Gamay-zing: Four Beaujolais Nouveau parties in Beijing and Shanghai

Keep it simple and fun, says Carre

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By Nicolas Carre

That time of year is here again: the launch of Beaujolais Nouveau.

For some, the parties are a novelty and a chance to raise a few glasses with friends. For others, they are seen as a tedious annual marketing event that promotes unsophisticated wine. My view is that this wine is made for simple enjoyment and should be approached that way.

Beaujolais Nouveau is made via carbonic maceration, a technique that emphasizes the fruitiness of the Gamay grapes but not the tannins of their skins. This results in a light and soft wine.

In French, we call it “gouleyant“, which means easy to drink and pleasing to a variety of palates. Expect to find strawberry, banana and licorice aromas but not a lot of body or tannins.

Since 1985, the official release for this wine has been the third Thursday of November. This year, that means Thursday, November 15. The wine is not available before that time and is typically flown to China and the rest of the world just a few days ahead of the launch. That partly explains the high price of this wine in China.

Here a few places in China celebrating the arrival of Beaujolais Nouveau this Thursday.

Beijing

French Cultural Center, Workers Stadium West, 18:30 to 22:00
Beaujolais Nouveau and other French wines at rmb5 per glass. Get cheese and charcuteries and a half-bottle of Beaujolais Nouveau for rmb200.

Novotel Sanyuanqiao, from 19:00
Organized by the young professionals of the French Chamber of Commerce, the event will have Beaujolais Nouveau and a large selection of French wines from rmb10 per glass. The entrance is rmb80 and includes a buffet.

Zun Wine Club, Workers Stadium East (besides Jasmine restaurant), from 19:30
The rmb80 entrance fee includes two glasses of Beaujolais Nouveau. [Note: If you go, mention this blog, Grape Wall of China, at the door and get a third glass for free.]

Shanghai

The Cube, 00:01 AM
Be first to drink Beaujolais Nouveau in China by raising a glass just after the stroke of midnight. Price per bottle: rmb250.

One of the key sources of Beaujolais Nouveau remains George Duboeuf, which will ship almost 16,500 bottles to its partner FWP (French Wine Paradox) in China this year. Bottles will be available in Carrefour at rmb198, a price unchanged since 2007. Another key supplier is Joseph Drouhin, which is distributed in China by Torres.

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