Beaujolais Nouveau is a red wine made from Gamay grapes in the Beaujolais region of France. But it is so much more than just a bottle of wine. Beaujolais Nouveau is a day, a celebration and a global phenomenon every single November. And you are going to want to be a part of it.
Beaujolais Nouveau is bottled only 6-8 weeks after harvest and its purple-pink colouring reflects its youth. It’s as close as a red wine can get to being, well, a white wine. In a Beaujolais, the “must” (freshly pressed grape juice that contains the skins, seeds and stems of the fruit) is pressed early (after only three days). This means that the astringent tannins, normally found in red wines, are barely there, making for a very easy-to-drink, fruity wine that tastes best when chilled.
Historically, Beaujolais Nouveau was made to celebrate the end of harvest. The wine was released early on the third Thursday in November—just after midnight, to be exact. This quickly became labelled, “Beaujolais Nouveau Day”, marked with races to get bottles of the new wine to markets all across the globe. In 1938 regulations and restrictions were enacted to restrict where, when and how the wines were made and distributed. Over time, the celebrations around this day have grown and spread.
With cries of, “Le Beaujolais nouveau est arrivé!”, over a million cases of Beaujolais Nouveau travel from a sleepy French region to wine lovers around the globe. By the time the celebration has wrapped up, over 65 million bottles (half the region’s entire production) will have been shipped and enjoyed.
Some might say that the race from grape to glass is frivolous, but part of the fun is knowing that on the same night, in homes and bars around the world, the same celebration is going on. What began as a local phenomenon in France is now a day of fanfare around the globe!