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Beaujolais Nouveau

At one past midnight on the third Thursday of each November, over a million cases of Beaujolais Nouveau begin their journey through a sleeping France for immediate shipment to all parts of the world. One of the most frivolous and animated rituals in the wine world has begun. Le Beaujolais Nouveau est arrivé!

More than 65 million bottles, nearly half of the region's total annual production, will be distributed and drunk around the world. It is amazing that just weeks before this wine was a cluster of grapes in a growers vineyard. But by an expeditious harvest, a rapid fermentation, and a speedy bottling, all is ready at midnight. By French law, it is to be released no earlier than the third Thursday of November.

Ten Fascinating Facts About Beaujolais Nouveau
From www.intowine.com

1. Beaujolais [BOE-zjoh-lay] Nouveau is always released the third Thursday of November, regardless of the start of the harvest.

2. The region of Beaujolais is 34 miles long (north to south) and 7 to 9 miles wide. There are nearly 4,000 grape growers who make their living in this picturesque region just north of France's third largest city, Lyon.

3. All the grapes in the Beaujolais region must be picked by hand. These are the only vineyards, along with Champagne, where hand harvesting is mandatory.

4. Gamay (Gamay noir Jus Blanc) is the only grape permitted for Beaujolais. While certain California wineries may label their wine "Gamay Beaujolais" this is not the same grape variety as what is grown in France, and is quite different in taste and growing habits.

5. Beaujolais Nouveau cannot be made from grapes grown in the 10 crus (great growths) of Beaujolais-only from grapes coming from the appellations of Beaujolais and Beaujolais-Villages.

6. Beaujolais Nouveau owes its easy drinkability to a winemaking process called carbonic maceration, also called whole berry fermentation. This technique preserves the fresh, fruity quality of the wine, without extracting bitter tannins from the grape skins.

7. Beaujolais Nouveau is meant to be drunk young-in average vintages it should be consumed by the following May after its release. However, in excellent vintages (such as 2000) the wine can live much longer and can be enjoyed until the next harvest rolls around.

8. Serve Beaujolais Nouveau slightly cool, at about 55 degrees Fahrenheit - the wine is more refreshing and its forward fruit more apparent than if you serve it at room temperature.

9. Approximately 1/3 of the entire crop of the Beaujolais region is sold as Beaujolais Nouveau.

10. The Beaujolais region is known for fabulous food and restaurants with plenty of Beaujolais on their wine lists. This quintessential food wine goes well with either haute cuisine or Tuesday night's meat loaf.

 

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