Besides the turkey fest of Thanksgiving in November, there's another celebration wine lovers adore: Beaujolais Nouveau Day. Happening every third Thursday of November, it's a bash for a special red wine from France.
Picturesque Beaujolais lies to the East of central France, between the Rhône and Burgundy regions. While both red and white grapes thrive in Beaujolais, the red Gamay grape takes center stage, playing the starring role in the creation of Beaujolais Nouveau wine. The winemaking process involves carbonic maceration, a technique where just-picked Gamay grapes are enclosed in a vat with carbon dioxide. This method sparks intra-cellular fermentation, resulting in a vibrant, lighter wine. Unlike traditional winemaking, Beaujolais Nouveau skips the aging process, hitting the bottle weeks after fermentation. The outcome is a fresh, fruity wine with a light red to almost pink hue and minimal tannins.
The history behind Beaujolais Nouveau, "the world's fastest wine."
Beaujolais Nouveau began as an early-release wine enjoyed by vineyard workers to mark the end of harvest. Over time, the freshly released wine began debuting in local cafes in Lyon, France, and other towns scattered across the Beaujolais region.
During the early 1960s, forward-thinking vintners in the region, including Georges Duboeuf, recognized the potential of this laid-back beverage. They initiated a contest to determine who could get the first bottle of Beaujolais Nouveau to Paris.
The trend quickly gained traction across Europe. North Americans joined the celebration in the 1980s. Beaujolais Nouveau became such a hit that a significant portion, one-third to be precise, of Beaujolais' production is dedicated to the Nouveau style. This enthusiasm resulted in the production and distribution of over 35 million bottles, reaching wine lovers in 110 countries around the globe.
In 2005, the traditional slogan used in ad campaigns and marketing materials, "Le Beaujolais nouveau est arrivé" (translating to "The new Beaujolais has arrived"), changed to the more contemporary "It's Beaujolais Nouveau time."
While some may brush off the wine as a marketing ploy, more than 120 villages in Beaujolais wholeheartedly love and celebrate it every year. Beaujeu, the town that gives Beaujolais its name, hosts a lively five-day festival dedicated to this beloved beverage.
The renowned Paul Bocuse restaurant is just a stone's throw away from the heart of Beaujolais, and so is Georges Blanc's establishment. You'll find ample Beaujolais Nouveau options on the wine lists of these fine restaurants. Whether indulging in haute cuisine or enjoying a casual Friday night pizza, this wine complements both experiences seamlessly.
When matching Beaujolais Nouveau with food, take into account its distinct characteristics:
- Light body and low tannins: Pair it with light dishes like turkey or chicken.
- Moderate to high acidity: This wine complements dishes with moderate or high-fat content; try it with fatty fish such as salmon.
- Delicate aromas of red berries: Match it with foods that have equally delicate aromas; a heavy dish might overpower this young and light wine.
Beaujolais's fruity essence pairs wonderfully with sweet and savory flavors, particularly complementing white meats such as chicken and turkey. Recognized as the ideal Thanksgiving wine, Beaujolais Nouveau's release just days before the holiday isn't the only reason. Its delicate berry aromas harmonize seamlessly with various dishes on the Thanksgiving table. For optimal enjoyment, serve a bottle of Beaujolais slightly chilled at 12-15°C / 37-59°F.
Bormioli Rocco InAlto Uno red wine glass is ideal for this light and fruity red wine. It effectively gathers the delicate aromas of light red wines and facilitates proper swirling, directing the aromas upward for a fuller sensory experience.
Furthermore, the design of the glass directs the wine to the tip of your tongue, enhancing the reception of flavors and ensuring a more nuanced tasting experience.