COVID-19 has made importing Beaujolais Nouveau in Australia even harder this year for Beaujolais Day 2020, so rather than limiting ourselves to Beaujolais Nouveau (at the risk of having nothing to drink!), we are celebrating all Beaujolais wines made from the Gamay grape.
What is the Beaujolais Nouveau?
To answer that question, you need to look at the two parts of the name.
Beaujolais is the name of the region that makes the wine from Gamay grapes. Being an appellation d’origine contrôlée (AOC), as is common practice, the wine is named after that region rather than the grapes used.
That said, Beaujolais wine is made from Gamay grape. These grapes are purple skinned, and predominantly grown in France. The grape is acidic, and as such necessitates a particular fermentation process or soil conditions to soften that natural acidity.
What makes a Beaujolais a Beaujolais Nouveau is that it is only fermented for three weeks before its release for Beaujolais Nouveau Day, which makes it a vin de primeur. The non-Nouveau Beaujolais wines are fermented for longer and will improve with age. In contrast, the Beaujolais Nouveau is a drink now wine, not generally a wine for cellaring.
But what is Beaujolais Day?
Beaujolais Nouveau Day also known as Beaujolais Day celebrates the Beaujolais Nouveau at just 3 weeks of fermentation. It started back in the 19th century, when the first wines of the vintage would travel to Lyon via the Saône river. Lyon’s bistros would celebrate the occasion with signs informing of the Beaujolais’ arrival “Le Beaujolais est arrivé”.
Why is it the third Thursday in November?
In 1985, a law was passed in France declaring that the Beaujolais Nouveau cannot be released to the public before 12:01am on the third Thursday of November. This makes the annual release a much-anticipated (and competitive for the vintners who race to get theirs to the bars and restaurants as early as possible after midnight) event. In France, in a typical year (so not this year with lockdown), you will see signs announcing “Le Beaujolais Nouveau est arrivé” (“The Beaujolais Nouveau has arrived”).
In a normal year, the Beaujolais Nouveau is shipped a bit earlier to locations around the world where they must be held in a warehouse until 12:01 am on the 3rd Thursday of November, when the wines can be first opened and consumed.
WHERE ELSE IS GAMAY GROWN?
Apart from the Beaujolais region, in France Gamay is also grown in the Loire Valley.
Abroad though, Gamay can be found in the Niagara Peninsula of Canada, in Oregon’s Willamette Valley wine region of the United States of America and even in parts of Australia.
Within Australia, it can be found in many of the wine regions such as Southern Tasmania, Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula, King Valley, Yarra Valley and North Eastern Victoria; New South Wales’ Hunter Valley and the Granite Belt in Queensland as well as in the Adelaide Hills in South Australia.
WHERE TO GET YOUR BEAUJOLAIS FOR BEAUJOLAIS NOUVEAU DAY?
LOC Bottle Shop (postponed)
Perhaps Adelaide’s tiniest bar (it seats just 6) was planning to be celebrating Beaujolais this Thursday from 4pm. Glasses of Gamay were to be for sale but Adelaide’s COVID-19 lockdown meant they have postponed the event.
Alliance Française de Canberra (sold out)
Wine expert Christophe Rébut from French Flair will guide you through the tasting of 6 French wines, mainly from the Beaujolais region. There will also be an individual platter of French charcuterie, matching cheeses and tasty baguette to nibble on…
On the wine list :
🍷Beaujolais Nouveau 2020
🍷Beaujolais Village 2018
🍷Morgon Corcelette 2018
🍷Morgon Vieilles Vignes 2016
The third Thursday in November is usually the day we celebrate and taste the release of Beaujolais Nouveau. Unfortunately, COVID has meant that they been unable to secure any Nouveau for the day. However Bistro Volière will still be celebrating, this Thursday, with a special Beaujolais Villages and charcuterie deal.
Enjoy a glass of Beaujolais Villages Gamay + plate of prosciutto & marinated olives for $19
Or maybe a bottle…..
🍷Beaujolais Villages Gamay (Barton & Guestier) 750ml $45
🍷Beaujolais Blanc 750ml $35
Available all day from 12pm on our large covered outside area on Fitzroy street – till sold out
Bistro Rex is celebrating Beaujolais Day from today until Sunday .
It has been difficult to import beaujolais nouveau but Brasserie L’entrecôte will celebrate the day with a set menu and instead of Beaujolais Nouveau, a very nice Beaujolais Village by the glass and the bottle to match it.
BEAUJOLAIS/GAMAY RECOMMENDATIONS FROM FRENCH WINE IMPORTERS FOR BEAUJOLAIS DAY 2020
Helen from DiscoverVin gives us her Beaujolais Day recommendation.
Which beaujolais/gamay(s) do you recommend?
Lupé-Cholet Domaine du Bois des Chênes Beaujolais-Villages, 2017. This wine can be purchased per bottle for $36 at DiscoverVin.
This is not the sweet fruity Beaujolais Nouveau but a more “serious” and pleasurable wine of Beaujolais-Village sub-region. These are from the better granite soils. These are possibly the best gamay wines on the planet and the best quality for the price. 100% Gamay from a great producer and a great vintage.
What would you serve with this wine?
This wine is very flexible! Wonderful on its own or a great match to a variety of foods including red and white meats. In our “Taste the Tour 2020 Pack” we suggested that it would go well with charcuterie and cheese and that our purchasers grab themselves a nice platter and pretend they were picnicking by the side of the road in sunny France watching Le Tour – rather than in front of the heater here! Feedback was that it went down a treat. Also goes well with some spicy Asian dishes as low in tannin.
DiscoverVIn also still have a few “Taste the Tour 2020 packs” on sale – this pack includes a bottle of Beaujolais and wines from 5 other regions (including Champagne and Bordeaux). Info regarding Le Tour 2020 (yes it’s finished for the year, but we can always dream of next year!), suggested food matches and all wines discounted in the pack.
European Wine Store
Jeremy from the European Wine Store recommends the following for Beaujolais Day:
In regards to the flavour profile of this Morgon Gamay; its highlighted by charming cherries, strawberry and dark fruits, complimented with touches of spice, savouriness, light oak, minerality and earthy nuances with well developed structure and a good balance of acidity.
Having aged 7 years there is a nice gentle richness and soft tannins on display (it will continue to develop further complexities over the next 2 – 3 years)
John Gilman, View From The Cellar gave it 93 points and said:
‘’The 2013 Morgon “les Charmes” from Château Grange Cochard is a beautiful bottle of Morgon that is already quite accessible, but with the underlying chassis of structure to also age long and gracefully. The pure and sappy nose offers up scents of black cherries, granite, woodsmoke, a bit of espresso, fresh thyme and a hint of cedar. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied and rock solid at the core, with excellent soil inflection, a bit of firm tannin, tangy acids and outstanding length and grip on the complex and very classic finish. Fine, fine Morgon.”
Pair with the following dish: Roast Chicken or Seared duck breast with fruit like cherries or figs
Thomas Gisbert from Mosaïque Wines recommends 2019 Domaine Raphael Chopin, AOC Beaujolais, ‘Funambule’ (a Beaujolais but not Beaujolais Nouveau)
Why this wine?
A vibrant and lighter natural wine. In the winery, the wine is aged in concrete, not filtered and with no sulphur added.
What would you serve with this Beaujolais?
Terrines, grilled meat on the barbecue, grilled fish, charcuterie.
Happy Beaujolais Day!
If you enjoy French wine you may also like to read some of our other articles about French wine varietals: