Beaujolais nouveau is a wine of the Gamay variety produced in the Beaujolais (AOC) region of France that is authorized for immediate sale after fermentation. It is the most popular vin de primeur, a wine harvested in fall and sold before spring (much sooner than it could be produced through normal fermentation).
Beaujolais nouveau is produced by carbonic maceration followed by Pasteurization. A process that bypass malolactic fermentation. The wine is ready to be drunk a scant six weeks after the harvest. On the third Thursday of November each year the new Beaujolais is officially released and just after midnight a race begins to ship the wine out all around the world as quickly as possible. For a vintner the economic advantages of selling one’s wine before the end of the year are substantial, although the wine itself varies dramatically in quality.
Beaujolais nouveau is not a wine to keep; it must be rapidly consumed within a few months of its production.
Young, Beaujolais should be served chilled, at approximately 55F (13C), to encourage its fruity complexion. The fuller Beaujolais, on the other hand, are best at about 60-65F (17C).
Around 450,000 hectolitres of Beaujolais nouveau is produced each year, making up about a third of the region’s total wine production. About half of this is exported, some of it as far as Asia. By far the largest production comes from the négociant Georges Duboeuf, who makes the well-known “flower labels”.
The commercial success of Beaujolais nouveau has lead to the development of similar primeur wines, first in other regions of France and later in other wine producing countries such as Italy (vino novello).
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