Thursday, November 20, 2008

Beaujolais Nouveau

Every year people wait with unbridled anticipation for the release of one of the most famous beverages ever created. The third Thursday of November, is Beaujolais Nouveau Day. For devotees of the Gamay grape that is aged from 6-8 weeks before its release, this is one of the most exciting times of the year.

This is not to be confused with the other Beaujolais produced from that same region, which actually produces more wine than just about any other. Due to a surplus that went on until a few years ago that was created by the nouveau craze, we are now seeing more aged wines coming out of the area.

Intended for the instant gratification of its purchasers, this light and barely tannic wine is not meant to languish on a shelf to age. As with many other styles of wine, to bear the name of Beaujolais, it must be grown and bottled in that region.

The wine has humble beginnings, starting as a local custom to celebrate the end of the harvest. In ’51 the date was set as November 15th, christened with its name and a new tradition was born. Of course, now the date is the third Thursday of November.

Wine enthusiasts both love and hate this one. While they want more from a wine as far as the flavor profile, they cannot resist the pull of the celebration that accompanies this yearly release.

For those in the know it is an indicator of how the coming wine season will be, based on the smaller producers, rather than the largest purveyors. It is a way for the wineries to cash flow easily and quickly, even if not perfectly.

This is a wine that most would classify as fruity, and certainly light. Easily drinkable,
with a light body it has been known to win over even the snobbiest of wine connoisseurs.

The question might be, why?

It gives even the most discerning palate pause, because we all need a moment in which we can celebrate. This is a wine you can buy and take to a holiday dinner to be enjoyed. Not everything needs to be savored right? I know that in my family, a couple of bottles of the Beaujolais Nouveau would not go amiss.

So today is the day for you to go to wherever you like, to find a bottle of Nouveau, maybe grab a slice of pizza or enjoy some mussels in broth with some crispy bread. If you get thirsty you can always enjoy two! There are plenty of options in the Bay Area:

Left Bank
Mr. Smith’s 34 7th St., San Francisco,
Peche Mignon 147 Clement Str, San Francisco

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