Le Beaujolais Nouveau est arrivé! (“the new Beaujolais has arrived!”). Well, it hasn’t arrived yet but it soon will, kicking off one of France’s most celebrated unofficial holidays which has spread throughout the world. Beaujolais Nouveau is an easy-drinking and inexpensive wine made from Gamay grapes grown exclusively in the Beaujolais region just north of the French city of Lyon.
Each new year’s vintage of Beaujolais Nouveau is released on the third Thursday of November, (November 16 this year) and arrives in wine shops throughout the world shortly thereafter.
It received the “Nouveau” moniker because it is pressed, fermented, bottled and shipped within weeks of the harvest. Not to be confused with the much bigger and more complex wines made in the “grand crus” (great growths) of Beaujolais, Beaujolais Nouveau is meant to be drunk young — within six months of its release — and is best served slightly chilled. And despite its modesty, all Gamay grapes destined to become Beaujolais Nouveau are picked by hand in deference to French law.
Serendipitous that this wine hits the market just prior to Thanksgiving as its decent acidity and low tannins make it easy to drink with the foods traditional to that all-American holiday.