Happy Beaujolais Nouveau Day!!!
The third Thursday of November marks the release of the most popular French wine, Beaujolais Nouveau, for sale. This red wine is made from Gamey grapes produced in the Beaujolais province situated in the Rhone-Alpes and Burgundy regions of France. By law, all grapes in this region must be harvested by hand. Beaujolais’ fermentation process lasts a few weeks and the wine is ready to drink 6 – 8 weeks after the harvest.
Around 49 million liters of Beaujolais Nouveau are produced a year. This makes up almost half of this region’s wine production. Among that, half is exported, with Germany and Japan being the biggest markets and the United States closely following. Many Americans like to enjoy this wine on Thanksgiving, which falls a week after the wine’s release day.
Le Beaujolais nouveau est arrivé! (The new Beaujolais has arrived!)
Here are 10 interesting facts about Beaujolais Nouveau from http://www.winecountrytravel.com/France/beaujolaisnouveaufacts.html:
1.) Beaujolais [BOE-zjoh-lay] Nouveau is always released the third Thursday of November, regardless of the start of the harvest.
2.) The region of Beaujolais is 34 miles long from north to south and 7 to 9 miles wide. There are nearly 4,000 grape growers who make their living in this picturesque region just north of France’s third largest city, Lyon.
3.) All the grapes in the Beaujolais region must be picked by hand. These are the only vineyards, along with Champagne, where hand harvesting is mandatory.
4.) Gamay (Gamay noir à Jus Blanc) is the only grape permitted for Beaujolais. While certain California wineries may label their wine “Gamay Beaujolais” this is not the same grape variety as what is grown in France, and is quite different in taste and growing habits.
5.) Beaujolais Nouveau cannot be made from grapes grown in the 10 crus (great growths) of Beaujolais-only from grapes coming from the appellations of Beaujolais and Beaujolais-Villages.
6.) Beaujolais Nouveau owes its easy drinkability to a winemaking process called carbonic maceration—also called whole berry fermentation. This technique preserves the fresh, fruity quality of the wine, without extracting bitter tannins from the grape skins.
7.) Beaujolais Nouveau is meant to be drunk young-in average vintages it should be consumed by the following May after its release. However, in excellent vintages (such as 2000) the wine can live much longer and can be enjoyed until the next harvest rolls around.
8.) Serve Beaujolais Nouveau slightly cool, at about 55 degrees Fahrenheit-the wine is more refreshing and its forward fruit more apparent than if you serve it at room temperature.
9.) Approximately 1/3 of the entire crop of the Beaujolais region is sold as Beaujolais Nouveau.
10.) The region of Beaujolais is known for its fabulous food. The famed Paul Bocuse Restaurant is just minutes from the heart of Beaujolais, as is Georges Blanc’s eponymous culinary temple. These great restaurants have plenty of Beaujolais on their wine lists. This quintessential food wine goes well with either haute cuisine or Tuesday night’s meat loaf.