WINE 101: All about Beaujolais Nouveau

Every year the wine world waits for one of the best wine holidays of the year. Thursday, November 17 is the excitedly awaited Beaujolais Nouveau Day.

What is it?

Beaujolais Nouveau is a wine made with 100% Gamay grapes harvested in the Beaujolais region of France. Beaujolais is a sub-region of Burgundy, with such distinctive wines that it is often seen as a separate entity from Burgundy.

Beaujolais Nouveau is the very first wine of the vintage year that is released. Because the French wine harvest is in September, the wine has only a couple months to ferment before it is bottled. Because the wine is so young, it doesn’t have a chance to develop heavy tannins and it is not oak aged, so it is very fruit forward. It is described as having a tart, fruity flavor of fig, pear and cranberry.

The flavors and quality of Beaujolais Nouveau vary from year to year and from vineyard to vineyard, so it is often a good indicator of the quality of the year’s vintage. One of the most famous producers of Beaujolais Nouveau is Georges DuBoeuf.

Georges DuBeouf

The Georges DuBeouf Beaujolais Nouveau is well known for its colorful, artistic labels, often designed by famous artists. The Beaujolais Nouveau wines are made to be enjoyed immediately and not cellared or aged. The rule of thumb is that you should drink your Beaujolais Nouveau by Easter. Higher quality, more tannic Beaujolais wines that are best for aging are typically not released until at least the year following their harvest.

As a happy coincidence, Beaujolais Nouveau wine, because of its cranberry and tart red fruit flavors, goes well with turkey. It is fairly inexpensive at around $12 per bottle, which makes it the perfect wine to take with you to Thanksgiving dinner.

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