Before Harry Potter book signing parties, there were other parties, wine parties, that came more frequently than those of the Harry Potter variety. They came every 3rd Thursday in November to be precise. And the tradition lives on.... Just one week before Thanksgiving stacks of the colorful Georges Duboeuf's famous Beaujolais Nouveau are sent out to wine shops from Beaujolais, France (think Southern Burgundy where Pinot Noir thrives). Wondered what it is? Beaujolais is a wine made from a grape called Gamay. The Nouveau style is made through a fermentation process called carbonic maceration and is released super-duper fresh, i.e. from harvest to bottle to market within mere weeks! It is intended consumers drink this wine young, and certainly no longer than 6 months. Why? Well, Gamay is a low-tannin varietal, which makes it optimal for those who prefer a light-styled, fruity, fruity wine. But even with it's naturally high acidity (another "age-worthy" component for wine), the fact that the wine goes through carbonic maceration hurts the wine's natural ability to age.

The hoopla of this catch-and-release process began in the late 1800s. Locals recognized this light-styled red wine was perfect for the transition between seasons and the unofficial 'switch' from white to red wine drinking - and they made a party of it (just imagine! pitchers of wine from the barrels were on offer!!) while the more grand Beaujolais wines were still working their mojo and evolving. The French government decided to reign in the revelry a little bit in 1938 and then in 1951 declared the "3rd Thursday in November" rule.

I don't mean to mislead you, however. Georges Duboeuf isn't the only producer of Beauojolais Nouveau; he's just the most famous because he produces so much of the stuff. Regardless who's Nouveau you select to sip, expect tooty-fruity red berry flavors. It's not my bag, though I have come to appreciate Beaujolais/Gamay when on offer from one of the premiere villages where the wine hasn't been quite as fast-tracked, e.g. Moulin-a-Vent, Morgon, Fleurie and Brouilly. Those wines tend to offer a bit more complexity - a touch of earth, a touch more depth, and a touch of tannin to offset all of that boisterous fruit! Their light style, much like Pinot Noir, is indeed a great complement to your turkey dinner.

So the question is... will you Nouveau?