Coming from the thousands of vineyards of the Beaujolais region, south of Burgundy, on the third Thursday of November, at precisely 12:01 am, some six or eight weeks after the Vendanges, the Beaujolais of the year is ready to be opened (French law forbids it from being done two minutes before, but allows the Beaujolais to be shipped well in advance).
Perhaps you didn’t know that the practice of creating Beaujolais Nouveau starts with the growers picking the grapes at their minimum ripeness. Furthermore, sugar is added to enhance the alcohol levels of the wine, a rare guilty pleasure. Also known as the process of whole berry fermentation, Beaujolais wines are produced by the technique of semi-carbonic maceration. After a short procedure of as little as four days, the overpowering taste of berries within the wine is ready to be enjoyed.
Unfortunately in the late 90’s, the Beaujolais Nouveau was tainted by critics being labeled as a “tutti-frutti, banana bubble gum scented, headache inducing beverage”. Regardless, Beaujolais winemakers have been trying to recover their reputation; exporting nearly half of the 65 million bottles of Beaujolais Nouveau that are produced each year to markets including Japan, Germany and the U.S. And what you do not sell, you cannot keep.
Reason has prevailed over greed and the Beaujolais Nouveau of the last ten years has been a delightful vins de soif, with an incredible 2000 vintage that made it almost a vin de garde.
Take the Sommelier challenge, and test your knowledge about this very special once a year wine perfect for the holidays here