Beaujolais Nouveau

Nov 3, 2023by Andrew Lowry

Beaujolais Nouveau is a unique and highly anticipated wine that is released on the third Thursday of November each year. This young and vibrant red wine is made from Gamay grapes and is known for its fruity flavors and light body. In this blog post, we will delve into the history of Beaujolais Nouveau, explore some famous producers, and discuss the winemaking techniques that make this wine so special.

History of Beaujolais Nouveau

The history of Beaujolais Nouveau dates back to the early 20th century when the winemakers in the Beaujolais region of France started to produce wine that could be enjoyed immediately after fermentation. The tradition of releasing the wine on the third Thursday of November began in the 1950s as a way to celebrate the end of the harvest season.

Beaujolais Nouveau quickly gained popularity, both in France and internationally, due to its fresh and fruity character. The wine became a symbol of celebration and the start of the holiday season. Today, the release of Beaujolais Nouveau is a highly anticipated event, with wine lovers around the world eagerly awaiting its arrival.

But does everyone love this wine???

No! Especially not in the past, but it is making a round turn. We name a few of the reasons below, but essentially, winemakers started to alter their wines way too much, just to get it out on the third Thursday of November. We are talking about the addition of countless chemicals, chaptalization, watering down, and more. Luckily, winemakers are now starting to make clean Nouveau again, and they are starting to make this wine all around the world with all types of fun grapes! Here are a few reasons why Nouveau WAS hated.

1. Lack of Complexity

One of the main reasons why Beaujolais Nouveau receives criticism is its lack of complexity. Unlike aged wines that have had time to develop intricate flavors and aromas, Beaujolais Nouveau is meant to be consumed within a few months of its release. As a result, it often lacks the depth and complexity that wine connoisseurs seek.

2. Overemphasis on Fruitiness

Beaujolais Nouveau is known for its fruity character, with flavors of cherry, raspberry, and banana being prominent. While some people enjoy this fruit-forward style, others find it too overpowering. Critics argue that the emphasis on fruitiness masks the true expression of the grape and the terroir, leading to a one-dimensional wine.

3. Inconsistent Quality

Another reason for the disdain towards Beaujolais Nouveau is the inconsistent quality from year to year. Due to the quick fermentation process and rush to market, some vintages may lack the balance and finesse that wine enthusiasts expect. This inconsistency has led to a perception that Beaujolais Nouveau is an inferior wine compared to other offerings from the region.

4. Marketing Hype

Beaujolais Nouveau has been heavily marketed as a celebration of the new harvest, with events and parties held around the world to mark its release. Critics argue that this marketing hype has overshadowed the wine itself, leading to inflated expectations and disappointment when the wine fails to live up to the excitement surrounding it.

5. Negative Stereotypes

Over the years, Beaujolais Nouveau has been associated with negative stereotypes, such as being a cheap and low-quality wine. While this perception is not entirely accurate, it has contributed to the disdain towards the wine. Some wine enthusiasts dismiss Beaujolais Nouveau without giving it a fair chance based on these preconceived notions.

Famous Producers and Wines

Several renowned producers in the Beaujolais region are known for their exceptional Beaujolais Nouveau wines. Here are a few notable ones:

1. Georges Duboeuf: Georges Duboeuf is often referred to as the "King of Beaujolais" and is one of the most well-known producers of Beaujolais Nouveau. Their wines, such as the Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais Nouveau, are highly regarded for their fruity aromas and smooth finish.

2. Joseph Drouhin: Joseph Drouhin is a family-owned winery that has been producing wines in Burgundy and Beaujolais for over a century. Their Beaujolais Nouveau showcases the vibrant flavors of the Gamay grape, with notes of red berries and a hint of spice.

3. Louis Jadot: Louis Jadot is a prestigious winery with a long history of producing high-quality wines. Their Beaujolais Nouveau is known for its bright and lively character, with flavors of cherry and raspberry.

Winemaking Techniques

The winemaking techniques used to produce Beaujolais Nouveau contribute to its unique characteristics. One of the key techniques is carbonic maceration, which involves fermenting whole grapes in a carbon dioxide-rich environment. This process enhances the fruity flavors and reduces the tannins, resulting in a wine that is light and easy to drink.

After the carbonic maceration process, the wine is typically aged for a short period, usually a few weeks, before being bottled and released. This minimal aging allows the wine to retain its fresh and youthful qualities, making it the perfect choice for immediate consumption.

It's important to note that Beaujolais Nouveau is meant to be enjoyed young and is not intended for long-term cellaring. The wine is best served slightly chilled and pairs well with a variety of dishes, including charcuterie, roasted poultry, and mild cheeses.

Beaujolais Nouveau is a wine worth trying whether you're a fan of fruity and vibrant wines or simply looking to celebrate the start of the holiday season! Grab a few bottles and share with friends and family!