Nouveau is the first French wine released from each new vintage. In
earlier years, Beaujolais Nouveau gave the first indication of the
quality of the new harvest to citizens of France
where a strong percentage of the population was directly or indirectly
involved in the wine business. Over the years, Beaujolais Nouveau
has been heavily marketed and promoted and has become a yearly event
in the world of wine.
Beaujolais Nouveau is released on the
third Thursday of November, By French law, it can be shipped from
France to distributors around the world prior to that date but the
importers and distributors must sign agreements not to deliver any
of the wine until 12:01 a.m. or later on the third Thursday. In the
United States and most of the world outside of Europe, the wine is
shipped via air-freight in order to reach the destinations by the
all-important release date. This means that a good part of what you
pay for a bottle of Beaujolais Nouveau is for the speed of shipment
of the bottle rather than the wine in the bottle. Prior to 1985, French
law did not allow the wine to leave France until the release date.
At that time, the release date was set at November 15th. Each year,
there was a race between importers to see who could get their wine
to the market first.
Beaujolais Nouveau is all about the event
and very little about the wine. The wine is light, very grapey and
at it's best, very pleasant. At it's worst, Beaujolais Nouveau can
be pretty bad. Beaujolais Nouveau is also best when consumed within
the first few weeks of release. While the wine does not 'go bad' after
the first few months, it loses whatever charm it may have had. This
wine is just not made to keep for any length of time. I would not
personally purchase or keep a bottle of Beaujolais Nouveau later than
the end of the year in which the grapes were harvested.
This wine is fun and can be a nice compliment
to a Thanksgiving meal. Since it is light in body and has almost no
tannins (being made from the Gamay
grape), it can be characterized as being a fuller flavored white wine.
It is a nice match with Turkey.
Do not take this wine too seriously but
do get a bottle from year to year just for the fun of it. The rest
of the time, buy a different wine and get more value for your money.