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November 17 is Beaujolais Nouveau Day

C'est arrive!
by Melissa Auman Greiner on Nov 10, 2011 in Wine
November 17 is Beaujolais Nouveau Day

Most of us don’t need a reason to indulge in a glass (or two) or wine. But each year, on the third Thursday of November, there’s a built-in excuse to pop a cork. Find yourself a bottle and celebrate Beaujolais Nouveau Day.

Of course, the bottle in question should probably be Beaujolais Nouveau, and it won’t be hard to find. Beaujolais Nouveau Day marks the international public release of the year’s vintage, and the wine is introduced on this same date all around the world. If you step into your neighborhood wine shop, you’ll be sure to see a display letting you know the wine “est arrive!”. But make your purchases quickly – the wine is only at its peak for a few months, so it won’t remain on shelves or age well. By Valentine’s Day, you’ll want to have eliminated your stash.

The fanfare that surrounds this wine is a tribute to its unique qualities. While most wines are created from individual grapes that are picked, pressed and then aged, Beaujolais Nouveau is prepared in the carbonic maceration method. Each September, whole clusters of gamay grapes are taken by hand from the vines, pressed and fermented, and then bottled up and shipped within two months.

The result of this method – in addition to the short shelf life – is a more earthy background and much fruitier and fresher palate than most vino. Compared to many red wines, full of rich flavors and drying tannins, this tastes like fruit punch. In a Zinfandel you might find chocolate notes, or taste tobacco in pinot noir, but in Beaujolais Nouveau, expect a hint of bubble gum.

It’s a wine with unique characteristics that most either love or loathe. But even haters can appreciate a celebration in honor of a beverage. 

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