Updated: Nov 21, 2022
This year, the Beaujolais Nouveau will be released this Thursday, November 17, 2022 with great celebration and anticipation!! Like other Beaujolais wines, this wine is made from 100% Gamay grapes. It is a light and fruity wine that is easy to drink and easy on the pocketbook. However, unlike the Beaujolais and Beaujolais-Villages vintages, the Beaujolais Nouveau undergoes fermentation and bottling in a shorter time span. It is a preview to the quality of the regular Beaujolais that will be produced next spring. Back in 1990, as a student at the University of Stendhal in Grenoble, France, my host family introduced me to Le Beaujolais Nouveau!
"Le Beaujolais Nouveau est arrivé!!" my host mother exclaimed one early morning. Finishing the last of my breakfast, I stared in confusion at this woman's rare exuberance. She proceeded to explain that we must make plans to "faire la fête" in honor of this unknown guest! Without knowing who we were celebrating, I began inviting friends and acquaintances to the party. It wasn't until one of my French friends informed me that I wasn't planning a party for a person, but rather for a type of wine! Yes, we would be celebrating the release of that year's vintage from the Beaujolais region of France, a small region to the northwest of Grenoble. My friend continued to explain that historically, this young wine was a way to celebrate the end of the harvest season and its first wine. This particular wine is meant to be drunk soon after its release and from everything I've read, and experienced, very few bottles can last more than six months. Since the 1970's, yearly celebrations have erupted around France on the third Thursday of November. Armed with this new information, I now understood why my host mother was so excited.
The day of the party arrived, as did the several crates of Beaujolais Nouveau. As an American university student, I had seen my share of parties, however, to this day, this particular celebration still holds a special place in mon coeur (my heart). We weren't just drinking wine, we were drinking to tradition, to a farmer's hard work, to the miracle in alchemy that is wine, and to the future quality of Beaujolais vintages. Our family's party was reflected across the country that weekend -- in some places the celebration lasted for more than just an evening: some villages in the Beaujolais region actually host week-long celebrations of their newest wine.
If this sounds like fun to you, it's not too late to start planning your own "fête"! This year, Beaujolais Nouveau will be celebrated on Thursday, November 17 in restaurants and retailers all over France, and here in the states. You should able to purchase this year's vintage from your own fine local wine retailers like The Cork & More in beautiful South Lake Tahoe, CA. Oh, and make sure to consume this lovely, fruity, and light-bodied wine from the Beaujolais region CHILLED!