19 Nov Beaujolais Nouveau
Today in France, it is common to hear people exclaim…Le Beaujolais Nouveau est arrivé! Which means “The New Beaujolais has arrived!” All around the world the Beaujolais Nouveau wines are hitting the market. In Paris they will be partying all night to celebrate. Not to be left out–I had the pleasure of tasting the Domaine Dupueble Nouveau 2009 with some Jambalaya last night and now I am even MORE excited for tonight’s Beaujolais celebration!
So what is Beaujolais Nouveau and why is it so special? Each year the Beaujolais producers release one special wine just weeks after it is harvested and they call it Beaujolais Nouveau which means the new Beaujolais. These wines travel from Beaujolais, in the southernmost part of Burgundy, to destinations around the world for their “official” release on the third Thursday of November–which is today.
Beaujolais is a region that makes mostly red wines from the Gamay grape known for its fruitiness, soft tannins and food friendly acidity. About half of Beaujolais wines are bottled early for the Nouveau release and the other half spend time aging in oak barrels until being released in the spring. Nouveau wines are seen by some as a way to celebrate the harvest and gauge the quality of the more “serious” wines to be released in the spring.
Most producers in Beaujolais use a unique process called carbonic maceration to create these fruity wines. Unlike traditional fermentation the grapes are not crushed and in fact the fermentation happens inside the grape itself. This process creates fruity wines with soft tannins . . .think berries and fruit salad! Beaujolais Nouveau is made for early consumption and its flavors will fade after six months or so. Serve these wines slightly chilled at maybe 60-65 degrees F to taste them at their best.
Given that that Beaujolais Nouveau is a great pairing to our traditional Thanksgiving feast is reason enough to enjoy these wines not to mention that 2009 is shaping up to be a great vintage. Pick up some Beaujolais NOUVEAU on your way home from work tonight. Invite some friends over to have a Nouveau party or just enjoy a bottle with your Thanksgiving leftovers.
Don’t forget to celebrate all that you have harvested in 2009 and Enjoy!