Today we want to feature one of our favorite wine varietals that has been celebrated in France and beyond for years: Beaujolais. This fruity, funky, and delightful wine has a particularly interesting history that culminates in its release, mandated by the French government, on the third Thursday of November each year.
Beaujolais is the name of the region where the wine is made – in central France, below Burgundy, and just above the Rhone Valley. First cultivated thousands of years ago by the Romans then maintained by monks and later lords, the Gamay Noir vineyards have thrived for centuries. Beaujolais was popularized in the 19th century when French scientist Louis Pasteur first developed the technique known as Carbonic Maturation. This procedure allows wine to be matured extremely quickly. By pumping CO2 into the fermenter tanks, the fermentation process goes into hyperdrive, resulting in highly acidic, low tannin wine in just a few weeks.
These “fast wines”, called vins de primeur in French, are meant to be consumed within the first year of their harvest. The French government controls Beaujolias’ release date to ensure that they are purchased and consumed as they are meant to be enjoyed – fresh, young, and sweet!
Take a sniff and a sip and revel in what we can only call “party wine.” Its tangy berry notes and light body makes it feel more like boozy grape juice than red wine and it’s almost too easy to throw back a few glasses at a time. Most bottles won’t set you back more than $20 so make sure to grab enough to share but don’t even think about taking this one down to the wine cellar. Beaujolais should never be aged – it’s all about enjoying right here, right now!
So grab your Cork Genius and a couple of bottles of Beaujolais and join us as we celebrate Beaujolais Day!