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  • Writer's pictureParisian Niche

Hooray - Le Beaujolais Nouveau Est Arrivé!



Are you looking for the perfect French host or hostess gift to take to your Thanksgiving or Friendsgiving feast? Boy, does P'Niche have good news for you - Le Beaujolais Nouveau est arrivé - Today is the day - The 2022 Beaujolais Nouveau wine is here!


Celebrated annually on the third Thursday of November, the special French wine is up for sale (exactly at 12:01am, by law).


Parties and festivals are held to joyfully mark this occasion each year, with music, food, and fireworks - sounds perfect to moi! But, how did we get here to all this joy and merriment? So glad you asked!


Let's start at the very beginning (a very good place to start)...


The Beaujolais (UNESCO recognized since 2018) region of France (just south of Burgundy) is home to rich and lush vineyards, (whose soil is enriched with granite, schist, clay and sandstone), making it the perfect place to push forth some of the most decadent grapes imaginable.


Beaujolais Nouveau wine is made from the red Gamay grape, specific to this region. Naturally, other wines and blends are created from the Gamay grape, but none so popular of the Nouveau - which, gulp for gulp, equals 50% of total wine sales for this region (with over 35 million bottles produced and shipped to over 100 different countries). Let's drink to that!


What sets Beaujolais Nouveau wine apart from her other Red Red Wine (I had to do it) sisters is the speed in which her juice is made, bottled, sold, and ultimately - consumed.


As a general rule of thumb, a red wine will take at least a year before hitting the market shelves.


Beaujolais Nouveau moves at warp speed.


The grapes for Beaujolais Nouveau are harvested less than 2 months before the official release of the wine.


Wow - that sounds fast, how is that possible?


Again, P'Niche is glad you asked! Get your "science caps" on...



This wine is produced as quickly as it is by using a formulaic process called, "carbonic maceration."


See, P'Niche told you there would be science involved!


Most wines are made by harvesting grapes, stemming and crushing those grapes, placing that grape juice in steel fermentation tanks, before aging it in the winemaker’s preferred aging barrel (oak, concrete, amphora, etc.).


However, with the carbonic maceration, process, we skip the stemming and crushing all together. Rather, we add full bunches of grapes into steel fermentation tanks, which are then sealed. Now, the tanks get filled with carbon dioxide, creating an anaerobic atmosphere without any oxygen at all.


Without oxygen, the fermentation process (where yeast "ingests" sugar and produces alcohol) begins inside each individual grape. After a time, the grapes are crushed under the weight of the alcohol they have produced.


We've now arrived at our low tannin, brightly acidic and fruit forward wine - meant to be consumed at the earliest.


After all that science, we definitely deserve a drink!


Ok, but how did such a "run of the mill" wine get to such nationwide popularity? Pour yourself another glass, here we go!


image: bbc.com

Let me introduce you to the man of the hour, Monsieur Georges Duboeuf. Born into a farming family who also tended to several chardonnay vineyards, his lifelong passion eventually had him called le roi du Beaujolais or le pape du Beaujolais (the king or pope of Beaujolais). He must have done something right!



image: washingtonpost.com

While bike riding near Lyon, Duboeuf first began selling wines to regional chefs and restaurateurs, And get this, he rode the French countryside carrying those wine bottles in his saddlebag!

He started to notice that the early release wines began to appear at the local cafés and bistros in Lyon. Soon, Parisians caught onto this early release wine trend - and wanted more - quickly!



On top of being an expert wine maker, Duboeuf had a very clever marketing intellect.


During the 1960s, Georges Duboeuf, along with several other vineyard owners, imagined that a great way to promote their fast-to-market wines was to create a contest to see who could get the first bottle of Beaujolais Nouveau to Paris. And the race was on!


Sadly, we lost Duboeuf in January 2020, and upon his passing, Dominique Piron, President of the wine organization Inter Beaujolais, noted, “through his vision and his work, he gave life, color, aromas and joy to the wines of Beaujolais. He was the catalyst of the Beaujolais region at the beginning, and then later its tireless ambassador.”


The Beaujolais craze seemed to be going well for decades, but then in 2001, the French government demanded that winemakers dump over a million cases (NOOOOOO!) because the wine was rendered worthless. The gamey grape and its wines were considered as passé.


P'Niche repeats: NOOOOOOO!



Thankfully, as we move deeper into the 2000s, Beaujolais Nouveau has picked back up on its appeal to the masses who, quite frankly, deserve a way to celebrate the end of the harvest and to get some delicious wine into their glasses - and we mean with tout-de-suite like timing!


These days, festivals are still held in the Beaujolais region and should you find yourself in that area of France, you might enjoy a day at the vineyards! Lots of info can be found here on the Visit French Wine site. Party responsibly, P'Nicher!


If you're lucky enough to get your hands on a bottle (really, like 4 bottles, if we're being honest), you might be wondering the best way to store and serve your fruit forward wine...


Like Cendrillon (that's Cinderella to you and me), all good parties must come to an end at a certain time...


Your Beaujolais Nouveau should be consumed within 6 months. If you have the willpower to not open your bottle right away, the winter holidays: New Year's, Valentine's Day, etc. would be a prime time indulge in your fruit-tacular Beaujolais. If you wait any longer than that, you risk the wine turning flat and rendering it nearly undrinkable.


Thinking of hosting a great apéro get together for friends and family this winter? A bottle of Beaujolais Nouveau would be a great offering, and certainly a fun conversation starter for the crowd.



Unlike other red wines, you will wish to serve your Beaujolais Nouveau with a slight chill.


It pairs well with lighter foods like salads and sushi, as well as any Thanksgiving feast.


P'Niche's favorite way to serve each year's Beaujolais Nouveau is with friends surrounding a massive charcuterie board or even a grazing table. With such a fruit forward wine, I always serve lighter meats like aged prosciutto and salami, melon, strawberries, red currants, figs, nuts, cornichons (little pickles) and a variety of cheeses.


For my non drinking friends and guests, I always include a gorgeous red grape juice so that all are included in the festive fun!


image: english.kyodonews.net

We mentioned vinotherapy in our Paris Solo travel post a little bit ago... but Japan is really showing how it's done in style.


The Hakone Kowakien Yunessun spa resort in Hakone, Kanagawa, Japan hosts a special "sip and dip" event each year to commemorate the Beaujolais Nouveau release. Take P'Niche's money - we want to sip and dip, too!


image: amazon.com

Traveling home from France, and packing a bottle (or several) of Beaujolais Nouveau? Don't forget about these (non-sponsored) wine bottle guards.


Not heading to France, but want to celebrate with some Beaujolais Nouveau? Great news! You can purchase your bottle/s:






What do you think P'Nicher - have you ever had Beaujolais Nouveau - what did you think? Which year was your favorite vintage so far? Let us know in the comments below et à bientôt!


image: unravelingwine.com


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