Holiday season comes early for French wine-lovers when the Beaujolais region releases its new vintage on the third Thursday of November.
Beaujolais Nouveau Day 2018 falls on Nov. 15. Fans should anticipate another excellent vintage, according to Franck Duboeuf, son of wine legend Georges Duboeuf, whose company grew this tradition onto a global scale.
The 2018 harvest officially began on Aug. 27. Not all participating vineyards picked their Gamay grapes immediately, of course, so Duboeuf cannot yet forecast the exact profile for this year. But from producers who have harvested he saw good ripeness, good sugar and predicted a “very fruity” Beaujolais Nouveau.
“There may be more red fruit this year,” Duboeuf said, “with more of a floral bouquet.”
He does not expect as much black fruit or spiciness for 2018.
Growers for Duboeuf initially compared this year’s vintage with 2011 and 2014. Asked how it stands against the 2015 Beaujolais Nouveau, known for its exceptional balance, Duboeuf said that 2018 remains lower in acidity.
That can be corrected. Further maturation for the fruit at Beaujolais Cru vineyards that have not yet harvested should help round out the profile. “The weather forecast these next two weeks is very nice,” Duboeuf said. “There is no hurry.”
The climate this year included more than enough spring rainfall to counteract a summer heat wave. Winter was frost-free. Altogether this made for an early ripening vintage, like in 2009-11, 2015 and 2017. “The weather and time were in our favor,” Duboeuf said.
Traditionally, Beaujolais Nouveau is bottled six-to-eight weeks after harvest. By French law it cannot release until 12:01 a.m. on the third Thursday of November. These young wines are known for being fresh, fruity and low in tannins.
Fans on social media this summer chose the bottle art for the 2018 Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais Nouveau. “We are full of optimism for this vintage,” Duboeuf said. “It should be very quaffable.”
This year marks the first time the U.S. will receive bottles of Beaujolais Nouveau rosé. Gamay grapes have black skin, but their fruit and juice are white, which lets them make rosé. The style is similar in production with Beaujolais Nouveau, and Duboeuf has released November rosés in the past.
Mostly these have shipped to Japan. Now Americans can also enjoy Beaujolais Nouveau rosé when they visit their favorite wine shops on Nov. 15. And that date means that the Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais Nouveau Rosé could be the only 2018 French rosé on the U.S. market come holiday season.
Kyle Swartz is editor of Beverage Wholesaler. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @kswartzz or Instagram @cheers_magazine. Read his recent piece Strong Sales Continue for Champagne and Sparkling Wine.