Beaujolais Nouveau Day is marked in France on the third Thursday every November with fireworks, music, festivals and reviews.
At Wivenhoe House we’ll be delivering our own verdict on this year’s vintage which, according to Bertrand Chatelet, director of the Beaujolais trade body, “will go down in history.”
Under French law, the wine is released at 12.01 am, just six to eight weeks after the wine’s grapes have been harvested. Wine snobs may turn up their noses at drinking a young red wine, but Beaujolais Nouveau has been created to be enjoyed by the following May after its release.
Its taste is often described as light, fruity, strawberry and banana. The banana perfume comes from the yeast used to make the wine and because of the sugars added to boost the alcohol levels.
Lionel Lachasseigne, our Food & Beverage Manager and Sommelier, is looking forward to opening a bottle on Thursday. He said: “The extreme heat and lack of rain this summer should mean this is a fantastic year for wine. The more difficult the growing conditions, the better it is for the wine.
“Beaujolais Nouveau is a light fruity wine to be enjoyed with friends. Because it is so versatile it and goes very well with a range of dishes so it is an easy choice.”
Beaujolais Nouveau may break some of the rules, but there are still firm restrictions on its origins. It has to be made with Gamay grapes and grown in the small Beaujolais area, just 34 miles long and seven to nine miles wide, to the north of Lyon. It must be harvested by hand and the local authority sets the date for the harvest each year, depending on when the grapes are ready.
Alongside Beaujolais Nouveau this part of Burgundy area is home to some of the finest, and priciest wines produced in France, including Fleurie and Cote de Brouilly. So will this year’s Beaujolais Nouveau be a worthy (much) younger sister to its elegant siblings? We will have to wait to see!
On the day our brasserie will be serving a special plat du jour of Tuna Steak & Nicoise Salad and Coq au Vin.