wide range of foods making it ideal to serve next week for Thanksgiving.

I’m off to pick up my bottles of Le Beaujolais Nouveau! Santé!

Wine Pairings for Thanksgiving Dinner

It’s that time of year. Thanksgiving dinner shopping and choosing wines to serve with it. There’s lots of advice out there this week on-line so thought I’d share my pairing guidance.

Whether you chose red or white wine, I recommend serving both, the general advice is pair simple wines (lighter and less complex) with complex meals (meaning rich foods, heavy spices and herbs) and pair complex wines with simple meals. Thanksgiving dinner is a little of both so totally up to you! I’m going with simple wines for our big dinner at friend’s house…probably a bottle or more of each category below.

Bubbles

Any special meal should start and end with bubbles! You could go high-end Champagne or serve a bottle of Prosecco or other sparking wine.

Red Wines

Red wines with low tannins are suggested for Thanksgiving so a lighter bodied fruity wine to go with the richness of the meal.

  • Beaujolais: Beaujolais Nouveau, a red wine made in less than 10 weeks from the Gamay grape in Burgundy, France, is meant to be enjoyed immediately upon its release last week (always the 3rd Thursday of November). It’s a light bodied fruity, easy to drink wine. Georges Dubouef’s is the classic you’ll see everywhere ($11). Or you could go with a fuller bodied Beaujolais-Village from Dubouef or Louis Jadot (either $14).
  • Pinot Noir: Another great option is go American with Oregon’s red wine specialty, Pinot Noir, made of ripe red fruit for lots of berry and juicy flavor. Last weekend I discovered Lachini Vineyard‘s amazing Pinot Noir wines. Their 2008 Estate Pinot Noir was full of raspberry and white pepper with taste of sweet fruit, floral and dark chocolate ($40). King Estate is another great option…their namesake Signature Pinot Noir ($30) or their Acrobat ($19).

White Wines

White wines with bright flavors are perfect for Thanksgiving dinner.

Snooth and wine.com are great resources for your wine ordering online.

Cheers to Thanksgiving week with great wine and food!

It’s Beaujolais Nouveau Day… Join the Celebration!

As they say in France on the third Thursday of November each year, Le Beaujolais Nouveau est arrivé,  the Beaujolais  [pronounced BOE-zjoh-lay] Nouveau has arrived!

This 60 year tradition celebrating the first wine vintage of the year to celebrate the arrival of Beaujolais Nouveau, a red wine made in less than 10 weeks from the Gamay grape and meant to be enjoyed immediately, kicked off yesterday at the stroke of midnight in France as bottles started hitting shelves across France and around the world.

The Gamay grapes were first planted by the Romans in the Beaujolais Province south of the Burgundy region/north of Lyon. They must come only from the Beaujolais AOC, a 34-mile long region, and by law, they must be picked by hand. Why? Because Beaujolais is made using the carbonic maceration wine making process or whole berry fermentation. This process preserves the fresh fruit flavors for the wine without extracting the bitter tannins from the grape skins. The result? A light-bodied fruity easy to drink wine best served slightly cool (about 55 degrees Fahrenheit) to bring out the fruit flavors. For more on the history of this wine, read on.

This first taste of the 2011 vintage will be interesting. A year characterized by unusual weather lead to early harvest which could benefit the 2011 Beaujolais Nouveau as it gave it a little more time to mature. We’ll have to see today as we taste it.

Want to join the celebration? In addition to events going on in restaurants, wine bars, and wine stores, there’s a virtual event taking place, the 1st Annual Beaujolais #NouveauDay celebrating the official arrival of Georges Duboeuf’s Beaujolais Nouveau. So grab your bottle, pop the cork and get on Twitter to share, learn and celebrate!

Looking forward to later. Santé!

Beaujolais Nouveau Day

At midnight tonight, the third Thursday of November, France celebrates their annual tradition…the uncorking of the new Beaujolais Nouveau wine and the beginning of “Beaujolais Nouveau Day.”

Beaujolais Nouveau (pronunciation) is a red wine made from the Gamay grapes, first planted by the Romans in the Beaujolais Province south of the Burgundy region/north of Lyon. The grapes must come only from the Beaujolais AOC, a 34-mile long region, and by law they must be picked by hand. Why? Because Beaujolais is made using the carbonic maceration wine making process or whole berry fermentation. This process preserves the fresh fruit flavors for the wine without extracting the bitter tannins from the grape skins.

The result? A light-bodied fruity easy to drink wine ready in just 6-8 weeks after harvest, best served slightly cool (about 55 degrees Fahrenheit) to bring out the fruit flavors.

Beaujolais had always made a wine to celebrate the end of harvest season, but until WWII it was only for local consumption. In 1938 (once the Beaujolais AOC was established in 1937), AOC (Appellation d’Origine Controlée, France’s wine classification system) rules said Beaujolais wine could only be officially sold after December 15 in the harvest year. The rules were relaxed in 1951 and the Union Interprofessionnelle des Vins du Beaujolais (UIVB) set November 15 as the release date for Beaujolais Nouveau (later moved to the third Thursday of November to take advantage of the weekend).

A few members of the UIVB, like Georges Duboeuf, saw great marketing potential and the idea was born of a race to Paris carrying the first bottles of the new vintage. This attracted a lot of media coverage, and by the 1970s had become a national event still celebrated in Paris. Duboeuf remains the biggest producer of Beaujolais Nouveau (you’ll know their floral labels which are newly designed each year). This year the first bottles of Georges Duboeuf 2010 Beaujolais Nouveau in the U.S. will be delivered into the hands of Actress Molly Sims and Franck Duboeuf for the official uncorking on November 18 at New York City’s new District 36 club.

Cheers to the 2010 vintage and the big party over the next few days in Beaujeu, the capital of the Beaujolais region!