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Beaujolais Nouveau is a style of young, fresh wine produced in the Beaujolais region, adjacent to Burgundy, France. Every year, these are released on the third Thursday of November, with much fanfare that “Les Beaujolais Nouveau est arrivé!!!” What began as a local tradition in the 19th century, made popular in Parisian cafés in the 1950s, has become an actual race for worldwide distribution. Every method of transportation imaginable has been used to ensure arrival by midnight of that Thursday (to release any time before is strictly prohibited), and its many fans can open a fresh bottle that very day. This style accounts for nearly half the entire region’s annual output. 

To get technical, this a primeur style of wine, which simply means that it is released between its harvest date and the following spring. It’s not uncommon in other parts of the world, but Beaujolais Nouveau is the most popular and sought after. But isn’t wine supposed to age a bit to round flavors and smooth out tannins? Well, the process has a way of getting around that, albeit with some structural sacrifice. 
The process by which they are made is called carbonic maceration. In this case, whole grapes of the Gamay variety are fermented in a sealed container with carbon dioxide. The CO2 gets into the grapes, creating a chemical process which basically speed-ferments the juice while it’s still inside the berry (instead of after crushing). The grapes on the bottom of the container split from the weight and ferment naturally. 
The result are red and sometimes rosé (but never white) wines with candied cherry, ripe plum and even cotton candy or bubble gum-like flavors. Very fruity and accessible. But since the tannins and usual grape structure are mostly removed by this process, these are meant to be consumed upon release and won’t keep for long aging. 
– Description from Amanda Schuster

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