Friday, November 20, 2009
Le Beaujolais Nouveau est Arrivé
Sometime in the postwar years, some commercial genius sitting behind a desk in Lyon came up with a brilliant plan. Take the gamay grapes harvested at the end of the summer, and rather than letting the wine mature according to the traditional methods, bottle it up and sell it quick. No, better than that, call it Beaujolais Nouveau and make the rush to get the first bottles to market on the third Thursday in November a badge of honor.
Give that man a gold star. Beaujolais Nouveau doesn't win a lot of prizes from the serious wine afficianados but it generates quite a media buzz plus a lot of export business. Of the 40 million bottles sold in 2008, 15.5 million were shipped abroad. The Japanese go gaga for it, accounting for about 40 percent of foreign consumption, and in the U.S., it's promoted as the perfect accompaniment to your Thanksgiving turkey.
The marketers have pronounced this year's vintage exceptional, crediting nearly optimal weather conditions in areas where the gamay grapes are cultivated. I enjoyed a glass with a plate of Lyonnais sausages for lunch yesterday and can only comment that it went down just fine.