November the 16th is Beaujolais Nouveau Time – "Le Beaujolais nouveau est arrivé!" Organized every year by the Vins de primeurs producers of the Beaujolais region, the festivities take place every 3rd Thursday of November.
The whole marketing adventure, as it is a brilliant way to promote and sell ordinary wines all over the world, started in the 50s. The Union Interprofessionnelle des Vins du Beaujolais (UIVB) came with the idea of setting up a release day for wines recently made. The idea was to sell volume over quality. Although there's good Beaujolais Nouveau, it's still a Primeur – made right after the harvesting season.
The whole idea attracter the media's attention when the same UIVB organized races to get the wine to Lyon (barrels are rolled) and Paris. In the following years, similar races were organized in various cities outside France, in Europe in the 80s and North America and Asia in the 90s.
But behind the November frenzy, the Beaujolais region offers much more than Vin Nouveau. Located in the Southern part of the Burgundy region, just North of Lyon, this area mixes obviously wine producing with a more traditional agriculture, especially cattle.
A wide network of small country roads, former railways converted and paved made it also an ideal bike touring destination – Stay tuned for the coming Frenchman Mag's 'Biking in France' future articles.
Beaujolais remains one of the most famous wine region in France where our five senses will always be tantalized...