Le Nouveau Beaujolais est arrive!
Yes, yesterday heralded the arrival of Nouveau Beaujolais, a wine that just weeks ago was hanging on the vine...
Beaujolais Nouveau (and all Beaujolais) is made in southern Burgundy from Gamay grapes, by a process called carbonic maceration. Whole bunches of grapes are put into the fermentation tank, and the weight of the grapes on top crushes the grapes on the bottom. A by-product of fermentation is carbon dioxide, which causes the grapes on top to ferment inside the skins.
The process takes about four days, and results in wine that is fruity and fresh, if non-cerebral. Carbonic maceration also causes aromas and flavors of bananas, bubble gum and cinnamon--pretty interesting stuff.
Unlike it's classier cousin Cru Beaujolais, Nouveau Beaujolais is not age-worthy. It's meant to be consumed within six months or so, and its release at the middle of November makes it a good choice for Thanksgiving dinner--it pairs well with turkey, cranberry sauce and other Turkey Day foods.
Look for popular producers Georges Duboeuf and Louis Jadot. Give this year's vintage a try and see what you think.