Celebrate an Unconventional Wine Party on November 21

On Thursday, November 21, something fresh, juicy and alcoholic is flooding the market place… and it’s not Rob Ford’s autobiography. It’s Beaujolais Nouveau.

The 3rd Thursday of every November marks the release of a young fruity red wine that’s released only weeks after harvest. Made from the Gamay Noir grape, Beaujolais Nouveau undergoes a process known as carbonic maceration in the winemaking process, which preserves the fruit to make the wine lush and extremely low in tannins. For those folks out there who are wondering what tannins are, think about the time you tried a French wine (maybe a young Bordeaux) that was so astringent you might have felt like your taste buds were completely peeled off. That’s called tannin. On the opposite end of the spectrum, Beaujolais Nouveau is best described as having notes of kirsch, banana, bubblegum and strawberry.

The really interesting thing about Beaujolais Nouveau is the marketing behind it. French wine laws stipulate that Beaujolais Nouveau can’t hit the market before the 3rd Thursday of every November, but when that Thursday rolls around there will be over 40 million bottles for sale and it will go like gangbusters. In the 1970s, French producers would race the new vintage of Beaujolais Nouveau to Paris as quickly as possible and this race became something of a national sport. The trend of racing Beaujolais to market quickly spread to other parts of Europe, North America and eventually Asia. Today transporting this wine is almost like an Amazing Race challenge. People will go to great lengths to procure Beaujolais Nouveau and will use any means possible to receive the wine in far-reaching markets. There have been accounts of people using hot air balloons, rickshaws, motorcycles and even elephants to transport the wine. When the clock strikes 12:01am this Thursday morning, you can guarantee that people are going to be sipping Beaujolais Nouveau in all corners of the world. 

Many Beaujolais Nouveau enthusiasts will be throwing soirees this week to try the new vintage, but this isn’t going to be your typical wine party.  Beaujolais Nouveau may be food-friendly, but people aren’t going to go to great lengths to create food pairings for this red. Nor should there be too much discussion on the tasting notes. Think of a Beaujolais Nouveau as a chance to enjoy wine without all the pomp and circumstance. This wine is relatively inexpensive and nobody is going to look down on you if you drink your wine out of a glass without a stem. Heck, use a plastic cup if you’re so inclined. A recent article suggested throwing on the French classics like Edith Piaf or Serge Gainsborough to create the proper atmosphere for a Beaujolais Nouveau party, but why not stay with the times and throw on something more recent like Daft Punk? Whatever you do, just remember to look at your watch just after midnight and know that people all over the planet are sipping the same wine as you. Talk about unity.