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Savory Grape

Beaujolais Nouveau Is Here

Beaujolais NouveauWhat's the big hype with Beaujolais Nouveau? Mostly, its notoriety and regulations around it - it can't be released to consumers (per French law) until the third Thursday in November. This year that marks November 21st, just in time for Thanksgiving.

What is Beaujolais Nouveau? Beaujolais Nouveau is different from other wines. Traditionally, after harvest (picking of the grapes) wine ferments slowly and is then aged in barrels or stainless steel tanks throughout the following spring and summer. Some wine is aged for years in barrels. But with Beaujolais Nouveau, the process is accelerated to achieve a very early release date, usually within only two months from the time the grapes are picked. The resulting red wine, produced from the Gamay grape, is young, light and juicy, and should not be kept for more than 6 months to at most a year.

The anticipation leading up to the release of Beaujolais Nouveau has become just as famous as the wine. The new vintage of Beaujolais Nouveau each year reaches its fans in many ways - some via boat, via jet and even via hot air balloon. It has thus created a much-loved tradition where there are thousands of Beaujolais Nouveau parties all over the world. In fact, we join in too! You just have to. It even has been said that by the time the release day is over, about half of the Beaujolais Nouveau production will have been distributed and consumed worldwide. Because of its light, fruity, yet dry, nature, it is something many also have each year at the Thanksgiving table, just to show they have it. (In fact we do.)

There are of course ageworthy, more notable wines from top areas within Beaujolais that are different and should not be confused with Beaujolais Nouveau. These are ones from areas such as Brouilly and Fleurie that are almost Pinot Noir like and gain character with age. Grab one of these and compare it to the much younger child Beaujolais Nouveau. It will be fun!