Beaujolais Nouveau is a festival that celebrates new wine of the year in the Beaujolais region of Limoges. This unique festival occurs on the third Thursday of November. The grapes are harvested during the latter half of October. The new barrels of wine are opened at midnight of the New Beaujolais festival. Under the French law the new wine should be given out just after midnight.
A 35-mile-long and 7 to 9miles wide area of the Beaujolais region is cultivated with special grapes. Around 4000 vineyards are present here. They produce twelve types of special Beaujolais Nouveau wines known as AOCs. The Gamay grapes that contribute to the Beaujolais nouveau wine is handpicked and fermented through a fast process which is termed as ‘the whole-berry fermentation’. This process prevents the release of the bitter tannins from the skins, thus rendering the wine fruity and sweet. This gives the new wine a flaming red color and a pleasantly fruity taste.
The decorated barrels of new wine are brought in procession and at midnight they start drilling into the new barrels. The wines will be young and have a decidedly fruity taste that makes thousands of wine lovers to wait for their release.
Most of the wine producers and vineyard owners welcome visitors to their establishments after the opening of the new wine barrels. A night long wine tasting and partying follows. This is an occasion for serving great food also. The eateries around the place offer many special dishes that are fitting to the happy occasion of the festival of new wine. This is an occasion for get together with friends and relatives. The whole village gets into a frenzy of festive activities. Feasting and entertainments are major highlights of this festival.
The famous Les Sarmentelles is held in the capital town of Beaujolais region. It starts on the eve of Beaujolais Nouveau and lasts for a week. Extensive wine parties, musical concerts and dance performances are organized to make the occasion festive. A lot of food and wines are served to the locals and visitors. Usually a wine-tasting competition is also organized. The fireworks at midnight mark the opening of the new wine barrels. Thereafter it is party time till the early hours of the next morning.
A new convention of running to Paris with the new wine bottles started from the early part of the 20th century and by 1970 it became a national event which is later imitated by many other countries in Europe and other parts of the world. The production and selling of this young wine provides the growers with the much needed finance after the harvest. Most of the wine is consumed in France while a considerable amount of it is exported.
The Beaujolais nouveau wine is celebrated all over the world for its young taste and deep red color.
by Marina Chernyak
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