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    The third Thursday of November marks the release of Beaujolais Nouveau and the annual celebration involves fireworks, music and festivals. Under French law, the wine is released at 12:01 a.m., just weeks after the wine’s grapes have been harvested. Parties are held throughout the country and further afield to celebrate the first Beaujolais of the season.

    2018 Harvest News

    InterBeaujolais has announced a ‘legendary vintage’ for the 2018 harvest, remarking that it would “go down in history”, ranking alongside similar success stories of 2009, 2015 and 2017.

    The first wines tasted “extremely promising” and showed advantages of an early-ripening vintage without having any of its disadvantages, said Bertrand Chatelet, director of Sicarex Beaujolais.

    Ideal ripening conditions, no adverse weather and the sun’s warmth have enabled slow and gradual ripening. Whilst there was a lack of rainfall over the summer, the vines replenished their water from supplies reserved in the soils over spring. Consequently, the grape crop was in “outstanding health”.

    “They’re velvety. The wines are going to extract their colour and structure thanks to long periods of maceration. They are round and silky but concentrated and rich. The tannins are subtle and elegant.”

    The first Beaujolais nouveau will be available from 15 November.

    In 2017, overall exports of wine from the region rose 21% in value on volumes up 24% compared to the previous year, second only to Provence and SW France, according to BusinessFrance data.

    What is Beaujolais Nouveau?

    Beaujolais Nouveau is meant to be drunk young; most vintages should be consumed by the following May after its release. Beaujolais Nouveau is fresh and fruity red; the result of a quick fermentation process of the Gamay grape. The wine was originally enjoyed by locals to celebrate the end of the harvest season and sold by some vintners as a means to clear large quantities of wine at decent profits, which would create a much-needed cash flow shortly after harvest.  The idea of a race to Paris carrying the first bottles of the new vintage was conceived and this attracted much media attention. By the 1970s, the race became a national event. The races spread to neighbouring countries in Europe in the 1980s, followed by North America, and in the 1990s, to Asia.

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