If there is one thing to look forward to in November it is the Beaujolais Nouveau. The day the wines arrived in Paris this year was 16 Nov, always the third Thursday of November. For many, this marks the start of the holiday season.
The wine is made from Gamay grapes and a lot of it is meant to be drunk young. It is a fresh, fruity wine that is low in tannins. It is fermented only a few weeks after harvest and then sent, with some fanfare to many parts of the world, 40% of the wine is exported. It is especially popular in Japan.
It does need to be noted, that there is a lot of criticism of the young wine. It is suggested that in the rush to take the wine to market that quality maybe sacrificed and not every bottle may be pleasing. There are individual estates and merchants like Duboeuf and Loron that make decent wines. Also, look for wines labeled Beaujolais Supérieur, as this appellation has set standards for their grapes. Or look for one of the 38 communes that are labeled Beaujolais Villages (with the name of the Village on the label). The Beaujolais region also has 10 crus to look for as well.
Another not so widely know fact is that a good Beaujolais can be aged. The Gamay grape age well and can develop complexity. Aged they can be mistaken for good burgundies.
A great way to test some of the Beaujolais Nouveau’s or some of the aged wines would be to head to the Salon des Vins des Vignerons Indépendants à Paris at Porte de Versailles–Paris Expo Pavillon 7.3 du 30 November to 4 December2017 and taste the wines that the smaller vinters offer. You won’t be disappointed.