What’s a Beaujolais Nouveau?
Did you know that the third Thursday of November is the official day for the release of the newest wine on the market, Beaujolais Nouveau?
As stipulated in the French law, Beaujolais Nouveau will be released onto the market at the stroke of midnight – precisely 12:01 am.
Each autumn this release is followed by fireworks, music and festivals everywhere in France.
Maybe you are wondering why is it such a significant event in France? Why this event is recognised and celebrated globally?
That’s why I dug deep and did some research. Here are the facts I found out about this interesting French celebration.
Reasons for celebrating Beaujolais Nouveau
Firstly, it is a tradition. A century ago, Beaujolais Nouveau was a cheap and easy way for the locals to celebrate the end of the harvest and to allow them to enjoy the fruit of their labour.
Secondly, it allows everyone to get an initial impression of the vintage of the wine by tasting the ripeness of the grapes and the potential depth of the wine.
Finally, the most important reason from an economical point of view, is that it generates cash flow for the winery. In fact, during the period in which the wine growers need money for bottling and preparing for next season, these sales can bring about significant cash inflow.
The Beaujolais Nouveau is the very first wine to be corked, so it launches the rest of the season. It’s a fruity, very fresh red wine making it one of the most enjoyable wines to drink.
Why this name?
The wine takes its name from the historical Province of Beaujolais, which is located north of the city of Lyon.
It is made from handpicked Gamay grapes, from the Beaujolais region which is the only region other than Champagne that uses this method.
Almost 1/3 of the crop is used for the production and sold as Beaujolais Nouveau.
Approximately half of the production is destined to be exported to Germany, Asia or the United States.
The wine belongs to a category of wines called “vins primeurs”, meaning any wine sold in the same year it is harvested in not long after completing fermentation. Indeed, it should be consumed by the following May of it’s release.
Even though it is a red wine, it is recommended to serve it slightly cool, allowing for fruit to be more apparent than when it is served at room temperature. I’ve heard it’s a delight with quiche!
To make a long story short, Beaujolais Nouveau is not about great wine as it is definitely not the best wine you’ll ever taste. It’s rather about celebrating the harvest and spending time with friends and family, making it one of the most enjoyable wines available.
So how are you going to celebrate Beaujolais Nouveau this year?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR – Aurélie Geets
Aurélie is an intern at Alliance Française de Cork September-December 2016. She got her degree in Information and Communication with a specialisation in work organization at Université Saint-Louis in Brussels (Belgium). She is now doing a Master’s Degree in cultural management at the Université Libre of Brussels.