From last Thursday banners outside our local wine merchant have proudly declared "Le Beaujolais Nouveau est arrivé" ("The New Beaujolais has arrived").
Only in France would the date that a wine is released have been set down in law since 1951, making its official arrival each year an event to be celebrated (the third Thursday in November).
A fresh and fruity red wine, Nouveau Beaujolais is made from Gamay variety grapes, grown in vineyards throughout the Beaujolais appellation, just north of Lyon. But what makes this wine unique in France is that its produced, bottled, and released within just 6-8 weeks of the harvest.
Rather than crushing the grapes and fermenting the extracted juices slowly, for Beaujolais Nouveau the grapes are piled on top of one another in a sealed container that's filled with carbon dioxide. The carbon dioxide causes the fermentation to take place within the grape skins, resulting in a very low tannin wine.
As Nouveau Beaujolais is generally best enjoyed during the winter and spring after it was harvested we won't be serving these wines aboard next season, but if you fancy trying some at home look out for GEORGES DUBOEUF Beaujolais-Villages Nouveau, a premium offering from one of the largest producers who export all over the world.