It’s time to gulp down those Gamay grapes. In the United States, many wine drinkers turn up their nose at the annual festival of Beaujolais Nouveau, which started today. Under French law, this wine may not be released until 12:01 a.m. on the third Thursday of November, just a few weeks after harvest of the grapes.
Each year, “new” wines are raced from French towns and villages to Paris and other towns, where signs proclaiming that the wine has arrived are hung outside of restaurants and bars.
The grapes, grown in the aptly named Beaujolais region of France, are light, fruity and floral in flavor, producing an easily drinkable red wine that is served cool or cold (like white wine) and consumed frequently at holiday celebrations.
Due to the quick fermentation process, the wine is generally meant to be consumed within the year, is quite popular overseas – nearly half of the 70 million bottles produced are exported, mainly to countries like Japan, Germany and the United States.
Earlier this year, we traveled through the Beaujolais region, tasting many of the area’s wines, and were pleasantly surprised by the many varieties of wine and grapes grown in the area. Beaujolais Nouveau is a specific type of wine made from the Gamay grape, and, while famous, it’s not the only type of wine grown in the region. In particular, we fell for the Cote de Brouilly wines at Chateau de la Chaize, grown near Mount Brouilly, an elegant varietal that tastes fruit and flowers. Even better … we can get them at our local Total Wine.
Rather than recap our trip, we’ll let you know how you can plan your own journey – there’s an app for that. The Beaujolais wine region has gotten social with an app for Android and iPhone. The app walks interested parties through each of the region’s distinct wines, suggests cafes and restaurants for sipping, shows off special wine deals and events, as well as allows users to save their favorites. If you’d prefer a hard copy, the local tourism office has that too.
[Image Credit: McLean Robbins]