Wednesday, November 19, 2014

It's Beaujolais Time!

Gamay Grapes
Tomorrow at 12:01 a.m. local time, the latest Beaujolais Nouveau will be released to the public. Beaujolais Nouveau is a red wine crafted from Gamay grapes grown in the Beaujolais wine region in France. The grapes have been around since the 15th century when Beaujolais Nouveau was just a regional wine enjoyed by locals celebrating the end of the harvest season.

But what began as a fad wine in the 1960s morphed into a cult wine for the 1980s and beyond. Wine critics won't give it much press, saying it's a gimmick fashioned mostly by French wine producer (of Beaujolais Nouveau, of course) Georges Duboeuf.

Georges Duboeuf
Duboeuf saw a way to market the new wine, and make a good profit from it – only a few weeks after the grapes had been hand-picked. It was a stroke of marketing genius when he held a race to Paris with the first bottles of this extremely young and immature vino. Media from around the world covered the story and by the 1970s it was an annual event.
In 1985, the date of release was legally changed to the third Thursday in November to take advantage of the holidays. 

Carbonic Maceration Occurring
Beaujolais Nouveau is unique in that the grapes are harvested and tossed in fermentation tanks without an official crush allowing for fermentation on the skins and a flavorful wine.  After only 6 to 8 weeks of carbonic maceration fermentation, the wine is bottled and shipped. The purplish-red color, light body, and very fruit-forward flavors only add to the mass appeal.

While wine critics don’t rave about it, many wine lovers do, lining up to purchase the limited number of cases at wine shops across the world, just in time for the holidays.

Each vintage tastes differently but generally you can expect the flavors of strawberry, cherry, and red raspberry in a bright, fresh wine that’s easy to drink, and fun to pair with holiday foods. (Think turkey, ham, and cranberry sauce.)

Beaujolais Nouveau is indeed a party in a bottle and you’ll see lots of festive decorations surrounding it in the liquor stores. Just remember, it’s meant to be enjoyed NOW. And unlike most red wines, this one will become more enjoyable if chilled for 20 – 30 minutes before serving. If you forget to cool it down, just add a few ice cubes!

Beaujolais Nouveau
Beaujolais Nouveau is a great wine to serve with Thanksgiving since it pairs well with those savory flavors.
Remember, this is supposed to be fun, so put aside any preconceived notions, kick back and enjoy this wine with friends because Beaujolais Nouveau will be gone very soon! 

And then you may find yourself waiting another year for that third Thursday in November…

~ Joy