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!