At one past midnight on the third Thursday of each November, from little villages and towns in Beaujolais region, over a million cases of Beaujolais Nouveau begin their journey through a sleeping France to Paris for immediate shipment to all parts of the world. This marks the beginning of one of best known rituals in the wine world.
By the time it is over, over 65 million bottles, nearly half of the region's total annual production, will be distributed and drunk around the world. It only takes a few weeks for Gamay grapes (the variety that Beaujolais wine is made out of) to get harvested, rapidly fermented, bottled and released to the market. This quick turnaround makes this wine perfect for consumers to taste the latest vintage from Europe so early on.
Beaujolais' reds are typically light- to medium-bodied, with bright acidity and lots of red and black fruit, ground spices and aromatic herbs. These wines rarely benefit from cellaring, and it's generally best to capture their vibrancy in the first few years of life.
Apart from the fanfare, what makes Beaujolais Nouveau so popular? Beaujolais Nouveau is light on tannins, normally found in red wines, leaving an easy to drink, fruity wine. This, coupled with the fact that it tastes best when chilled, makes for a great festive wine. As a side note, it's also a great transitional wine for anyone wanting to move from white to red wines.
So what did 2014 Beaujolais like? Located just south of Burgundy, the region experienced the same challenges faced by most wine regions in France and across Europe in that year, centred around unusually cool and rainy conditions throughout the summer months. But things improved greatly in September, all the way until harvest, making 2014's vintage balanced with lively acidity and bright fruit flavours.
If you fancy giving Beaujolais a go, we have got a few to choose from (including options without added sulphur, and organic offerings) on the shelf and in our online shop.