Beaujolais Nouveau Day
November 11, 2014
On the third Thursday of November every year the world celebrates Beaujolais Nouveau Day. It seems like every day is celebrated in some way these days – so much so that events even have to share days! This year Beaujolais Nouveau Day falls on World Philosophy Day, which is quite apt if you think of the philosophising that can go down after a few glasses of Beaujolais…
The day is as it sounds, a festive celebration of the release of the first wine of the season from the region of Beaujolais. Cases of Beaujolais Nouveau are fast-tracked all around the world and the wine is generally available to purchase on or close to the day. While there are some low-key events that happen in Australia, in France and much of Europe Beaujolais Nouveau Day is a big deal and an exuberant celebration. The wine is only fermented for a matter of weeks so is a simple, fresh, fruity wine best served chilled – the release is perfect timing for us as we head into Summer. We have previously discussed Gamay and most Beaujolais is made from the Gamay grape variety.
Beaujolais Nouveau Day is a lot of fun but there’s plenty more to discover about Beaujolais – and it is worth knowing how to understand the labelling system. The French Province of Beaujolais is a regulated wine region divided into AOCs (controlled designation of origin areas). The labelling of Beaujolais wines indicates which AOC they originate from – their appellation. There are three classifications of Beaujolais, beginning with Beaujolais AOC. A step up is the Beaujolais Villages AOC and the highest quality category is Beaujolais Cru. Both Beaujolais and Beaujolais Villages can happily be chilled and enjoyed in the coming months.
There are ten Beaujolais Crus (often just Crus on the bottle) and each specifies the village where the wine was produced. These wines are all about the very precise terroir of each village and offer a more complex drinking experience. Two of the lighter style are Fleurie and Chiroubles. The Fleurie is light and aromatic, with what I like to call ‘fruit forwardness’ – it provides an easy palate with generosity of fruit. Chiroubles I would characterise more as perfumed, silky and soft – how could you resist? At the heavier end of the Crus we have Moulin-à-Vent. This wine is full-bodied, with aromas of plum, cherry and violet in its youth and more truffle, meat and spice as it ages. And it does benefit from aging, unlike Beaujolais Village. No prizes for guessing which of the Crus make an easier introduction to Beaujolais but to make it crystal clear, the Fleurie is like a Jarlsberg cheese – simple, likeable and delicate in taste. The Moulin-à-Vent is like a blue cheese – muscular, powerful, complex, challenging, perhaps an acquired taste!
Georges Dubeouf has been very successful at promoting Beaujolias Nouveau Day. In addition to events like this there are usually large producers who champion and popularise certain grape varieties or regions in different markets. For example, Yalumba introduced the Australian public to Pinot Grigio – once the market was familiar with this grape variety, smaller producers then began marketing their own Pinot Grigios with greater success. Georges Duboeuf played this pioneering role for Beaujolais many years ago and is still the most well-known producer of the region. There are now many other, small and large, Beaujolais producers with wines available in Australia. So grab a Beaujolais and your nearest philosopher and get tasting this November…
Beaujolais Nouveau Day Blog Special
To celebrate Beaujolais Nouveau day I have a special offer for blog readers:
Buy 6 bottles of Victor Berard Beaujolais 2011 for only $100, including delivery.
You can order more than one half dozen, but the selection of wines is fixed as listed above. Order by opening the Wine order form below and once you have submitted your request, I’ll be in touch to arrange payment and delivery.