Some people claim it’s a dying trend, others suggest it is making a comeback. One way or an other, today is Beaujolais Nouveau day!
Everyone will probably agree it is not the best wine, but it gives us an opportunity to celebrate and get together in one of the dullest and darkest months of the year.
So here are 10 things you need to know about Beaujolais Nouveau:
1. Beaujolais Nouveau Day is marked in France on the third Thursday in November with fireworks, music and festivals.
There are about 120 Beaujolais Nouveau related festivals held in the Beaujolais region.
2. It is best served chilled, with a sliced saucisson (a thick, dry, cured sausage, tipically made of pork)
3. The wine originated about a century ago as a cheap and cheerful drink produced by locals to celebrate the end of the harvest season. Nowadays, winemakers in Beaujolais (Eastern France) rush the “primeur” wine to market just a few weeks after harvest, often with only a few days of fermentation to its name.
4. A race was created in the 1950´s, where the objective was to see who could arrive in Paris first with the first Beaujolais Nouveau of the year. The race become popular, mationwide in the 70’s, then in Europe in the 80’s and by the 1990’s, it had become a worldwide phenomenon. Over the years, wines were carried by race car, motorcycle, airplane and even the Concord.
5. The main purpose of making such a wine is to allow everyone to get an initial impression of the vintage. Even at this early stage, you can taste the ripeness of the grapes and the potential depth of the wines.
6.Also, and for most wineries, it generates cash flow, at a time of year when they need money for bottling and preparing for the next season.
7. The Beaujolais region is 34 miles long from north to south and 7 to 9 miles wide. It is home to nearly 4,000 vineyards which produce 12 officially-designated types of Beaujolais. They include some of the finest and priciest ‘grand crus’ wines around, including Fleurie and Cote de Brouilly. The most common two are the Beaujolais and Beaujolais-Villages, the former of which account for half of the region’s annual output.
8. Japan imported 7.9 million bottles last year, the United States 1.8 million and Germany 730,000.
9.The region of Beaujolais is also known for its fabulous food. The famous Paul Bocuse restaurant is just minutes from the heart of Beaujolais, as is Georges Blanc’s. These great restaurants have plenty of Beaujolais Nouveau on their wine lists.
10. The wine goes well with either haute cuisine or Friday night’s pizza.
We hope you can put your hand on a bottle and join the celebrations this week-end.
And of course, don’t forget to drink responsibly!