Beaujolais Day

I don’t expect many of you need an excuse to wallow in wonderful nostalgia for a wee while on a Thursday, but this is possibly my favourite ever excuse to stop everything and pause to remember the On an Island tour, specifically one magical night in Vienne’s stunning Roman amphitheatre, the Théâtre Antique, when wine glasses were filled for a memorable, delicate introduction to ‘Shine On You Crazy Diamond’.

Thank you for bringing it all back, Beaujolais Day. Or Beaujolais Nouveau Day, to give it its full title.

The young and fruity (some might say bland) light-bodied Beaujolais Nouveau is released on the third Thursday in November, traditionally in celebration of another successful harvest, with much marketing fanfare. Made from Gamay grapes, the only grape permitted for Beaujolais – which law dictates absolutely must be hand-picked – from the picturesque Beaujolais region just north of Lyon, half of what the 4,000-odd grape-growers along this pretty 34-mile stretch produce is destined for export to Germany, Japan and the United States.

You shouldn’t take too long to drink the cheaper, much-maligned Nouveau, because it doesn’t improve with age. However, the Beaujolais-Villages varieties and, better still, the ten superior crus bearing the names of the areas where soil quality is considered to be highest, do age well and as such might better satisfy wine connoisseurs.

If, like me, you don’t have time for wine snobbery, here’s a bluffer’s guide to Beaujolais Nouveau, should you need it today.

There you have it. Beaujolais: neither expensive nor elitist, just very drinkable and perfect for sharing with friends – whether your wine glasses are for drinking out of or cleverly arranged to make a glass harp.

The chatroom is open later than usual tonight, and has just opened, so if you feel the urge to drop in to talk about wine, music, or anything else, you know where to find us. (If you don’t, please try the menu at the top.)

Author: FEd

Features Editor of David Gilmour’s official blog, The Blog (‘Features’ previously being its rather naff title), affectionately – or lazily – shortened to ‘FEd’.

29 thoughts on “Beaujolais Day”

  1. As a Beaujolais fan, may be a lover of French traditions and for sure a lover of literature you can’t miss a so French character called Bernard Pivot, very famous French journalist born in Beaujolais. Bernard has hosted a TV show, every Friday in prime time for more than 30 years, called “Apostrophe” about books and authors. There are no French people over 30 who have never seen Apostrophe, that man has strongly contributed to the book industry on this side of the channel. Well he is now retired and dedicating his life to be an ambassador of the Beaujolais wine. Why? Because although he is a cultivated man he is a simple and authentic French rural person.

    For those of you who can read French look at this.

    He says here that people who criticize Beaujolais wine are the same who celebrated it in the 70s, without even drinking it. They are snobs. I agree with his definition of the Beaujolais wine: a wine that provides simple pleasure, it used to be called a “bocce wine”, a wine to drink with friends playing bocce, you know the “petanque” (to play also drinking pastis).

    So long life to life lovers and Beaujolais drinkers.

    Au revoir.

    1. Bernard Pivot. Do you remember his famous ‘dictées’ (spelling championships)?

      I love the word ‘gouleyant’ he uses to describe Beaujolais nouveau.

    2. Oui Michele moi aussi je l’aime bien: “gouleyant”. Et tchin-tchin to you too cher Mister D! By the way talking about words I’d be interested to know the deep reason why the word “river”, that I like very much because it evokes to me calm, relax and purity, comes so often in David’s songs?

    3. Maybe it’s because ‘calm’, ‘relax’ and ‘purity’ suit David perfectly, Alexandre… 🙂

  2. Born and raised close to Vienne, huge fan of Pink Floyd and David’s solo work since I started to play guitar a decade ago, I must say the concert at the “Théatre antique” was one of the best musical moments of my life.

    I hope David will come back here and maybe with a new album. 🙂

  3. I’m more of a beer and whiskey drinker myself. But I’m always fascinated by the production, whether by fermentation, distillation, maceration or what have you, of all the various types of alcoholic beverages. And it’s good to read articles like this for when I have my wine drinking friends over.

  4. I enjoyed a bottle of Beaujolais last night. It was a Beaujolais-Villages and washed down my French omelette very nicely!

    The description recommended trying it lightly chilled with strawberries, so I might need another bottle.

  5. Any Australian Shiraz and then the most important part…14%!

    Doesn’t touch the sides on the way down…lovely!!!

