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Beaujolais Nouveau: A Quick Primer

Vineyard in St Helena

Vineyard in St HelenaOne of the most exciting times in the wine industry is when Beaujolais Nouveau is released every year.

If you aren’t familiar, Beaujolais Nouveau is made from Gamay grapes in the Beaujolais region of France and for every vintage, is the first wine released. The wine sits in bottle for only about 6-8 weeks or so after harvest, so it’s released incredibly early in comparison to well, every other wine made anywhere else in the world.

Always released on the 3rd Thursday of November, Beaujolais Nouveau is also one of the few wines in the world made consistently with Carbonic Maceration-a process that has fermentation happen in a carbon rich environment, instead of the oxygen rich environment in which we normally live.

With little tannins and plenty of fruit, it might be the antithesis of the average French wine, but for those interested in how each vintage is shaping up, there’s nothing quite like a first look like Beaujolais Nouveau.

For us at Uncorked Ventures, it isn’t like we can ship a Beaujolais Nouveau.  After all, we only work with California, Oregon and Washington wines in our wine clubs.  That being said, a number of regions are producing their own versions of Noveau wines these days including Italy, Spain and some now in America. Bedrock Wine Company has one that is incredibly highly thought of, Broc Cellars has another one.  There’s a handful and quite honestly, this is a pretty clear growth area in the state.

But, having a handful of American made Noveau wines isn’t the same as an entire region dedicated to the varietal and winemaking style.  In that way, Beaujolais Nouveau will likely reign supreme in the carbonic maceration game, for another few generations at least.

Winemakers like the idea of making Noveau.  It’s different and it makes harvest a bit more interesting given that you’re making at least one wine in a radically different manner. Plus, November is a slow time of year, so getting to release a wine right before Thanksgiving is pretty fun.

1 thought on “Beaujolais Nouveau: A Quick Primer

  1. […] and foremost the third week on November, you always see a big push right before Thanksgiving for Beaujolais Nouveau and that is the first wine released in every vintage. It’s made from the Gamay grape, and the […]

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