Beaujolais Nouveau is back: Beaujeu in the Rhône celebrated it overnight

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As tradition dictates, on the third Thursday of November, Beaujolais Nouveau is released. Primeur wine was celebrated in Beaujeu in the Rhône on the night of Wednesday to Thursday. The 2022 vintage would be very fruity.

After a year marked by the vagaries of the weather which penalized yields, Beaujolais Nouveau is back on the tables this Thursday, an event celebrated at night in the main strongholds of the region. At midnight, as is the tradition every third Thursday of November, the barrel of primeur was pierced in Beaujeu, epicenter of the vineyard where the “Sarmentelles” festival takes place every year, four days of tastings, dinner dances and shows.

“It’s very good, very fruity, very round, fine on the palate. It’s perfect for a Beaujolais Nouveau,” local resident Claire said Wednesday night amid parades, marching bands and Beaujeu tasting stands. “It is like last year, it is very fruity. With climate change, it is better from year to year”, confirmed Dominique, who lives in Beaujolais, not far away.

The “Sarmentelles” festival in honor of Beaujolais Nouveau.
Photo: AFP

The 2022 vintage was also celebrated in several other towns in the Rhône. In Lyon, for example, the traditional drilling at Place Saint-Jean offered an originality this year with the arrival of barrels aboard cargo bikes.

The feast of "Sarmentelles" in honor of Beaujolais Nouveau.

The “Sarmentelles” festival in honor of Beaujolais Nouveau.
Photo: AFP

In 2021, Beaujolais Nouveau represented some 18 million bottles, or 21.5% of the total production of the vineyard. Beaujolais, Beaujolais Villages and 10 crus complete the production. But this year, the vagaries of the weather have penalized production. “The quantity will be 20% lower than the average of the last five years,” said Daniel Bulliat, president of Inter Beaujolais, who nevertheless boasts “pleasant quality” for this vintage. “It’s a wonderful wine with somewhat low yields but a quality that is really there”, continues Alain Laforest, president of Sarmentelles, evaluating a price increase of “about 10%” this year.

The feast of "Sarmentelles" in honor of Beaujolais Nouveau.

The “Sarmentelles” festival in honor of Beaujolais Nouveau.
Photo: AFP

Around 48% of new Beaujolais produced, 94% of Gamay varietal reds, are exported, according to 2021 figures from Inter Beaujolais. Japan remains by far the main customer with 3.6 million bottles (41% of exports) ahead of the United States and the United Kingdom. Since 1951, producers of Beaujolais with an appellation contrôlée have benefited from a premature marketing date, in particular because of the shortened production process of the primeur.

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