Happy Beaujolais Day!

Le Beaujolais Nouveau est arriv&#233!!

My first experience with Beaujolois Nouveau came in Geneva, Switzerland. I was visiting a friend who was interning at the UN, and the week before he had popped across the border into France to buy two cases of Beaujolais just after it’s release. We spent three days drinking it like juice, and then about a week recovering. Somehow, though, I still find the young fruity red palatable. Along with wine fanciers across the world, I’ll be enjoying a few glasses of it today to celebrate perhaps the only official wine day of the year.

Beaujolais Nouveau is traditionally released on midnight of the third Thursday of November. Cases are loaded onto planes and delivered to wine stores across the world. A quick search for ‘beaujolais’ on Google News shows stories from Japan, Australia, Paris and Des Moines. More than 60 million bottles will be sold and consumed world-wide.

Still, Beaujolais Nouveau sales have dropped by more than 50% in the last 10 years and the release doesn’t generate the headlines that it once did. In the 70’s and 80’s, the third Thursday would see press coverage of cars, boats and balloons, all racing to get the first shipments of young wine to drinkers across the channel, or across the sea. Today, this press has slowed to a trickle – outside of Europe, at least.

Beaujolais Nouveau has proved very popular in Japan and China, where sales have increased by 60% since last year. In the United States, where people are slowly forgiving and forgetting the anti-France stance of past years, the wine is also selling very well this year. I’m not sure about sales statistics in Canada, but I know for sure that I’ll be picking up a bottle or two.

How does it taste? I haven’t had the chance yet to try this year’s offering (it’s 9:30am, after all), but tasters around the world have been giving it good reviews. “Jammy and very fruity”, with a “much longer finish”, it sounds like it will be as thirst-quenching as ever. BC Liquor stores will be carrying two nouveaux, pricing in at $13.49 and $14.49 respectively.

Get them while they last.


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