Ten things to know about Beaujolais Nouveau
On the third Thursday of November Beaujolais Nouveau is released. Here are ten facts you need to know before you try the wine
1. Beaujolais Nouveau is always the first French wine of the year’s harvest to be released for sale.In French law, this must not take place before one minute past midnight on the third Thursday of November, irrespective of the start of the harvest.
2. Beaujolais Nouveau can be made only with handpicked gamay grapes.
3. Only two appellations in Burgundy can produce the wine: Beaujolais and Beaujolais-Villages covering around 11,000 hectares of vineyards.
4. Unlike most red wines, Beaujolais Nouveau is best drunk slightly chilled (about 13°C) and within the first six months of its release.
5. About 120 Beaujolais Nouveau festivals take place across Burgundy. One of the best known is Les Sarmentelles in the town of Beaujeu, which lasts for five days.
6. The uncorking of the first Beaujolais bottles is marked with torchlight parades and fireworks at midnight.
7. In the 1960s, winemakers such as Georges Duboeuf saw the potential of the easy-drinking wine and helped to popularise it by staging an annual contest to see who could deliver the first bottle to Paris. Duboeuf’s company remains the most important Beaujolais Nouveau producer.
8. In the US, Beaujolais Nouveau is popular at Thanksgiving, which falls a week after the wine’s release.
9. The light, fruity taste is due to a technique called carbonic maceration, where juice is extracted from the grapes without including the bitter tannins from the skins.
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10. The traditional advertising slogan for the wine was ‘Le Beaujolais Nouveau est arrive!’ but this was changed in 2005 to ‘It’s Beaujolais Nouveau time’.
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