At the strike of midnight on the third Thursday of each November (which happens to be TODAY), France celebrates the debut of the Beaujolais Nouveau wine. Meaning young wine (just 6 weeks old), Beaujolais Nouveau comes from a region of France south of Burgundy. For more scoop on these French festivities, you can visit http://joobili.com/beaujolais_nouveau_festival_beaujeu_10421/
At Sharon’s house, some form of Beaujolais is our customary pairing with Thanksgiving turkey – usually a Beaujolais-Village.
Beaujolais is made only from the Gamay grape (some California wines call their version Gamay Beaujolais, but they don’t use the same grape variety as what’s grown in France and it tastes quite different) and is required to be harvested by hand.
Beaujolais Nouveau has a fresh, fruity quality and is meant to be drunk young – for average vintages, it should be consumed by the following May after its release.
Regular or standard Beaujolais is made from grapes that are grown on the plains of the region. It’s difficult to ensure quality in this variety of Beaujolais. When buying standard Beaujolais, consider the vintage. Buy only one to two year old Beaujolais and consume within a few months.
Beaujolais-Village comes from the fruit harvested from one of 35 designated villages. These are generally well-made and can age a bit if it was a particularly good vintage – about 2-3 years. Reliable and affordable producers include DuBoeuf and Louis Jadot.
The last and best category is Cru Beaujolais. There are 10 in this category. It will cost you more, but some of these are absolutely amazing and, in some cases, will remind you of a red Burgundy.
Beaujolais should be served slightly cool – about 55 degrees.