  6. Aaaah, third Thursday (alliteration?!) and Beaujolais Primeur… You reminded me some long forgotten times when we used to celebrate the day with a bottle or two. Something must happened to my taste though and I do not find it so tasty any more. Maybe I’m just getting too old for young wines. 😉

    Have a nice weekend all!


  7. When it comes to wine I am afraid I am a White Zinfandel man myself.

    The only other wine I enjoy is Winter Wine by Caravan.


  8. people who criticize Beaujolais wine are the same who celebrated it in the 70s, without even drinking it. They are snobs. I agree with his definition of the Beaujolais wine: a wine that provides simple pleasure

    Very well put … I remember the days when a lot of fuss was made about the race to get the first bottles of Beaujolais to London – as indeed to get the first grouse on the “glorious 12th” (I think there would be a bit more glory in it if they didn’t use shotguns, but there you go) – and the competitive element tended to obscure the real point.

    Now that we are increasingly disconnected from our food sources, expecting all foodstuffs to be available in supermarkets year round, it is good to keep some little celebrations and festivals around food which remind us or traditions, seasonality and celebrate simple pleasures.

    I had a glass in front of the fire, ahead of some nice sirloin (ah ha, oui, nous somme tous les jours les rosbifs) and very nice it was too …

  9. Vienne, 31/07/2006… a night forever engraved in my memory. I perfectly remember David saying/joking: “Pour ça [SOYCD], nous avons besoin de verres, d’un peu de Beaujolais [huge laugh and applause from the crowd] et… d’un peu de silence”. :))

    I know that Beaujolais nouveau is considered either ‘a fruity treat’ or ‘a vin de merde’, whether you’re a simple ‘bon vivant’ or a wine ‘snobinard’ only interested in the finest and priciest grands crus.

    I say: “Le Beaujolais nouveau est arrivé” – Yippee! Let’s have fun!

    I don’t care if some grumpy people here or abroad claim it’s just a commercial/marketing/negotiant business thing, no one forces them to buy it. I don’t care either if silly Japenese people celebrate the launch of Beaujolais nouveau by bathing in it (can you believe it? And do you notice that the giant bottle is not even shaped like a Beaujolais?), I did enjoy this year again sharing with family and friends a bottle – well, maybe two 😉 – of Beaujolais nouveau called ‘Père La Grolle’, sold for 4.15 euros (about £3.50). Unpretentious, but fresh and tasty, just a nice, inexpensive – and so rare these days – opportunity of simply enjoying life…

    1. Also available in the UK from Marks & Spencer: £5.99 (£1.50 off allegedly – although how they can claim that when it only came out that day god only knows) in a plastic bottle with a screw top lid.

    2. Sorry, Marks & Spencer (and also Waitrose, I think), call me a wine snob, old-fashioned or whatever you want, but I would never drink any wine coming out of a plastic bottle with a screw top lid. Never. Glass bottles and corks are part of wine culture and romance. Also, wine stored in plastic bottles loses its flavour within six months.

      And please don’t claim – as I read on your site – that it’s more eco-friendly. Maybe plastic bottles would be better for the environment in terms of transport related emissions because they are lighter, but plastic is an environmental catastrophe. Look at the oceans full of all sorts of plastic debris. Plastic constitutes 90 percent of all trash floating in the world’s oceans. Plastic bottles take about 1000 years to disappear in the environment and are, after all, made from oil. How can this be more eco-friendly than glass which is easily recyclable?

      I think the real reason is that plastic bottles are cheaper and help maximize your profit, Marks & Spencer!

  10. That’s what Beaujolais (nouveau or not) is made for :)) :

    Beaujolais goes straight to my head
    Beaujolais puts me to shame
    And I don’t know why I’m in this place or how I came
    Beaujolais and I go crazy
    Beaujolais I can’t explain
    But it helps me to forget the past and ease the pain

    ‘Beaujolais’ – The Alan Parsons Project

    Happy wine, happy song. You have to love both. 😉

    1. Similarly there’s the one by Oui from the ‘Tales from Totally-ratted Oneophiles’ Album – Nous Sommes Beaujolais.

  11. It’s not a “nouveau” Beaujolais but there’s a Beaujolais in here (sorry Michèle, I know you’re not a huge fan of Gary Moore[‘s voice] but damn, those two were a great team!). Must say though that my favourite rendition of it is from his White Knuckles album – gosh, I’m not even sure it’s available any more.

    1. Even Roy Orbison loved Beaujolais

      “Oh girl, my heart is slipping away
      Oh girl, I love beaujolais
      I love beaujolais
      I love beaujolais
      I love beaujolais”


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