Beaujolais Day is being widely celebrated once more…
Today is Beaujolais Day. You’d be forgiven for pulling a funny face and looking confused. Beaujolais Nouveau and consequently Beaujolais Day went out of fashion in the UK in the 1990s, but this wine and it’s special day are making somewhat of a comeback.
The day is traditionally celebrated in the Beaujolais region of France on the third Thursday in November in honour of the first wine of the year. Throughout the 1980s we went crazy for the stuff, especially on Beaujolais Day, when it seemed everyone in London was celebrating it. Eventually we over did it (it happens) and the wine Beaujolais Nouveau went out of fashion.
So what exactly is Beaujolais Nouveau? Well, it’s a cherry red and – whoa – is best served chilled. This is because the wine is released only a week after the grapes are crushed. In fact, that’s exactly why this tipple exists; it was released as a young, cheap wine developed by the locals of the Beaujolais region to celebrate the end of the grape harvest, and as such is pretty close to the taste of white wine. This also means it’s much easier to gulp down, with none of the swilling and sipping malarkey, and so it was very easy for crowds of people to get silly and drunk – in other words, it was made specifically for drunken revelry.
Beaujolais Day begins at exactly one minute past midnight on the third Thursday of November, and it is written law that the wine cannot be distributed before this hour. Sixty seconds after the twelfth stroke, much frivolity ensues across French towns and villages. The Beaujolais race is the most famous part of this celebration. In order to be the first to distribute the first wine of the year, purveyors would race to their wine to its destination using any means possible, including hot air balloons, carrier jets and rickshaws.
I say: welcome back Beaujolais Nouveau.
Where to go on Beaujolais Day: