This was for the genesis of the phenomenon nouveau beaujolais but what about the wine itself?The main grape (at 98%) is Gamay à jus blanc in the Beaujolais wine region. This grape is early ripening meaning that harvest is early while giving a good grape maturation. It provides fruity and fresh aromas of cherry, raspberry, strawberry and cranberry. What about the banana and bubble gum aromas? Well these aromas are not directly linked to the grape itself, it is coming from a winemaking technique called carbonic maceration or semi-carbonic maceration. To make it short semi-carbonic maceration from which Beaujolais Nouveau has to be made implies an intra-cellular enzymatic fermentation inside each berry. This leads to the creation of specific aromas as banana and bubble gum. Then grapes are pressed and alcoholic fermentation begins only with the juice. Wines made through this process are light in colour with low tannins, freshly fruity thanks to a vivid acidity. A young wine not meant to age and that you can drink slightly chilled. You may think all Beaujolais Nouveau wines are the same… They are not! All the 96 Beaujolais villages are allowed to produce it… multiplied with the number of winemakers… Global Beaujolais Nouveau wine production represents a third of the global wine production in the region. The mention « nouveau » or « primeur » is not an AOC and it has to be associated alongside two AOCs: the Beaujolais AOC (bigger volumes) and the Beaujolais-Villages AOC (lower volumes). To conclude there are other French regions where « Nouveau » wine is made. You can find Gaillac « primeur » made from Gamay in the South-West; Côtes du Rhône « nouveau » (or « primeur ») rouge in the Rhône Valley made from Grenache mainly and in Loire Valley with the Touraine Gamay « primeur » (or Touraine Gamay) made from Gamay too. And you, what are you going to do on the 17th of November?
Gauthier Bernardo Diploma WSET