What is Beaujolais Nouveau?
Beaujolais is wine from the Beaujolais region of Burgundy, France made from the Gamay grape. “Beaujolais Nouveau” is a version of this wine that is released to consumers immediately following harvest and fermentation, without any aging. The word “nouveau” means, “recent.” This wine is released every November and meant for immediate consumption.
Why is it called “The Thanksgiving Wine?”
Beaujolais Nouveau is released one week before Thanksgiving, on the 3rd Thursday of November. Because of its timing and flavor, it tends to pair well with Thanksgiving dishes and has become a popular staple on many American tables during the holidays.
How is Beaujolais Nouveau Made?
Most wines are made by crushing grapes, adding yeast to juice, and allowing the yeast to convert the juice sugar into alcohol. However, Beaujolais Nouveau is made using the “carbonic maceration” and “semi carbonic maceration” wine-making techniques. Grapes go through a period of “inter-cellular” fermentation, where the juice ferments on the inside of the grape to create alcohol and unique flavors.
1. Carbonic Maceration
In carbonic maceration, the tanks are filled with whole berries and CO2 , and inter-cellular fermentation takes place inside of the berries.
2. Semi-Carbonic Maceration
In semi-carbonic maceration, the grapes at the bottom are crushed from the weight on top, and the juice at the bottom begins to traditionally ferment. Meanwhile, inter-cellular fermentation is also taking place inside of the whole berries.
What does Beaujolais Nouveau look and taste like?
Beaujolais Nouveau wines are bright purple because they are so young. Wines made in these styles are light, fresh and juicy. They also are known to have flavors of sour cherry, raspberry, banana, candy, and bubblegum flavors from the inter-cellular process.
Where can you buy it?
Beaujolais Nouveau is available to consumers beginning the third Thursday of November, and cannot be sold after August 31st of the following calendar year. However, many retailers only receive very limited quantities and it is known to disappear off the shelf in a matter of weeks (sometimes days.) So stock up while supplies last!
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