Beaujolais Nouveaux is a unique wine
True and False. It is unique in that it has its own particular characteristics. We talk of one single Beaujolais Nouveau whereas in fact there are several sorts of Beaujolais Nouveaux. The first thing you need to know is that 2 appellations produce these primeur wines: Beaujolais and Beaujolais Villages, which produce Beaujolais Nouveaux and Beaujolais-Villages Nouveaux, respectively. These young Beaujolais wines are grown and produced by over 2,000 winegrowers, therefore with so many different estates, it’s impossible to have two identical bottles!
Beaujolais Nouveaux are industrial wines
False. Beaujolais Nouveaux, along with all other Beaujolais wines are artisa wines. It is very difficult producing these wines: the date of the harvests varies from one year to the next and consequently, so does the date that they are ready, but the official release date always remains the same. The fact that all Beaujolais Nouveaux wines are released on the same day is what has led to the misconception that they are industrially produced wines.
The truth of the matter is that the work in the vineyard is mostly done by hand and the grapes are grown on relatively small estates: 10 hectares on average.
Beaujolais Nouveau wines all taste of banana
False. The preconception about the taste of banana is persistent! While it’s true that, in the past, some winemakers used a technique that gave this rather unusual flavor to the wine and made all the nouveaux wines taste the same, this is no longer the case today. Each winemaker uses his own skills and knowledge to make the young wines. So you can’t lay bets on what the next vintage will taste like because it will simply taste of wine! Hopefully that’s got that straight!
Beaujolais Nouveaux express the fruitiness of raisins like no other wine and are a great reflection of the terroir where they have grown in any particular year.
Beaujolais Nouveau are aperitif wines
True, but not only that. Fact: Beaujolais Nouveaux are mainly served as aperitif wines,especially when they are the star of the show in French bars and pubs on the 3rd Thursday in November and the following days.
But if you are thinking of organizing a Beaujolais Nouveaux party, bear in mind that they go just as well with a pizza as with rabbit, lamb and steak.
Beaujolais Nouveaux have upstaged the other Beaujolais appellations
Partly true. There are 12 Beaujolais appellations, all AOC. But what gets the most press coverage is Beaujolais Nouveaux. Nevertheless, other Beaujolais wines like Morgon, Brouilly and Moulin-à-Vent have acquired an excellent reputation in France and abroad!
Beaujolais Nouveaux are primeur wines made in the Beaujolais and Beaujolais-Villages appellation-producing areas. They are bottled after 3 to 5 days in vats while non-primeur Beaujolais wines benefit from a complete vinification process which takes more time.
So, how and why did the whole idea of “nouveau wine” come about? Well, according to a 1951 decree, AOC wines cannot be sold until 15th December. But the decree does make some exceptions...which include the “Nouveau” wine appellation, and mean that some Beaujolais wines can be sold earlier. As for why the 3rd Thursday in November was chosen to launch the wine, that wasn’t just a matter of chance either. It’s a date that doesn’t clash with the Remembrance Day commemorations on the 11th November or the start of the busy Christmas period.
Beaujolais Nouveaux must be drunk immediately
False. No, Beaujolais Nouveaux wines don’t become undrinkable after 3 or 4 days or even after 3 or 4 months! Don’t give yourself a headache by forcing yourself to finish your bottles within a week, because you’re worried that they can’t be kept. That said, drinking Beaujolais Nouveau as soon as it comes out is all part of the excitement of this annual celebration. And Beaujolais Nouveaux wines drunk in November express their full intensity!
But be aware that a Beaujolais Nouveau can easily be kept for between 8 and 12 months in a dry place, protected from the light and heat, like any other wine. So you can store your bottles and bring them out for other meals to surprise your guests. for example served lightly chilled at a spring barbecue.
So now you know, you’ve got all the information you need to impress your friends when you open your next bottle of Beaujolais Nouveau!