Winemakers in Burgundy have been making a young wine to celebrate the end of harvest for centuries. But the release of the year's Beaujolais Nouveau has been a time of selling festivity in France since 1951, when the AOC decreed that the very young wine could be officially sold earlier and the Union Interprofessionnelle des Vins du Beaujolais set the earliest date at November 15.
Georges DuBeouf smelled a marketing opp, and by the seventies, the hype was on. Remember? The race to Paris? And by the eighties, Beau-mania had spread to the U.S. For years, Deer Valley had barrels dramatically flown in to kick off its winter season. “Le Beaujolais nouveau est arrivé!” was plastered in every wine store and restaurant and if the tankers of Beaujolais Americans drank had all been genuine, there wouldn't have been any wine left in France. And then the Japanese and Chinese caught on...
Then it all went away, and we became fascinated with other wine fads: pink zin, merlot, pinot noir, prosecco.
The thing is, all these faddy wines can be excellent if you approach them as something to drink instead of marketing opportunities. So I am pleased to hear that Jimmy Santangelo at Copper Onion is celebrating its 3rd Annual Beaujolais Nouveau Wine Festival, pouring wine from the barrel on Thursday, November 17 from 3–5 in the recently remodeled bar lounge.
And besides this year's nouveau, Santangelo will be offering a selection of Beaujolais Villages "ranging in style from the softer floral Fleurie to the firmer expression of the Morgan."