There’s no real wine party like a Beaujolais Nouveau party. In a stroke of brilliant marketing, the wine can only be released after the stroke of midnight on the third Thursday in November per French law (this year, that’s Nov. 21). Made with that summer’s Gamay grapes, Beaujolais Nouveau Day boasts parties all over the world to celebrate the first wine of the season. Here are five things you need to know about the wine:
1. Beaujolais Nouveau comes from the Beaujolais region in France, which is located south of Burgundy and has been producing wines since Roman times. While there are many wine growers, Georges Duboeuf is the No. 1 Beaujolais Nouveau brand in the United States.
2. Beaujolais Nouveau is made from 100 percent Gamay grapes, which have thinner skins than most grapes, causing lower levels of tannin. The wine is meant to be served slightly chilled and goes with a variety of foods, especially holiday turkey and ham.
3. Originally, Beaujolais Nouveau was the wine of the vineyard workers, consumed to celebrate the end of harvest and giving them a first taste of the new vintage.
4. In 1985, France passed a law requiring that Beaujolais Nouveau must be released on the third Thursday in November everywhere in the world.
5. As a way to celebrate its arrival, Beaujolais Nouveau parties became popular throughout France and abroad. Now, Beaujolais Nouveau Day is a global celebration — it is the New Year’s Eve of wine lovers.