by Fred McMillin
for November 19, 1998

 

This Is Nouveau Day


Prologue

Georges Duboeuf
Georges Duboeuf stages
a big celebration in the
Beaujolais District on the
Nouveau release date.
"For wine lovers, the third Thursday in November is the true New Year's Day--because that's when the Beaujolais Nouveau of France is officially put on sale, and the fruits of the new vintage can first be savored (about 10 weeks after harvesting)."

...Thomas Matthews, Wine Spectator


New (Nouveau) Wine Milestones

An Early Nouveau—The water subsided, the vines were planted, the first harvest was held five years later in the fall, and the wine was drunk about January. The vintner was Noah.
Julius Caesar marches through Beaujolais country. (It's only 35 miles long.) He promotes winemaking as a stabilizing influence on the Gauls.
1960 A.D.—Modern Beaujolais Nouveau production is only 5% of the area's total production.
1997 A.D.—Georges Duboeuf, the King of Beaujolais, ships over two million bottle of his Nouveau to the USA alone. (By the '90's, Nouveau has hit 50% of all Beaujolais production.)

Georges Duboeuf
Georges Duboeuf
in the vineyard


Duboeuf Today

Since French law forbids the sale of Beaujolais Nouveau until the third Thursday of November, why is it that you can find your Duboeuf in the U.S.A. the same day? Answer: The law has been altered to permit shipping six days before that Thursday.

Best of all, you can enjoy your first 1998 Duboeuf for less than $10.


Food Affinities

In Beaujolais, the vintners recommended to me quiche, grilled fish, roast chicken, cold cuts, Oriental and Mexican cuisine, and mild cheeses such as Brie and Camembert. Those airy fruit flavors are mightly flexible, and better if you give the bottle 30 to 60 minutes in the frig before serving.


Postscript

Why is the area called Beaujolais, when there's no river, mountain, etc. by that name? Answer: The area is named after the village founded in the region a thousand years ago, Beaujeu.

Note: For more about Duboeuf, see the Sept. 25, 1998 WineDay titled, " Duboeuf Beaujolais."

 

About the Writer

Fred McMillin, a veteran wine writer, has taught wine history for 30 years on three continents. He currently teaches wine courses at San Francisco State and San Francisco City College. In 1995, the Academy of Wine Communications honored Fred with one of only 22 Certificates of Commendation awarded to American wine writers.

 

 

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