As any estate agent can tell you, adding the word ‘village’ to a name increases its value. This is also true in the world of wine, where a beaujolais villages commands a higher price than the standard variety. Today, though, is the day of the wine’s lesser cousin, beaujolais nouveau.
The third Thursday of November marks the arrival of beaujolais nouveau each year. At the stroke of midnight, producers unleash millions of cases of the new wine on an eager public.
Much excitement surrounds this wine each year. Whether the wine itself is worth such attention is open to debate. Made from the gamay grape, this new yield has been produced in sealed tanks with carbon dioxide – carbonic maceration, in the jargon – to produce a wine that is heavy on the fruit and light on the tannins.
That means that what you get is an easy-drinking wine that is perfect in the cafés of Paris and beyond. It is made for guzzling, not for sipping.
“In Beaujeu, locals gather overnight to open up barrels and try the new yield in the small hours”
Marketing has made us all familiar with the term ‘Le beaujolais nouveau est arrivé’, which is taken from the title of a novel by René Fallet, from 1975.
In Beaujeu, the capital of the beaujolais wine-producing area, the phrase is certainly true. Locals gather overnight to open up barrels and try the new yield in the small hours.
The wine is best served lightly chilled, so the November night air will provide the perfect environment in which to sample it.