It’s time to grab your corkscrew and polish your glasses for November 17 is Beaujolais Nouveau Day.
This vin de primeur (a wine that is sold the same year as it’s harvested) is a light and fruity red made from Gamay grapes grown on about 400 small vineyards in the Beaujolais wine region. Impressively, it is bottled and sold within six to eight weeks of the grapes being picked (and legally, they have to be picked by hand too!).
Celebrating the harvest by cracking open a few bottles is a ritual which goes back to the 19th century and canny restaurateurs in the Lyon area would make sure to snaffle up a few early barrels to serve their customers. In 1937, the Beaujolais AOC was formed and new rules meant the wine could not be sold until after December 15 – but in 1951, the Union Interprofessionnelle des Vins du Beaujolais changed the date to November 15 and the wine went on to become known around the world as Beaujolais Nouveau. These days, the release date is the third Thursday of November.
Wine fans in the UK can this year join in with a special online event on November 17 courtesy of Wickhams wine merchant. Wickhams are delighted to be inviting customers to try two nouveau wines (Domaine Bel Avenir and Domaine de Mont Joly) and an English one (Sharpham New Release 2022) as well – and as part of their purchase they’ll be invited to. All are available to pre order now, for delivery by 17th November. The purchase of nouveau wine from Wickhams also gives customers a free place at an online tasting of the wines from 6.30pm on Thursday, November 17.
Beaujolais Nouveau should be drunk cool but not chilled – about 14C is perfect – and remember, it doesn’t last more than three to six months, so be sure to drink up!