Art & Culture

Published on November 13th, 2014 | by Anne-Fleur Andrle Stephan

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Why do we celebrate the Beaujolais Nouveau ?

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Beaujolais Nouveau Georges Duboeuf. Photo by Le Parisien.

Every year it’s the same: the third Thursday of November in all wine shops, pubs, and neighborhood bars, it’s the same excitement. Yes, it is the day of Beaujolais Nouveau! Every year we play connoisseur. What taste does it have this year? Fruity some would say, others a pronouced banana taste. Ladies and Gentlemen! Beaujolais Nouveau is in a few days! And it can be found in the United States! But why such a celebration? Why so much mystery? Why one over another? These are the questions we will try to answer today.

First, what is this famous Beaujolais Nouveau? It is also known as “Beaujolais Primeur.” A “Primeur” wine (or new, young, or of the year) is a wine that is sold almost immediately after harvest (usually two months, until the fermentation takes place). Economically, producing primeur wines is a good business! Its relatively short production allows growers to avoid storage costs. Most of the time it is obtained by the technique of carbonic maceration, using a harvest of whole bunches of grapes lasting a maximum of three days. This maceration gives the Beaujolais Nouveau a transparency infused with bright colors and floral scents of red fruit, tickling the nostrils of the amateur.

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Gamay grape. Photo by vinepair.com.

From a single grape variety, Gamay Noir à Jus Blanc (French grape vat), Beaujolais Nouveau is fruity, light with tannin (natural phenolic substances that cause precipitation of proteins to the bottom of the glass) and enjoyed at an ideal temperature of 12 degrees Celsius (54 degrees Fahrenheit). What, no one has ever told you? Never put the Beaujolais Nouveau in the fridge!

Beaujolais Nouveau dates…
Before 1951, it was forbidden to sell AOC (Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée) before December 15. As from 1951, a regulatory decision puts an end to this and authorizes primeur wines to be placed on the market. Until 1967, the date of sale of Beaujolais Nouveau changed every year. To harmonize production among winemakers, it was decided that this date would be set at November 15. It was not until 1985 that the 3rd Thursday of November at midnight – local time, was definitely chosen as the date and time of sale.

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Le Beaujolais Nouveau in France and abroad. Photo by francebleu.fr.

The first launch party Beaujolais Nouveau does not take place in France, but in the land of the Rising Sun, Japan! It is due to time zone ! And they are particularly eager for the product. In 2012, 8.8 million bottles were sold, making it the primary export market. The only rule in this region is the third Thursday of November, at midnight local time…

Beaujolais Nouveau is also an opportunity for us all to pretend we know time a little about on wine Where does the banana flavor come from ? Candy ? The taste is actually directly related to selected yeasts, and the current trend is toward less simplistic flavors as Laure-Anne Théréné, head of e-commerce sales Lair Bacchus, explains below.

Meet Anne-Laure Théréné, Head of e-commerce sales for the chain of Parisian cellars “Le Repaire de Bacchus”, Paris.
Our parents’ generation continues to wait for the Beaujolais Nouveau. It is the party they like, often more than the wine itself. The 18-30 years old have somewhat neglected this tradition but gradually return. The festive and delicious atmosphere is incomparable.”
« The taste of the Beaujolais Nouveau is much less » banana than before. Winemakers are making real efforts to bring out the fruit and earth of this particular wine, and less of the candy. We will make five different ones this year, including a non-filtered (more natural and “earthy”), and a sulfur-free (an organic and natural current trend). “

How about you? Will you enjoy it? Where? When? How ? Tell us what you thought by commenting on this article!

References:
• “History of Beaujolais Nouveau – All Matters of Wine Words and Their Definitions on the Hachette Wine dictionary” – http://www.hachette-vins.com/actualites-vin/dossiers/l-histoire-du- beaujolais nouveau-2-21.html
• 20 minutes from 15/11/2012 – ‘Beaujolais” New ”: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know, http://www.20minutes.fr/societe/1043498-20121115-beaujolais-nouveau-tout- always-wanted-know
• Wikipedia

 


About the Author

Coming from the "Far west" of France, Anne-Fleur grew up in Finistere (Brittany). Currently working in the hightech industry, she represents a French company specialized in smartglasses apps in the US. Engineer by training and based in Boston, she loves to get back to her Briton roots a couple of times a year. After graduating from the Université de Technologie de Compiegne, in France , she decided to pursue her studies in biomedical sciences at the graduate school of the State University of New York (SUNY) in Buffalo, NY. Driven by sciences and her desire to learn, Anne-Fleur hosted a radio show, "les échos de l'innovation" (literally innovation echoes) for a couple of years, offering debates and interviews, aiming to dissect misconceptions in science and technologies for the layman. Always thirsty for discovery, she loves traveling, initiating new projects and exploring the ocean, on a sailing boat or with her snorkel.



One Response to Why do we celebrate the Beaujolais Nouveau ?

  1. Thanks ! I will look out for the Beaujolais Nouveau in the shops – I always love its decoration on the bottles and the labels. And of course the wine !

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