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Wine Profile: Beaujolais Nouveau


Beaujolais Nouveau may just be the all-around perfect wine for Thanksgiving.  It’s mentioned in wine guides again and again as the ideal accompaniment for the annual turkey feast.  So let’s talk a little bit about this great wine and why it’s such a perfect choice for a food lover’s favorite holiday.

Beaujolais Nouveau is a very young wine (hence the “nouveau”), grown in the Beaujolais region of France (part of Burgundy).  It is fermented for only a few weeks before it is officially released for sale each year on “Beaujolais Day,” the third Thursday of November–just in time for Thanksgiving.

Beaujolais is made from the Gamay grape, which has been used to make French wine since the 1360s.  All grapes in the Beaujolais region must be harvested by hand.  After they are picked, the grapes undergo carbonic maceration, a type of fermentation that emphasizes the fruitiness of the resulting wine, but doesn’t extract the tannins from the skins and seeds of the grapes.  This results in a very light, soft wine.

Beaujolais Nouveau is not a complex wine.  It lacks structure and depth.  But for Thanksgiving, it might just be the perfect choice.  Its soft, light characteristics make it easy to drink and pleasing to a variety of palates.  These characteristics also mean that it won’t overwhelm any of the various traditional Thanksgiving dishes.  It works with both light and dark meat, pairs splendidly with the herbs in the stuffing, and doesn’t clash with the vegetable dishes.

Beaujolais Nouveau might just be the perfect choice for Thanksgiving.  So this year, stock up on this food-friendly wine and please your guests from mashed potatoes to green bean casserole.

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