The third Thursday in November is Beaujolais Nouveau Day, and people around the world celebrate the release of one of the youngest wines on the market. Coming in just a week before Thanksgiving in America, the wine holiday has become a trend in the U.S.
Beaujolais Nouveau is a light bodied, fruity wine and is typically served chilled. Because of these characteristics, Beaujolais is intended to be consumed casually, instead of slowly sipped and appreciated. It’s also a polarizing wine, thanks to a feeling that it receives outsized attention based on how young and raw the wine is. Beaujolais Nouveau is a wine where the grapes have been picked only six to eight weeks prior to bottling. The wine has had no time to develop complex aromas and flavors.
In the U.S., marketing has led to Beaujolais Nouveau to become a trendy wine between Thanksgiving and Christmas. The New York Times first mentioned the wine in 1873, and in 1955 the paper of record called it “a good picnic companion.”
“The wines are as light on the wallet as they are in the glass,” New York Times critic Howard Goldberg wrote in 1987. “This frivolity makes them ideal quaffing wines for parties until New Year’s Eve, when Champagne takes over.”
The novelty of the first wine on the year from the French harvest presents a prime marketing opportunity for restaurants, bars, and retailers. Furthermore, the concept of exclusivity around the wine only being available shortly after harvest and an entire commemoration day have led to a national trend surrounding Beaujolais Nouveau.
Beaujolais Nouveau’s easy drinking character, fruity flavor, and youth make it a popular wine for parties and celebrations. The wine is specifically intended to be consumed pretty much immediately, so drink in the youth.