Happy Beaujolais Nouveau Day!
Yay! Its Beaujolais Nouveau Day, and you know what that means? It means an extra excuse to drink wine. So, here is an introduction into the grape variety Gamay and this fun and fruity day.
The grape and the region
Gamay is the red grape variety of Beaujolais. Beaujolais is found just south of Burgundy in France and is technically part of the Burgundy Region. If you are looking for the most serious, age worthy wines of this region, look for the 10 “crus” of Beaujolais which are in the northern part. They are the villages that have the best terroir (granite soils and rolling hills) and therefore produce the best wines. Look out for the names such as Fleurie, Brouilly and Morgon. However, as these wines tend to have much more concentration and complexity, they are not allowed to produce any Beaujolais Nouveau. Slightly more affordable than the structured “Cru” wines are the Beaujolais-Villages which surround the famous 10 villages and are generally much better than just straight Beaujolais. Both can release the Nouveau style.
Want to know what the Gamay Grape tastes like?
Expect red cherry flavours alongside cranberries and raspberries. The wine is normally floral with violets, and sometimes a hint of fresh soil. The wine is high in acidity, with low tannins and a light body.
So, what is Beaujolais Nouveau?
Beaujolais Nouveau day happens on the Third Thursday in November every year. This is basically #thirstythursday but on steroids! The wine is literally released at 12.01am on the Thursday – and if we were lucky enough to be in France, we would be able to celebrate with a bucket full of wine and a crazy amount of fireworks. This wine is the first wine to be released in France – just a few weeks after the grapes have actually been harvested.
Georges Duboeuf is a great producer to try and always gets involved in the ‘Nouveau fun’.
Things to know about this wine:
1. It is not a premium wine and should therefore be drunk young. Drink it TODAY, and don’t even think to cellar it.
2. It will taste like red cherries, bubblegum, kirsch, banana and cinnamon: fun and fruity!
3. Chill it down. Yes, that’s right. It is free of oak and very little tannins, so it is perfect served a little colder than other reds.
4. The reason Beaujolais Nouveau (and often other Beaujolais in general) are so fruity and soft is due to the fermentation process called CARBONIC MACERATION. For all you wine geeks out there, this is where the berries are left as a whole bunch inside a tank without any oxygen and so therefore this forces the grapes to ferment inside the berries creating an “INTRACELLULAR FERMENTATION”. The result is a wine that is softer and fruiter than normally fermented grapes.
5. Beaujolais Nouveau day used to have a race all over the globe, where all different countries where trying to get their hands on these wines and get them back to their countries to sell. However, times have changed. Boring! We are now able to get the wines shipped in advance – but you still must wait till 12.01am on the Third Thursday in November to be able to purchase them.
6. A perfect pairing is a Thanksgiving or Christmas day lunch – perfect with turkey and all those piggy’s in a blanket… YUM!
Still hungry for few more food pairings:
Try a Beaujolais with Brie and Cranberry Sauce or a Chicken Tagine with prunes and apricots.
Pair a Beaujolais Village with Roasted Pork and Raspberry Sauce or a juicy Tuna Steak.
Beaujolais Crus being richer and fuller bodied would go well with a Steak Tartar or Toulouse Sausage Casserole.