On the third Thursday of November each year, at exactly midnight, Beaujolais Nouveau is welcomed into wine cellars and glasses across France and the rest of the world gets in on the Beaujolais bandwagon with nearly 54 million bottles being exported to over 110 countries.
This year’s release was particularly significant – after the events in Paris last weekend it was decided by the winemakers that in showing their condolences and solidarity to Paris they would proceed with the release and maintain a French tradition that has been celebrated for over 60 years.
Yesterday, 50 winemakers converged on Paris in iconic 2CV’s stopping at the Eiffel Tower, Sacre Coeur, The Louvre and Place de la Concorde with accordions, balloons and bottles of Beaujolais to share in a true show of French culture at its proudest.
The 38 Beaujolais villages situated between Lyon and Burgundy welcome the release with varied events including:
- Fête des Saveurs in Gleizé with music and a shared meal
- In Beaujeu, the Beaujolais region’s historic capital, 20,000 people flock to the town for light shows, music and tastings. This is followed by a local food and wine fair for the whole weekend.
- Fête du Beaujolais gourmand in Tarare, brings together the best of the region’s chefs to cook up a gastronomic menu, using the local specialities cooked… in wine!
French Riviera celebrations
Every supermarket will be selling Beaujolais if you fancy a soiree at home. Most bars and certainly all wine bars will also host tastings. If you missed the main release parties last night, here are a few places that are definitely stocked up with Beaujolais:
ANTIBES / JUAN LES PINS
La Noche – 10 rue Sade – 06600 Antibes
Latinos, 24 boulevard d’Aiguillon – 06600 Antibes
L’Enoteca – 6 rue Aubernon – 06600 Antibes
Vin des Stars, 18 rue du Docteur Dautheville, 06160 Juan les Pins
Le Bouche à Oreille, 7 rue des Gabres – 06400 Cannes
Le Comptoir a Vins, 13 boulevard de la République – 06400 Cannes
Joseph, 6 route de la Piscine, MC 98000
Les Epicuriens, 6 Place Wilson 06000 Nice
One grape variety only
Beaujolais is a light red wine made from just one grape variety Gamay Noir à Jus Blanc and there are optimum tasting temperatures depending on the appellation or cru:
Beaujolais Nouveau and Beaujolais-Villages Nouveau are best enjoyed at 12°C, the optimal temperature for a perfect tasting.
Beaujolais and Beaujolais-Villages should be served, after nouveau wines, at 13/14°C, a degree that pays tribute to the aromatic wealth of the Gamay grape.
The Beaujolais Crus are suited to serving at an average of 16°C, this may be lowered slightly, to around 15°C, for a one or two year old Cru, or conversely served slightly higher for a wine that is three to five years old (17°C is perfectly acceptable).
Food & Wine matching
You’ll see a lot of cheap Nouveau on the supermarket shelves and rightly so as it is intended for instant quaffing. Better value are the Villages, and best of all are the 10 Crus. Don’t worry too much if you buy a bad bottle – there’s always sangria to be made!
Beaujolais Nouveau = as an apéritif, or try with potato gratin, delicatessen meats, cold cut pork
Beaujolais-Villages Nouveau = try with andouillette and saveloy sausages
Beaujolais = try with barbeque food, vegetable terrine
Beaujolais-Villages = try with escargots, goat’s cheese, Bresse chicken
Beaujolais Crus = try with stews, lamb, grilled beef
The Beaujolais Wine Route is a wine tourism trail that details over 160 cellar doors. For more information, click this link http://www.beaujolaisvignoble.com/en/la-route-des-vins-du-beaujolais.html