I know - it's the moment we have all been waiting for all year! As the clock struck midnight on the third Thursday of November, the new vintage of Beaujolais Nouveau was officially released yesterday, and I just happened to be at Brasserie JO to taste it. According to French law passed in 1985, Beaujolais Nouveau may not be released earlier than the third Thursday of November. I was always tempted to open the wine like on a Tuesday just to see what would happen but I feared the Gendarmerie would hunt me down and make me do hard labor in some remote vineyard in the Languedoc. The wine is made from Gamay grapes that are harvested in September, fermented and then released a mere six weeks later making it the first taste of the vintage. The wine is light like a Pinot Noir, very fresh and fruity and tastes freakishly similar to bananas and gum drops. Now here's the thing about Beaujolais Nouveau, you either like the flavor or you don't but the taste is not the point as it is more about what the wine represents. The winemaker has spent the last nine months working the vineyard, pruning, worrying and waiting and then the moment finally comes when he/she and the world gets to taste the fruits of his/her labor. I also think Beaujolais reminds us that the year is slowly coming to a close and it is a nice way to usher in the holidays as Thanksgiving falls one week after the official release. This is probably the main reason why Nouveau ends up sitting next to the Turkey. The wine also features a different label every year. I know some folks who collect posters of the labels. Wine companies often employ elaborate and show stopping methods of getting the wines out to eagerly waiting thirsty patrons in time for the official release. I have heard stories of them using jets, elephants, speed boats, hot air balloons and in one case even a rickshaw.
As you can see, the whole thing has turned into a great reason to party and I imagine there was a ton of hoop-la-ing taking place in bars and bistros around the world last night. So yes - cue Kool and the Gang - because there's a party goin' on right here a celebration to last throughout the years so bring your good times, and your laughter too, we gonna celebrate your party with you, celebrate good times, come on!