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Happy Beaujolais Nouveau day!

Beaujolais Nouveau is, as the name suggests, the new wine of the season, bottled barely two months after the grapes are crushed. A light, fruity number, it was originally intended as something quaffable with which to celebrate the end of the harvest. Over time, however, it became a celebrated drink in itself, and really took off in the 1950s when distributors began competing with each other to be the first to deliver their first bottles to Paris.

One of the wine’s biggest producers, Georges Duboeuf, took it one step further in the 1970s by publicising the festivities around the product. The race to Paris attracted media interest and, today, Beaujolais Nouveau day is a much anticipated event. Wine merchants, in a bid for publicity, have found unusual ways to deliver their Beaujolais to Paris, including by motorcycle, rickshaw and even elephant.

Since 1985, Beaujolais Nouveau day has been officially the third Thursday in November, an ideal opportunity for celebrators to begin their weekend early. At some 120 festivals in the region, there are tastings, fireworks, music and dancing in honour of the wine.

Tasting note

Appearance: Vibrant, cherry-red.

Aroma: Fresh red fruit such as raspberry, strawberry and redcurrant.

Palette: Juicy and fruity with notes of cherry, strawberry and raspberry, and undertones of spice. Light-bodied and balanced with zingy acidity and light tannins.

Food match: Best served slightly chilled with turkey – an ideal accompaniment to a Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner.