Posters given to retailers and restaurants celebrate the arrival of the new Beaujolais vintage.
|As of today, the global phenomenon that is Beaujolais Nouveau will once again be in full swing. Perhaps the greatest marketing concept in the history of wine, Beaujolais Nouveau is a category promoted to international fanfare by George DuBoeuf, one of the largest wine merchants in France. The fanfare surrounding the release of Beaujolais Nouveau, a young, simple wine, was invented by DuBoeuf as a marketing gimmick to get cash flow in while the “real Beaujolais” aged for months in casks. It is marked by festive parties and celebrations all around the world, public relations efforts and marketing materials at retailers and restaurants, including colorful window posters like the one shown here.
Beaujolais, which is made from Gamay grapes, had always made a vin de l’année to celebrate the end of the grape harvest. But the wine was only for local consumption and, after the wine was declared an AOC, it could only be officially sold after December 15th of the harvest year. These rules were changed in 1951, and November 15th was set as the release date for what would henceforth be known as Beaujolais Nouveau (the new vintage is now released on the third Thursday of every November).
|While it is a November release, Beaujolais Nouveau is the essence of a great summer sipper, made by a method called carbonic maceration, which produces a wine of moderate acidity; low tannin; and simple, overt fruitiness, even with a bit of spritz. Sadly, since Nouveau is meant to be consumed by the end of December, one would be hard pressed to find a bottle in late spring, and if one did, it would likely be over the hill.
The aromatic, unpretentious and fruit-forward wines are light on tannin and complement many different foods and cuisines, making it the ideal choice for pairing with a wide spectrum of dishes and flavors. Although it boasts a two thousand year-old history, the popularity of Beaujolais Nouveau continues. This is a testament to the unpretentious, fun and easy-drinking wine that has inspired annual celebrations in many different countries and cultures for generations.
Beaujolais Nouveau is made by winemakers in the appellations of Beaujolais and Beaujolais Villages. To get to know fine Beaujolais, skip the Nouveau and try the ten Crus: Brouilly, Chiroubles, Chénas, Côte-de-Brouilly, Fleurie, Juliénas, Morgon, Moulin à Vent, Régnié and Saint-Amour. These are far more complex wines that make excellent food partners. So, when the Beaujolais Nouveau celebrations of 2009 have passed, you can look forward to aged bottles to hit the shores; however, you’ll have to create your own fanfare.
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