From November 17 to 21, wine is celebrating in Burgundy and Beaujolais. Kick-off Thursday 17 at midnight with the traditional Beaujolais Nouveau which brings together, from Beaujeu to Tokyo and from Paris to Sydney, lovers of this wine in a most convivial atmosphere. People come as much (if not more) for the celebration as for the wine. The following weekend, in the Beaune region, a change of atmosphere with the very chic Hospices sale and the folklore Trois Glorieuses. Purely Burgundian traditions, but renowned among connoisseurs around the world. Enough to restore color to the grayness of November!
Beaujolais Nouveau (November 17)
It is one of the most famous French traditions around the world. Every third Thursday in November at midnight, the time has come to cry out “Beaujolais Nouveau has arrived” and, above all, to taste it. From Vancouver to Tokyo, via Milan and Moscow, and of course throughout France, the atmosphere will be, as usual, very hot on November 17th just after midnight, as soon as the first bottles open. It will be at Lyon, Tarare and Beaujeu, in Beaujolais, that the new wine will be the most awaited with the feast of gourmet Beaujolais and Sarmentelles.
But, by the way, what are you going to drink? Beaujolais Nouveau is made from a single grape variety: Gamay noir à jus blanc. It is this exclusive grape variety which constitutes the raw material of the twelve appellations of the region (which each occupy a territory delimited by decree) and allows them to develop a modest flavor in tannins and rich in small fruit aromas. Very fruity wines, bright garnet with a general note of raspberry, easy to drink and light.
With 375 hectoliters, Beaujolais Nouveau represents a third of the total production of the vineyard, the remaining two thirds being made up of Beaujolais and Beaujolais Villages, as well as the ten vintages such as Brouilly, Juliénas or Morgon.
The tradition of Beaujolais Nouveau dates back to 1951. Until then, the sale of AOC wines was strictly regulated. The new cuvées were not to be marketed before December 15th. A decree dated November 13, 1951 put an end to this rule. Consequently, the regions producing wines for early consumption obtain authorization to immediately market their wines on the market. The early wines can then set out to conquer the country, with Beaujolais Nouveau in mind. The celebration of Beaujolais Nouveau quickly became popular, first in the Lyon region, then throughout France.
It was not until 1985 that the Beaujolais Nouveau festival was set for the third Thursday in November, at midnight. The date must be strictly observed (including time zones) throughout the planet.
Because since the 1980s, this emblematic wine of a certain French conviviality has been celebrated across Europe, in the United States and Canada, in Brazil, in South-East Asia, in Australia, but also in China. and in Japan.
Today the success of Beaujolais is such that 90 million bottles are exported to 140 different countries, of which the most fond are, in order of importance: Germany, Switzerland, the United States, Japan, Benelux and Canada. Finally, when exporting, know that “Beaujolais Nouveau has arrived” is said to be “It's Beaujolais Nouveau Time”. Marketing has struck again!
Hospices de Beaune sale (from November 18 to 20)
Another place, other wines, another atmosphere… The sale of Hospices de Beaune rather gives in the wine of exception than in the libation between friends. This regional tradition has made it possible for a long time to treat the sick at the famous Hospices de Beaune, which has owned 60 hectares of first-class vines since the 4th century. Today, the funds collected during this charity sale are used to maintain hospitals. Last year, the operation brought in nearly XNUMX million euros.
It all begins the third Saturday in November with a wine tasting, open to the public. The sale of the vintages of the year takes place the next day: it is done by pieces or set of pieces of 228 liters. It takes place in the magnificent halls of Beaune, opposite the Hôtel-Dieu.
The sale attracts buyers from all over the world, as well as a crowd of curious people. Throughout the weekend, popular activities accompany the event, such as the half-marathon, street shows, tastings, banquets, a bottle uncorking competition and a fun fair.
If you are in Beaune this weekend, do not miss the 139th "General Exhibition of the great wines of Burgundy" which takes place at the Palais des Congrès. Nearly 1 producers present their wines there. All of wine-growing Burgundy, from Chablis to Beaujolais, from the Côte Chalonnaise to the Mâconnais, without forgetting of course the Côtes de Nuits and Beaune are found there with more than 500 bottles representing 10 different wines! The winegrowers created this event in order to introduce merchants to the vintages of the year. But the show is not just for professionals. After paying an entrance fee of 000 € (glass and catalog included), the tasting is free, even for ordinary people. Something to delight fans ...
Tastevin and Paulée de Meursault (November 19 and 21)
The sale of the Hospices de Beaune is one of the events that make up the "Three Glorious", three events which in mid-November pay homage to Burgundy wine traditions. The other two are more confidential, as we only attend by invitation or reservation. They are nonetheless part of local traditions.
Saturday November 19, Clos de Vougeot welcomes the Chapter of the Brotherhood of Tastevins. Since 1934, this is a banquet that has brought together the “tastevins”, a Bacchic brotherhood of Burgundy lovers from all over the world. The brotherhood is dressed in purple and gold in the Rabelaisian fashion, and receives various personalities of honor from the political, literary, artistic and scientific worlds. These are enthroned after a ritual and burlesque ceremony during which they learn about their duties as future knights. They must swear loyalty to the wine of France and more particularly to the wine of Burgundy! The brotherhood selects wines by tasting them blind. Their bottles will bear a numbered label bearing the arms of the Knights of Tastevin. A guarantee of quality…
A few kilometers further, it is Meursault that the celebrations continue, the day after the sale of the Hospices. Monday November 21, the Paulée de Meursault closes the Three Glorious Days. This is a gastronomic banquet that revives the great tradition of late-harvest meals. The Château de Meursault welcomes nearly 700 wine lovers and producers of great Burgundies who bring their (divine) bottles. To attend, you register one year in advance with the Paulée de Meursault association and the meal costs approximately € 120.
During the day, a writer is awarded the Paulée de Meursault prize for his love of Burgundy and its wines. The lucky winner leaves, of course, with some great wines. Pierre Schœndorffer, Erik Orsenna, Amélie Nothomb and the Canadian Denise Bombardier are among the last winners of this Goncourt de la Côte de Beaune.
To prepare your stay, consult our Burgundy sheet.
On the Web
The official Beaujolais website
The Beaujolais region and its different terroirs
To find out about the Gourmet Beaujolais Festival in Tarare.
An information site on Sarmentelles de Beaujeu
The official website of the Hospices de Beaune
Beaune tourist office website
The website of the Meursault tourist office
The website of the Burgundy tourist office
The website of the Confrérie des Tastevins de Bourgogne
Site dedicated to Burgundy wines