Beaujolais Nouveau - Jon Un-Corked

Beaujolais Nouveau - Jon Un-Corked

Beaujolais Nouveau - Jon Un-Corked


Every year since the 1950s, France and to a lesser extent the wider world celebrates a very special wine occasion – Beaujolais Nouveau Day. The event takes place on the third Thursday of November and it is all about celebrating the release of the new vintage. Who better to tell us more about the event than Jon…

On the face of things, November along with its drop in temperatures and early sunsets would seem an obvious time to look at some robust red wines, but I’m going to save that for January! Instead, I’m going to look at a French region that is enjoying something of a renaissance, at least in some quarters. The wines produced here which are almost exclusively red are light and fresh – the sort that can, perhaps should, be enjoyed at a cooler temperature. Not chilled necessarily, but somewhere around cellar temperature (12°c give or take), yes we’re talking about Beaujolais!



The potential resurgence...

This has been prompted by Beaujolais Nouveau day which is also enjoying an ‘underground’ renaissance although nothing close to the levels of its heydays in the late 70s and early 80s. This year it falls on Thursday 18th November (it is always the 3rd Thursday in November). However, having spoken of a resurgence in popularity, its availability this year will inevitably be impacted to some degree by the well-chronicled delays in shipping coupled with the relatively narrow window between the wine being made/bottled / ready for shipment and the day that it is allowed to go on sale.



The history of Beaujolais Nouveau...

Those of you of a certain age will probably have fond (perhaps hazy?) memories of those times when Beaujolais Nouveau was such a big deal that it was national news. This all started on the back of the so-called ‘Beaujolais run’. In those days, the latest vintage could only be released from the cellars at midnight on the third Wednesday of November – from that point, the race was on to be the first one back to London with their booty. Beaujolais for/with breakfast was de rigueur in the city and the number of working days lost doesn’t bear thinking about! These days the rules are different with the majority of Nouveau safely here in the UK days before, it just cannot be put on sale before the 3rd Thursday. This was to accommodate the logistical requirements of the multiples who wanted their piece of the action. Unfortunately, this took the fun & romance out of the occasion effectively killing the proverbial ‘golden goose’ over a period of time – shame on you, Mr Supermarket!


The three distinct zones...

The Beaujolais region is found in South central France to the North of Lyon and has a vineyard area in excess of 18 000 hectares that breaks down into three distinct zones. Beaujolais, the most basic of the three is predominantly in the South of the region. Beaujolais-Villages, the middle tier which is mostly in the centre and the “Crus” de Beaujolais, a strip in the centre North of the region, which is comprised of 10 villages, the best-known of these arguably being Fleurie. 

This distinct variety of wine is fermented for only a few weeks using the jewel-like Gamay grape that is grown exclusively here and is at its best when grown in soil with a high proportion of granite, as is found in the 10 Crus.



Beaujolais Nouveau wines at EWGA...

The producer behind our Beaujolais Nouveau is the J. M. Aujoux House, a specialist in the Beaujolais-Mâconnais wines with a history dating back to 1938. EWGA and Aujoux have worked together for over 25 years bringing excellent French wines to restaurant tables in the UK….




Aujoux, formerly "Beaujolais Wine Company" was purchased in 1938 by Mr Amann, a leading Swiss businessman. Located in the heart of the Beaujolais vineyards, the Municipality of La Chapelle de Guinchay, is surrounded by the most prestigious vineyards such as Saint-Amour, Julienas, Chenas and Moulin-a-Vent. Aujoux is committed to producing wines that reflect more accurately the character of the soils and climate. Aujoux today enjoys the most modern facilities and a dynamic business development team that brings to market 10 million bottles per year, both in France and from around the world.



And now onto the wines...

We have a select few wines from the Beaujolais region, so below are the very best that Jon thought are worth sharing this month...



Beaujolais Nouveau 'Cuvee Cochon Chic' 2022

(Limited availability from Thursday 17th November): Aujoux is a well-established operator, specialising in Beaujolais and the Mâconnais but with interests in other wine-producing regions as well. We imported the ‘Tradition’ Nouveau for the first time last year and it proved a great success! The ‘no added sulphites’ tag proved really attractive, and the early-drinking style that is Beaujolais lends itself perfectly. Based on last year, this will be fresh, juicy, fruity and very easy to drink!

fr0062 bourgogne chardonnay champ alouettes




Beaujolais-Villages, Ch. de Lacarelle 2019

Delightful wine from one of the oldest established and largest properties in ‘Villages’, owned and run by the Durieu de Lacarelle family since 1750! This is deliciously soft, juicy and accessible with minimal tannin and plenty of sour cherry and red berry fruit character – the sort of red that is delicious on its own but equally at home with a plate of charcuterie and surprisingly good with some fish dishes.

Chateau de Lacarelle Beaujolais FR0041



Morgon-Côte de Py ‘Cuvée Mathilde’ Jacques Dépagneux 2020

My favourite of the 10 Crus, Morgon is centrally situated and the second largest in the vineyard area. The Côte-de-Py is effectively (but not officially) a 1’er Cru site that consistently over-delivers on quality. This is a more serious & robust wine made from older vines that will evolve over several years but is equally delicious when young. I love the fact that locals have a verb, Morgonner which is to enjoy a glass or two of Morgon with friends and discuss its virtues!

Morgon Cote de Py FR0045



Torre dei Vescovi Bardolino 2018

A bit of a curve ball, this one; it’s not even French, let alone from Beaujolais! In this instance, ‘B’ is for Bardolino – effectively a lighter version of Valpolicella made from a similar, Corvina-dominated blend of grapes but from vineyards on the Eastern shore of Lake Garda, about half an hour’s drive West. Pale in appearance, light in body, low in tannin (grip) and a modest 12%. If you enjoy lighter, fresher reds like Beaujolais this is definitely worth a try.

Torre Dei Vescovi Bardolino IT0078



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