By Eddie Nickell
It is the holiday season again and all of the celebrations are on!
December brings festivities that last almost the entire month cumulating in the biggest party of all… New Year’s Eve!
November brought one of my favorite parties, the release of Beaujolais Nouveau! At one past midnight on the third Thursday of each November, from little villages and towns in France, over a million cases of Beaujolais Nouveau make their journey through a sleeping France to Paris for immediate shipment to all parts of the world.
Banners proclaim the good news: Le Beaujolais Nouveau est arrivé! "The New Beaujolais has arrived!"
One of the most frivolous and animated rituals in the wine world has begun and by the time it is over, over 65 million bottles, nearly half of the region's total annual production, gets distributed and drunk around the world.
It has become a worldwide race to be the first to serve this new wine of the harvest. This is a tradition that FMI Restaurant Group has celebrated each year for over five years now. It is amazing to realize that just weeks before this wine was a cluster of grapes in a growers vineyard.
But by a speedy harvest, a rapid fermentation, and an immediate bottling, all is ready at the midnight hour.
By French law, Beaujolais Nouveau is to be released no earlier than the third Thursday of November.
Apart from the ordeal, what makes Beaujolais Nouveau so popular, especially in the U.S. where consumption of red wine is less than 35%?
Beaujolais Nouveau is as about as close to white wine as a red wine can get.
Due to the way it is made – the astringent tannins, normally found in red wines – isn't there, leaving an easy to drink, fruity wine. Coupled with the fact that it tastes best when chilled, makes for a festive wine that we call a ‘patio pounder,” rather than a wine to be sipped.
As a side note, it makes a great transitional wine for anyone wanting to move from white to red wines. The race from grape to glass may be silly, but half the fun is knowing that on the same night, in homes, cafes, restaurants, pubs, bars and bistros around the world, the same celebration is taking place.
Beaujolais Nouveau will never be a classic wine, but it is always good and a perfect choice for holiday dinners, parties or just to hang out with friends and family.
So enjoy a glass of Beaujolais Nouveau with your turkey dinner, cocktail party or even with a bag of popcorn while watching a movie! Cheers!
Eddie Nickell is the owner and operator of Funky Monkey Wine Company in Orlando, Florida.