The third Thursday of November means one thing: Beaujolais Nouveau day.
... And it just so happens that that day was yesterday. The release of the new vintage of wine from the Beaujolais AOC and Beaujolais Villages, there is so much build up and excitement both in France and abroad. So much in fact, that there is even a French law which stipulates the release date!
Here are 5 things you should know about Beaujolais Nouveau:
1. It's 100% Gamay grape. (Not a very common grape variety internationally-speaking, but it holds a firm place in the hearts of the French.)
2. It's completely hand-harvested. (There are only two wine-producing regions where this is compulsory: Beaujolais and Champagne.)
3. It undergoes something called carbonic maceration. This gives it a very fruity flavour (and with virtually no bitterness that you get from tanins in other red wines.) (The Gamay grape anyway is low-tannin, but this method of fermentation brings out the light fruitiness even more.)
4. It should be drunk young. Beaujolais Nouveau is not a wine to lay down in your cellar and keep for years. Buy a couple of bottles (they're cheap!) but make sure to drink up before next summer rolls around.
5. It should also be drunk slightly chilled. If you come from the old school of serving your white wines frozen and your red wines tropical, this may come as a shock to the system, but seriously, give it a go.
Beaujolais Nouveau is not a complicated wine - there's nothing complex about it and I doubt it ever will be. It's not a wine that takes itself seriously (have you heard the joke about the banana?) But it is a light-bodied, simple drinking wine. For about 360 days of the year, I don't go anywhere near it, but on Beaujolais Nouveau release day, why not join in the spirit of it all.
P.S. My favourite slurp this year was actually the 100% organic "Octobre Rouge" from the Domaine Les Foulards Rouges (click here
) (at Les Caves Auge
.) There was a gorgeous crème de cassis flavour to it - but as it's 100% Syrah from the Languedoc region, it's not actually a Beaujolais! Whoops!