Le Beaujolais Nouveau est arrive! Thursday that is!

At one past midnight on the third Thursday of each November, from little villages and towns like Romanèche-Thorins, over a million cases of Beaujolais Nouveau begin their journey through a sleeping France to Paris for immediate shipment to all parts of the world. Banners proclaim the good news: Le Beaujolais Nouveau est arrivé! “The New Beaujolais has arrived!” One of the most frivolous and animated rituals in the wine world has begun.

By the time it is over, over 65 million bottles, nearly half of the region’s total annual production, will be distributed and drunk around the world. It has become a worldwide race to be the first to serve to this new wine of the harvest. In doing so, it has been carried by motorcycle, balloon , truck, helicopter, Concorde jet, elephant, runners and rickshaws to get it to its final destination. It is amazing to realize that just weeks before this wine was a cluster of grapes in a growers vineyard. But by an expeditious harvest, a rapid fermentation, and a speedy bottling, all is ready at the midnight hour. By French law, Beaujolais Nouveau is to be released no earlier than the third Thursday of November.

Beaujolais Nouveau began as a local phenomenon in the local bars, cafes, and bistros of Beaujolais and Lyons. Each fall the new Beaujolais would arrive with much fanfare. In pitchers filled from the growers barrels, wine was drunk by an eager population. It was wine made fast to drink while the better Beaujolais was taking a more leisurely course. Eventually, the government stepped into regulate the sale of all this quickly transported, free-flowing wine .

In 1938 regulations and restrictions were put in place to restrict the where, when, and how of all this carrying on. After the war years, in 1951, these regulations were revoked by the region’s governing body, the Union Interprofessional des Vins de Beaujolais (UIVB), and the Beaujolais Nouveau was officially recognized. The official release date was set for November 15th. Beaujolais Nouveau was officially born. By this time, what was just a local tradition had gained so much popularity that the news of it reached Paris. The race was born. It wasn’t long thereafter that the word spilled out of France and around the world. In 1985, the date was again changed, this time to the third Thursday of November tying it to a weekend and making the celebration complete. But wherever the new Beaujolais went, importers had to agree not to sell it before midnight on the third Thursday of November.

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~ by elevatedsouthern on 2009/11/18.

2 Responses to “Le Beaujolais Nouveau est arrive! Thursday that is!”

  1. Nice in depth history about Beaujolais Nouveau.

    Check out my post on why I won’t be partaking in the parties this year:

    http://www.cherriesandclay.com/2009/11/17/9-reasons-not-to-drink-beaujo-nouveau-this-thursday/

    Cheers!
    Jake

  2. I thought you might be interested in these Guy Fieri Roadshows. He is coming to Raleigh with Hayden Wood and Walter Royal on November 21, to Nashville with Hayden Wood and Tully Wilson on November 22, and to Atlanta with Hayden Wood and Gus Tselios & Marcos Louissaint on November 23! For info about tickets:
    http://www.concertwire.com/events/artist/Guy%20Fieri/

    Only a few short years ago, Guy competed and won the second season of The Next Food Network Star. Today this “Bad Boy” of Food Network hosts four popular shows and can barely walk down the street without being recognized. From Guy off the Hook, where he gets up-close and personal with a live studio audience, to Guy’s Big Bite, where he teaches viewers how to make creative dishes with bold flavors and Ultimate Recipe Showdown, where he showcases home cooks’ best recipes, to traveling across America to find the most unique Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, Guy brings his unique personality to Food Network several times a week. In October 2008, Guy released his first book based on his widely popular show, Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives: An All-American Road Trip…with Recipes! (William Horrow), which offers recipes and memorable stories from establishments Guy has visited around the country. In its first week, it landed on The New York Times Best Sellers List. Ticketing options for the those who can’t get close enough include: “Off Da Hook” Package. Seat on stage, tour laminate, new edition of “More Diners, Drive-Ins, Dives: A Drop Top Culinary Cruise Through America’s Finest and Funkiest Joints”, 2 squirt bottles, pre-show meet and greet. MUST be 21 older Or: “Kulinary Krew” Package. Premium seat, tour laminate, new edition of “More Diners, Drive-Ins, Dives: A Drop Top Culinary Cruise Through America’s Finest and Funkiest Joints”, 2 squirt bottles, and pre-show meet and greet.

    (In the interest of full disclosure, I should say that I work for AC Entertainment, the company that booked the show.)

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