Every year at precisely midnight on the 3rd Thursday of November – France literally erupts with sheer joy and explodes into spontaneous revelry at the uncorking of the season’s legendary wine. In 2012, the 20th Beaujolais Nouveau Festival is eagerly awaited by wine connoisseurs and critics alike.
According to strict French Law, the government has forbidden the young wine to be released any earlier than the 3rd week of November, and French heritage insists that none of it shall be left over by Christmas. A hard task master you may think, old French heritage, but in reality by the time it is all over, the entire harvest has been produced, distributed and drunk – every last drop of the 65 million bottles of it that are released.
Beaujolais Nouveau comes from the famous wine region in France known as Bourgogne or Burgundy, and it is one of the youngest, light and fruity wines – being consumed at only 6 weeks old. It is the focus of much pomp and circumstance every year. Considered to be an iconic nationwide event, the festival is a grand tradition, with celebrations taking place all over the country. Anywhere that you go in France, you will be greeted with festive revelers enjoying their slice of the three day non-stop party. But the biggest parties have to be in the sleepy little city of Beaujeu – the capital of Beaujolais, and if you are traveling through France on your tour of Europe, this is one place you absolutely have to make sure is on your itinerary at festival time.
Because of the unique way it is made, Beaujolais Nouveau actually has all of the attributes of a crisp easy drinking white wine, and fewer characteristics of a rich full bodied red. In order to get its light bodied flavors, the grapes must be pressed after only 3 days, preventing any of the heavy acidic tannins found in red wine, from being present in the finished product. This makes it a great easy drinking wine, best enjoyed chilled and in abundance.
What is now known around the world as a race from grape to glass, the Beaujolais Nouveau’s popularity has no signs of waning, with thousands of eager palates from around the world falling all over each other trying to be the ones to serve the new arrival, straight from the vineyard first. So if you are planning a trip to France in November, make sure you take some time to plan the perfect place to be on November 15th.