New Release: Beaujolais-Style Wine
For the past few years, we’ve been working diligently behind the scenes and perfecting a brand new wine for our La Crema lineup: the Red Wine Nouveau! It’s our homage to the classic Beaujolais Nouveau! This may be a newbie to our portfolio, but it’s a classic in the wine world, and we are certain it’s going to become one of your go-to faves for party hopping, Thursday-night dinners, and football Sundays. From its bright aromatics to its sinfully smooth finish, we have outdone ourselves with this latest wine. Continue on to learn more about what Beaujolais Nouveau is, how it’s made, and how we have reimagined this traditionally French wine as our own. But first, let’s cover how to pronounce it: Beaujolais (boh-ju-lay) Nouveau (new-voe).
2023 Saralee’s Vineyard Red Wine Nouveau
$35.00 | $28 for Wine Club Members
Voila! Now we can get into the nitty-gritty details of this delectable wine.
What is Beaujolais Nouveau?
Beaujolais Nouveau is a young, fruity red wine made from the Gamay grape, specifically grown in the Beaujolais region of France. It’s released every year on the third Thursday of November. It is made using a unique winemaking method known as carbonic maceration, which contributes to its distinctive characteristics of fresh, vibrant, and fruit-forward flavors. Like Champagne, it can only be called Beaujolais if it’s made in the Beaujolais region of France. Otherwise, you can call it delicious wine.
What is the carbonic maceration method?
There are two different techniques to this method that gives Beaujolais Nouveau its unique characteristics. The first technique is called carbonic maceration. This method works its magic by fermenting whole grape clusters in an oxygen-deprived vessel filled with CO2. This process allows the juice to mingle and ferment naturally within the grape. Once the alcohol levels reach around 2%, the juice breaks free when the skins split open.
The second technique is the partial carbonic maceration method. Like the carbonic maceration technique, winemakers fill a vessel with whole-cluster grapes, but instead of filling the vessel with CO2, they rely on the weight of the grapes at the top of the vessel to crush the grapes at the bottom. This releases the juice from the bottom grapes. The juice then ferments and creates CO2, kick-starting the fermentation within the uncrushed grapes.
Both of these methods prevent the development of tannins and other compounds that red wine is typically known for. The outcome? A lighter and more vibrant wine with flavors of strawberry, bubblegum, and bananas as well as a beautiful bright hue. It’s the ideal red wine for white wine drinkers looking for something similar in texture to a refreshing white, and it is a great option for red wine drinkers looking for something less weighty but with vibrant, red fruit flavors.
Is La Crema’s Red Wine Nouveau made from Gamay grapes and in Beaujolais?
How amazing would it be if we could pick up our operation and plop it in the middle of Beaujolais France? We would be the first ones in line for the official kick-off celebration (more on that to come)! Although we’d love the opportunity, we’d miss Sonoma and the amazing fruit that grows here, so we created the next best solution: we’re using the Gamay clone of Pinot Noir grown in our home state. Since Pinot is our thing, why change it up?
What is a Pinot Noir clone?
Pinot Noir is the diva of grapes. It’s very particular about the temperature, climate, and soil it grows in. However, even if its growing demands are met, it may still throw a tantrum. That means when Pinot Noir cuttings are propagated in an ideal Pinot Noir terroir, it may throw a slight tantrum in the form of changing its characteristics like color, flavor, and aromas (all the key things that make a varietal unique). Simply put, it’s these character changes that create a new clone. Currently, there are over 1,000 registered Pinot Noir clones. Each clone has distinct characteristics — like the Gamay clone used for our homage to Beaujolais Nouveau. This clone has characteristics our winemaker was looking for to create a wine similar in style, texture, and flavor to that of Beaujolais Nouveau.
Does that mean this La Crema “homage” is Pinot Noir?
Yes! We took the Gamay clone and blended it with other Pinot Noir clones that had specific qualities to create a style that is very similar to grapes used in France. Just like traditional Beaujolais Nouveau, we then used the partial carbonic maceration method and bottled the wine just a few weeks after we picked the grapes. This wine is so fresh that by the time we started writing this blog, the fruit hadn’t been picked yet. Hopefully, by the time you’re done reading this, you’ll be planning to celebrate Beaujolais Nouveau Day with a bottle of La Crema’s Red Wine Nouveau.
What is Beaujolais Nouveau Day?
Beaujolais Nouveau Day is the day dedicated to the release of the newest vintage of Beaujolais Nouveau.
By French law, the wine cannot be released any earlier than the third Thursday of November. So, when the clock strikes 12:01 am on that day, Beaujolais makes its grand entrance to the general public accompanied by parades, parties, pouring, and pairing!
There are over 120 different celebrations throughout the Beaujolais region of France! Les Sarmentelles is one of the most iconic Beaujolais Nouveau festivals. It is held in the true capital of Beaujolais in the usually sleepy village of Beaujeu. It’s a five-day event that begins the day before the release, so when 12:01am comes around, everyone is already gathered and can immediately start tasting. The celebration includes live music, vineyard tours, craft fairs, dancing, and an overall good time.
How can I throw a Beaujolais Nouveau Day party?
Because not everyone can get out to a small French village the week before Thanksgiving, you can always create your own Beaujolais Nouveau party.
With Beaujolais Nouveau being a light, fruity, fun wine, it deserves an equally easy-going, lively party. Don’t overthink it, and don’t overdo it. Keep it simple with decorations and keep it fun with alternative stemware. Pull out all your over-the-top, kitschy glasses you can find and display them for your guests to pick from. Don’t have kitschy glasses? You can use mugs or quirky wine glass markers to help encourage a casual, fun, and social environment.
Make space for a dance floor and put together a French-pop playlist. For your wallflower guests, make sure you have a comfortable sitting area where they can easily chat with other low-key partygoers. As for food, do as the French do and keep it appetizer style with charcuterie boards, dainty franks, and an array of cheeses.
If you really want to go the extra mile, throw the party on the third Thursday of November.
Should I age the Red Wine Nouveau?
Traditional Beaujolais Nouveau is designed to drink immediately. Ideally you want to open a bottle within six months. Our Nouveau is designed to be drunk anytime within 1-3 years. That means you can open a bottle the moment you get it, and you can keep a couple around for a few years. Both will taste equally good. Our preference is to sip it French style and drink it the moment it’s released.
Time to Start Planning
Now that you have the history of Beaujolais Nouveau and how it’s celebrated, you can recreate your own experience with La Crema’s Red Wine Nouveau. Whether you join us for our release event, throw your own party on the third Thursday of November, or open a bottle to kick back and relax with a glass before the chaos of the holidays begins, the one definitive thing we can guarantee is that you’ll absolutely love it!
Beaujolais Nouveau Day Celebration
at La Crema
Thursday, November 16; 2:00-6:00 p.m.
Sip like the French do and taste this season’s harvest wine mere weeks after we picked the fruit. The Red Wine Nouveau is La Crema’s newest wine and is our homage to the French classic Beaujolais Nouveau. Come celebrate with us at the release event on Beaujolais Nouveau Day on November 16th from 2pm to 6pm. Enjoy traditional French music, baguettes, and Brie while you get first access to taste and purchase the newest wine to the La Crema portfolio. Salut!