The third Thursday in November is a big day in the Beaujolais region south of the Burgundy in France. On this day there is a mad dash for the first, freshest bottles of the new vintage of Beaujolais that has been sent into the markets to arrive on shelves at 12:01 am today. Which winery will get the first bottles in stores? Who will be the first person to buy this years bottlings?
There is even a physical race to get the first bottle to Paris which inspired other races around the world that are rooted in getting the first finished bottle from the newest harvest to market.
The wine itself is made from the Gamay noir grape and must be hand harvested by law in the region. Nouveau is made with the carbonic maceration method as opposed to traditional winemaking methods; the juice is fermented in the grape skins then separated instead of the juice of grapes being separated then fermented with an assist from yeast.
Beaujolais Nouveau is meant to be drank in its youth and not aged, hence the race, carbonic maceration, etc. Fruity, light, vibrant are all words to describe great Nouveau, and not many grapes aside from Gamay (of the 10,000 or so currently on Earth) can make wines so beautiful in their youth, but also make great structured wines that can age beautifully as well if that is the winemaker’s intention.
So, don’t walk, RUN! to your local store today and get a bottle to celebrate this special day!
Pro Tip: Beaujolais Nouveau goes great with Turkey…just saying….