Thursday, November 17, 2011

It's Beaujolais Nouveau Day!

Once a year on the third Thursday in November Beaujolais Nouveau is released.  It's the first wine of the years vintage.  Beaujolais is made from Gamay Noir grapes that grow extremely well in the granite soils of the Beaujolais region of France.  Beaujolais wines are intended for early consumption, so don't age them.

The Beaujolais Nouveau will typically exhibit bright red fruit aromas and flavors that are a result of carbonic maceration which is whole berry fermentation.  This produces exceptionally fruity, low tannin wines with a vivid purply-ruby color that can be ready to drink right after fermentation is complete.  These wines are then bottled and released the third Thursday in November.  (They go great with your Thanksgiving turkey)

Here are some facts on Beaujolais

  • Beaujolais Nouveau is always released the third Thursday of November, regardless of when harvest began.
  • The Beaujolais region in France is 34 miles long and 7 miles wide.  There are close to 4,000 grape growers who make a living in this region.
  • All the grapes in the region must be picked by hand.
  • Gamay is the only grape permitted for Beaujolais.  Gamay from other regions of the world will taste quite different due to their growing conditions and soils.
  • Beaujolais Nouveau cannot be made from the grapes grown in the 10 crus of Beaujolais.  Nouveau can only come from the appellations of Beaujolais and Beaujolais-Villages.
  • Approximately 1/3 of the crop in the Beaujolais region is sold as Beaujolais Nouveau.
  • Serve Beaujolais Nouveau sightly cooled at about 55 degrees.  The wine is more refreshing and the fruit more expressive if served this way rather than room temperature.
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