Beaujolais suffers from pigeon-holed image

on 18/11/10 at 11:24 am


Japanese women toast the 2010 vintage Beaujolais Nouveau wine in Tokyo on November 18 after the embargo on the wine was removed at midnight (Photo: AFP)

In what has become a global wine ritual, just after midnight on the third Thursday of November, corks began popping around the world, starting in Japan, celebrating this year’s newly harvested Beaujolais.

Made from the Gamay Noir grape, the light tipple with a hint of banana, best served slightly chilled, has become a global marketing phenomenon and is one of the few wines allowed under French law to be sold during its year of harvest.

But overproduction, variable quality and the arrival of other ‘primeurs’ – “new vintages” – have led to sales halving in the past five years to around 36 million bottles in 2010. Meanwhile, discerning drinkers often dismiss the drink as little better than glorified grape juice.

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