As if it were Halloween, I spent last night “trick or treating” in a sense. Instead of candy, however, I received sips of newly-released Beaujolais wines. My trail began on rue Cler, and from there I took the Metro into the 3rd arrondisement of La Marais, and back again to rue Cler in the 7th, where wine shops welcomed passersby to come in and taste the 2014 grapes harvested in France. Fortunately, 2014 has proved to be a great vintage, especially when you factor in the warm September in the vineyards.
In the most southern wine growing region in Burgundy, France, there’s an outlier region called Beaujolais, where the wine is quite different in regard to production and climate. In fact, Beaujolais is referred to as its own appellation that produces light, dry gamay grapes, which are a cross between a pinot noir and the ancient white gouais grape.
What most people know Beaujolais for is its one-third production of Beaujolais Nouveau, revealed recently in Paris, France, and in the U.S. by next week. About 35 million bottles of this Beaujolais Nouveau are shipped worldwide and within two months of harvest, thanks to carbonic maceration – the Nouveau style of production. The catch to buying a bottle is:
1) It should be consumed immediately — within a month, preferably
2) It will not have a high tannin structure or acidity, but will be fruity in both aroma and taste – tart cranberry overtones makes it a perfect pairing for Thanksgiving coffee-table talk.
Also, you should know that Beaujolais-Villages is not the same thing as Nouveau, but it is made from the remaining production to produce a darker, richer and more full-bodied wine – and can be stored longer than Nouveau.
Beaujolais Nouveau pairs well with Thanksgiving dinner – turkey and cranberry sauce, or even salmon, trout, pork chops or charcuterie. Just remember, it’s a new wine, so it’s pretty fruity and straightforward grape.
Get a few bottles while you can, and enjoy! Click here for an interesting take on Japan’s welcoming of the new harvest, and here to get a bit of Beaujolais Nouveau’s history in marketing and the person most responsible for putting Beajolais Nouveau Day on the calendar.