The 3rd Thursday of each November is the day the French release Beaujolais Nouveau into the wine world. This day is often marketed as “Beaujolais Day”. So, why all of the excitement?
OK, part of it is hype, like a movie opening at midnight. However, there is some merit to all the excitement.
First, a bottle of wine is a hell of a lot more exciting and enjoyable than a movie. Every bottle holds the promise of a sensory adventure.
Also, by the very name you may have guessed Beaujolais Nouveau is a young, possibly even fun wine. Kind of odd since they come from an area so close to Burgundy with all its fancy Pinot Noirs and triple digit prices.
These wines are made from the Gamay grape and are meant to be consumed rather young (usually within months rather than years). In fact, Beaujolais Nouveau was fist made as a way for the French to celebrate the ending of their harvests.
Beaujolais tends to have a fruity, lightweight style with very low tannins. These wines do not typically see time in the barrel or any other wood for that matter. Often you will taste figs, pear, and sometimes even a fruit punch type of flavor. As such, it helps to serve these wines slightly chilled to optimize the flavor profile. I would recommend serving around wine cellar temperature. You can always stash a room temp bottle in the fridge for 10-15 minutes to drop the temp a bit as well. Just do not ice bath it because that drops the temperature too far in a short amount of time.
Please do not buy these wines in hopes they will get better with age. You would be missing the whole point of Beaujolais Nouveau altogether! Of course, saving a bottle or two until spring should not be a problem. You may even find the flavors come together more once the wine has a chance to get more comfy in the bottle.