The saying goes that there are only two inevitable things in life, death and taxes. Let’s add a third: Beaujolais Nouveau Day.
Today, the third Thursday of November, is the traditional release of the young Beaujolais. As usual, there will be festivities across the country. Nearly two million bottles of the 2018 vintage have been shipped to the U.S. Expect to pay between $12 and $15 at stores.
But there is a new innovation this year. In addition to the two regular styles of 2018 nouveau red wine—Beaujolais and the superior Beaujolais Villages—Les Vins Georges Duboeuf, the progenitor of Beaujolais Nouveau around the world, is launching a Beaujolais Rosé. It’s made, like all Beaujolais, from Gamay in a light, fresh style that would go well with Thanksgiving turkey.
It’s an appropriate new style in a year that has produced some surprisingly structured red wines, with all the obligatory bubbly red fruits and berry flavors. In particular, the Beaujolais Villages style has richness and tannin that could age well, although it’s all too easy to drink now. It was an early harvest with perfect conditions, which gave extra time for the nouveau wines to develop. The Beaujolais trade body, Inter Beaujolais, states that 2018 is “likely to go down in history as legendary.”
The tradition of Beaujolais Nouveau has a truly local origin that dates to the 19th century. The Beaujolais region is close to Lyon, a city that sees itself as France’s gastronomic capital. It’s also home to hearty foods like sausages, grilled meats and plenty of cold cuts. Is there a better wine pairing on a cold evening in November than the latest production from the neighboring wine region?
From Lyon, the fashion spread to Paris, once trains could transport the wines directly to the capital’s bistros. From there, the new wine has spread throughout the world. And, while it’s less popular than it was in the 1980s and ’90s, there’s still a healthy demand for the novelty of a wine whose grapes were harvested just two and half months ago.
Where to celebrate Beaujolais Nouveau in the U.S.
Beaujolais Nouveau day is also an excuse for a party. Dinners, potlucks and tastings will be held throughout the U.S. More than 150 events have been organized by Duboeuf, whose second-generation proprietor, Franck Duboeuf, will be on hand in New York City at the casino-themed party hosted by Ocabanon.
Raclette and potatoes will be offered for $10 per plate plus Nouveau at 13 Celsius wine bar, 3000 Caroline St., Houston.
La Chaumière, 2813 M St. NW, Washington D.C., has a French menu around Beaujolais Nouveau.
Jean-Robert’s Table, the restaurant of Jean-Robert de Cavel, 713 Vine St., Cincinnati, will pour Georges Duboeuf wines, including the rosé.
McGillin’s Olde Ale House, 1310 Drury St., Philadelphia, 215-735-5562, will serve Nouveau for $5 per glass, plus half-price French onion soup. There are also 30 beers on tap.
Le Colonial, 20 Cosmo Place, San Francisco, offers a five-course dinner at 6:30 pm. Available are four Beaujolais wines, which includes a Beaujolais Nouveau. Price is $120.
In Los Angeles, Monsieur Marcel, 6333 W. 3rd St., Los Angeles, will offer free tasting samples to go with a special menu for $49 (rabbit stew and chicken with morel mushrooms). Beaujolais Nouveau will be offered by the glass or bottle.
On Friday, Alliance Française de Berkeley has a pot luck at 2004 Woolsey St., Berkeley, CA. Free Beaujolais, but participants must bring a dish.
Here is a selection of nouveau wines being sold around the country.
Bouchard Aîné et Fils 2018 Beaujolais Nouveau. This is a ripe style of new Beaujolais with a bring red berry flavor shaped by tannin. It’s not all serious, though, with plenty of snappy acidity as well as a crisp finish. Drink now. Boisset Collection.
Domaine des 3 Vallons 2018 Beaujolais Villages Nouveau. Part of Duboeuf’s extensive range of classic Beaujolais cru single vineyard wines, this is bright and fruity. This wine has enough structure to support the red fruits, banana and perfumed acidity. Drink now. Quintessential Wines.
Georges Duboeuf 2018 Beaujolais Nouveau Rosé. An innovation for Beaujolais Nouveau, this rosé is crisp and fruity with fine acidity and bright red berry flavor. It’s an attractive wine that’s refreshing and packed with fruitiness. Quintessential Wines.
Georges Duboeuf 2018 The First Wine of the Harvest Beaujolais-Villages Nouveau. This wine has plenty of fruity red berry flavors alongside a tannic edge that could allow it to age. It will certainly go well with food, particularly Thanksgiving turkey. Quintessential Wines.
Joseph Drouhin 2018 Primeur Beaujolais-Villages Nouveau. This Beaune négociant has produced a ripe, black fruit-flavored Nouveau with bright acidity and tannins lending structure. The wine could age, but it’s delicious now. Dreyfus, Ashby & Co.
Mommessin 2018 Beaujolais Nouveau. Bright and fruity, this tangy red cherry flavored wine has crisp acidity and a fine texture of light tannins. It’s attractive, juicy and ready to drink now. Boisset Collection.