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Something special happens in France every year after the third Thursday in November. As early as 12:01 A.M, Beaujolais Nouveau wine is released! This year Beaujolais Nouveau will release on November 15th, 2012. It’s a historic year because it’s the earliest the wine can be released.

The tradition started over 100 years ago in Lyons and Beaujolais, France. Back then, freshly fermented wines made from early ripening red gamay grapes would fill the local bistros and bars and everyone would drink the vin de l’année (the year’s wine). Eventually the authorities put a stopper on the free-flowing juice, making its minimum release date the third Thursday of November.

The restrictions didn’t deter producers of Beaujolais Nouveau. Instead, they saw it as an opportunity to have an official day to celebrate such a unique wine. Today, up to 65 million bottles of Beaujolais Nouveau are produced a year, half of which get distributed throughout the world, all to be released on the third Thursday in November. Most are enjoyed within the first month of release!

The Smallest Beaujolais Nouveau Release in Years

This year, bad weather has plagued the farmers in the tiny region. Their crops of gamay grapes are down about 50% compared to previous vintages. The wines from the 2012 Beaujolais vintage will be rich and concentrated, but there will not be much. This means some areas of the world will not get any Beaujolais Nouveau from the 2012 vintage. Fortunately the U.S. has some stalwart supporters and importers who have made sure that the wines will fill the shelves. At least while they last!

Meant to be Enjoyed Young, The Taste of Beaujolais Nouveau

Beaujolais Nouveau has more of a likening to apple cider or a sour ale than other wine because of its freshness. Sometimes the wine isn’t degassed and still has bubbles. When you first taste Beaujolais Nouveau, expect light fruity flavors of raspberry and black cherry with a zing of acidity. Because of the style of fermentation, some wines even smell like bananas or freshly baked bread. Beaujolais Nouveau typically has around 12% alcohol by volume (ABV) and it’s great served chilled like a white wine.

Try Beaujolais with Turkey

Beaujolais Nouveau is a perfect wine to try with fall harvest foods. Because it is juicy, high acid and served chilled, it works as a refreshing quencher in between bites. Try Beaujolais Nouveau with turkey and mashed sweet potatoes, or better still, a turkey sandwich with cranberry sauce. It’s light in alcohol which is perfect for a wine enjoyed during lunch.

Where to Buy Beaujolais Nouveau in 2012

Georges Duboeuf is the most well distributed negociant of Beaujolais Nouveau in the United States. You’ll recognize the wine by its bright yellow label. Every year Duboeuf releases a different design.

Kermit Lynch wines brings in some artisan Beaujolais Nouveau and has a list of California stores here.

New York Area
Astor Wines and Spirits
Wine Library, New Jersey
Appellation Wine & Spirits
Chambers Street Wines
Sherry-Lehmann Wine & Spirits

Los Angeles
K & L Wines

Fine Wine Brokers
House of Glunz

Houston Wine Merchant

Fine Wine and Good Spirits

Sportsman’s Fine Wine and Spirits

San Diego
Vintage Wines Ltd.

Sigel’s Beverages L.P

San Francisco
K & L Wine Merchants
The Wine Club

Brookline Liquor Mart

Wine World

Boulder Wine Merchant
Heritage Fine Wine and Liquor

Spirits of Mount Vernon
Bin 604
The Wine Source

Washington D.C.
Bacchus Wine Cellar
Schneider’s of Capitol Hill
Calvert Woodley
Grape and Gourmet, Virginia Beach

Kokoman Fine Wines & Liquors

Posted by on November 15th, 2012

Filed In: Beverages, Wine

Madeline Puckette is the host of, a wine learning website serving up wine courses, videos and articles to inspire wine drinkers everywhere. A certified sommelier through Court of Masters, Madeline Puckette offers an alternative approach to loving wine: learn by drinking. Follow Madeline @Winefolly as she finds the most passionate people behind the wine.

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