Thursday, November 16, 2017

“Le Beaujolais nouveau est arrivé!”

The 2017 Beaujolais Nouveau was released for sale just after midnight last night.
For dinner tonight, we enjoyed drinking our bottle of the new vintage from Beaujolais, which we bought this morning at Whole Foods.  "Each year since 1951," I read in the Wine Spectator, "the third Thursday of November marks the release of France’s Beaujolais Nouveau, a light-bodied red made from the just-completed harvest in the Beaujolais region, just south of Burgundy. It is both a celebration and a first taste for consumers of the newest vintage." And it's an important driver of the success of the Beaujolais regional wines: around 1/3 of their production is sold as Beaujolais Nouveau (according to this article).

"In the past," I read in The Wine Enthusiast, "the wine couldn’t leave Beaujolais until release time, and lorries and cars would race dangerously across Europe to deliver the wine to thirsty consumers in time for breakfast. Now, the wine is distributed ahead of time—you just can’t buy it until the magic hour." In fact, the first Beaujolais Nouveau used to be air-shipped to the US, so only a few bottles would be available shortly after the magic moment. For a while, it was a huge deal -- though the enthusiasm isn't as great now, as the supply is ensured by allowing delivery before the release date, rather than holding it at the wineries. It's always been a nice wine to have for Thanksgiving: the fresh new taste is actually quite nice with turkey. At right: a bottle of Beaujolais Nouveau that we enjoyed in 2009.

This year, the vintners of the region have a lot to celebrate, as late frost, hail in July, and drought conditions resulted in difficult growing conditions and a low-yield harvest. The wine, however, seems to have turned out quite nice.

In the more distant past, many wine-making regions celebrated the first taste of new wine each year, but it was more informal and much more local. Somehow, the first tasting of the year's wines from Beaujolais became more of a ritual, and the newly bottled wine would show up in restaurants and wine bars in Paris, and when it became such a thing in France, the custom migrated to the US. In November of the year we spent in France, we were impressed when signs appeared in all the wine shops in our neighborhood reading: “Le Beaujolais nouveau est arrivé!”

To go with our wine we had some simple spaghetti with a few mushrooms,
garlic, shallots, tomato sauce, cheese, and a splash of the wine.


SeattleDee said...

What a perfect excuse to imbibe - as though we need an excuse. The label alone is reason enough to try a bottle.

A local alternative newspaper pictured a cask of Georges DuBoeuf today, noting " Amid the sodden misery of November in Seattle, there is always one bright spot: Beaujolais Nouveau Day... Why do you give a shit about some obscure French wine? Well, because Beaujolais Nouveau is such a magical, overabundantly fruity wine that it can help you forget..."

Tina said...

They have a big event at World Market when the Beaujolais Nouveaus are released. We went one year, it as fun. I like your meal pairing.

Judee Algazi said...

I'm always up for a good bottle of red wine. Interesting read about the history of the wine release and your history of purchasing it! It sounds perfect with your delicious spaghetti dish as well.

My Cozy Book Nook said...

I LOVE Beaujolais Nouveau - in fact, we begin the countdown to its release on November 1st. We try to do a wine comparison, tasting both Beaujolais Nouveau and Beaujolais Nouveau Villages. Once we decide if the latter is worth the extra $2.00 ... we buy a case to drink throughout the holiday season.

A votre sante!

Beth F said...

Fun! I was relieved to see that the Beaujolais festivities were unhampered by a questionable growing season.

Deb in Hawaii said...

I have gone to the Beaujolais release festivities a couple of times at local wine shops and have enjoyed it. Such fun and spirit around wine and it's usually delicious. Looks like your dinner pairing was perfect too. ;-)

Claudia said...

What fun! I'm going to see if I can procure a bottle for Thanksgiving here, way out in the middle of the Pacific. Wish me luck.

Esme said...

Never mind the beaujolais-that pasta looks delicious.

Carole said...

Interesting. Have a great week. Cheers from Carole's Chatter