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Behind the Bottle: Beaujolais Nouveau Release

Beaujolais Nouveau is one of the most famous styles of wine, especially around the holiday season. Produced in the Beaujolais region of France, Beaujolais Nouveau is a red wine made from Gamay grapes. As one of the more mind-blowing wines produced on the planet, the Beaujolais Nouveau must be harvested, fermented, bottled and shipped around the globe so they may legally be sold to consumers on the third Thursday of November – just in time for most November meal celebrations!

Beaujolais Nouveau Harvest

One of the great wine grapes really has its ‘moment in the sun’ as the year comes to a close. The grape Gamay, made famous in the Beaujolais region of France, makes some of the most food friendly and quaffable wines around the world. The grape produces a wonderful purple wine driven by acid with tart flavors ranging from cherry to cranberry. (Fun Fact: Gamay has many similarities to Pinot Noir, which is one of its parents along with the rare white grape Gouias Blanc. The crossing of Pinot Noir and Gouais Blanc are responsible for a number of other grapes including Chardonnay, Aligoté and Melon B to name a few.)

The release of Beaujolais Nouveau has led to much growth for the Gamay grape. Finding much of its success in the Beaujolais region, the grape has left a considerable imprint in the Loire Valley. However, these days more and more people are planting gamay in places like Oregon and the wine regions of the Niagara Peninsula. (Fun Fact: In Paris they will have contests to see who can finish a bottle first when the clock strikes the proper release time and other celebrations are held throughout France and the world!)

Beaujolais Nouveau Fermentation Process

In order to lower Gamay’s naturally high acid levels, Beaujolais Nouveau is created using a process known as carbonic maceration. During this process, fermentation takes place in an anaerobic environment where whole red grapes rest inside a tank with carbon dioxide, triggering fermentation to begin within the uncrushed grapes. Through this technique, vibrant and fruit-forward wines are produced with a light, refreshing flavor profile – perfect for the next holiday gathering!

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