Bottled joy from France

November 15 – the date we hugely anticipated this year since it marks the time when the Beaujolais Nouveau wines arrive. The message of this new French wine is: let’s drink delicious wine together, here and now.

The third Thursday of November

In every country that has wine culture, there has always been great expectation regarding the new wines. In France, since 1941, the earliest possible date to put out Beaujolais Nouveau has been November 15. In 1970, Georges Dobeuff placed a bottle down with the words, ‘The Beaujolais Nouveau has arrived!’ (‘Le Beaujolais nouveau est arrivé!’), and there has been no stopping since then. By the second half of the 20th century, Europe, the US and Japan had developed a thirst for Beaujolais Nouveau. Since 1985, the Beaujolais Nouveau have been released on the market from 00:01am on the third Thursday of November, which happened to be November 15 this year.

  

 

Fresh, light and fruity: Beaujolais Nouveau

The keyword is carbonic maceration. The whole bunches of grapes are usually put into stainless steel tanks. Owing to the weight of the fruit, the grapes at the bottom of the tanks are crushed, creating the must that starts fermenting. Carbon dioxide is formed during fermentation, and as a result the whole fermenting vat is bathing in carbon dioxide. Fermentation starts within the grapes due to the enzymes present in them – in the oxygen-free environment. The result is fresh, light, fruity red wines full of raspberry, strawberry, cherry and banana aromas, with an intense purple-ruby colour, yet low tannins and a short lifespan.

 

Distinctive aromas

We often mention the banana note in connection to Beaujolais Nouveau. Earlier, almost everyone in the wine region used the same strain of cultured yeast, with which the wines fermented quickly and on time, and they were given easy to recognise aromas and flavours. The world is changing and today better quality (or even natural) Beaujolais wines are put on the market, compared to those in the 80s. This doesn’t mean that Beaujolais wines don’t have their distinctive aromas but we’re encountering the famous cum infamous strong banana bouquet less often.

 

 

Pierre-Marie Chermette

In the 80s and 90s, the strongly cultured yeast-influenced banana-note style of Beaujolais Nouveau was in fashion. Pierre-Marie was among the first to try to show the more traditional, purer and more natural side of the Beaujolais region. It was regarded as a great reform when this winery fermented its Nouveau wines – which are its leading products – without the addition of sugar.

 

 

Maison Louis Jadot

One of Burgundy’s most significant wineries and also one of the largest Beaujolais producers. Alongside the Nouveau, they also make several villages* wines.

 

 

*village

There are 38 appellations within Beaujolais that can call themselves villages. The wines that come from the vineyards of these appellations, separately or by blends, can be called villages.

 

Vignerons de Bel-Air

One of the leading Beaujolais Cru producers, and also a cooperative working with 250 growers, which was founded in 1929 as the result of the global economic crisis. It makes wine from 700 hectares, among which naturally there are also Beaujolais Nouveaus.

 

 

 

Lionel Carron

We discovered Lionel Carron at a wine fair in spring. He stuck out of the pack, his hands were still covered in purple stains that showed he had arrived straight from the cellar. Upon our interest, he brought out a bottle of Nouveau from the previous vintage and while we were tasting it, he told us that he makes his wine with the least possible intervention in his own small winery.

 

 

TERROIR ORIGINELS

Lucien Lardy

Lucien is a third-generation, environmentally-friendly winemaker and the founding member of the Terroirs Originels, which comprises 25 independent winemakers. He carries out sustainable agriculture and natural grape growing. His most significant plantations are in Beaujolais Cru vineyards, in Fleurie.

 

 

Jean-Baptiste Duperray

The estate was founded in 1840 and its running was taken over by Bertrand Duperray in 1983. Since 2013, the main role has been played by the next generation, with Jean-Baptiste Duperray at the helm. They carry out sustainable viticulture and put a lot of energy into altering the plantations, the renewal of old parcels and planting modern and fresh ones.