Why should you care about the third
Thursday in November? It's the day that Beaujolais
Nouveau — a French wine called BN for short — arrives in stores all over the world.
This is a light-bodied, fruity, fun red, made from the Gamay grape in the region of Beaujolais. Beaujolais is released the year after the grapes are picked, but BN is released a few
weeks after the grapes come in. So the wine you taste was made with grapes picked just
a few weeks before. The tradition started when winemakers wanted to use up their
Gamay grapes and realized they could make a passable wine quickly with the use
of the carbonic maceration method, where the fruity quality is preserved
without the bitter tannins of the skins and seeds. What began as a winemaker
trick became marketing genius. French law requires that BN be released no earlier than the third Thursday of November – no exceptions.
or at room temperature, and it pairs with virtually every food on the planet. Just don't keep it too long – it's meant to be drunk within six
months of purchase. And in these financially precarious times, you'll be happy
to hear that BN is one of the best values out there; most bottles are about
$10. A few producers are going green and bottling their BN in
plastic bottles rather than glass; it keeps the shipping weight down.
Beaujolais is released the year after the grapes are picked, but BN is released a few
Most wine stores carry three or four types of Beaujolais Nouveau, and here are
some of the better producers to look for: Mommessin,
Georges Duboueuf, Joseph Drouhin, J. Arthaud, and Michel Picard.