It’s the third Thursday in November. When midnight strikes, millions of people around the world celebrate the arrival of this fun wine.
The Beaujolais Nouveau tradition goes back 62 years, and was considered a way of making a bit of much needed cash just after the harvest and also a way of getting rid of “vin ordinaire”. It was several members of the regional vintners association along with the famous Beaujolais wine merchant Georges Duboeuf, who devised this new form of wine marketing and the first races to get the Beaujolais Nouveau to Paris started in the 70’s, with much media attention.
The intention was never to make Beaujolais Nouveau a fine wine, but a fun wine, costing between 4 to 6 euros and so affordable to all.
The Beaujolais Nouveau is made from Gamay grapes using carbonic maceration , whole berry anaerobic fermentation, which brings out strong fruit flavours whilst avoiding bitter tannins from the grape skins. Grapes are not crushed as they are generally with red wine, but placed in a large closed stainless steel vat which is then filled with carbon dioxide. Crushed grapes at the bottom of the vat give off CO2 which causes the other grapes to ferment without the skins being split. This produces very fresh and fruity red wine with very low tannins. The wine is then pasteurized to stop the malolactic fermentation from taking place. It is ready to drink between 6 and 8 weeks after fermenting.
Beaujolais Nouveau, thanks to this vilification method, produces aromatic esters that often remind us of fresh bananas or bubble gum. It’s not meant to be cellared, but enjoyed and indeed millions of people, in particular the under 30’s, celebrate this event throughout the world either by organizing races or by just organizing parties.
Despite being criticized in the 90’s by certain “pompous” wine critics – who obviously misunderstand the meaning of enjoying a fun moment with friends – the event still remains successful and yes, the wine is improving.
So what of the 2013 vintage? Excellent! Very fruity, very silky and very smooth. A dominant cherry flavour. (I’ll be tasting it properly tomorrow!)
So why dink Beaujolais Nouveau?
We are in a consumer society where people work hard, play little and also can’t always afford expensive wine. Beaujolais Nouveau answers these needs and offers instant pleasure at a reasonable price. Something precious in these current times.
So don’t scorn this special wine day…by a bottle of Beaujolais Nouveau and enjoy life with friends! Cheers!
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