Yesterday – Thursday, November 15th – was a totally French holiday. Not the kind of holiday that gets you out of work but the kind that warrants drinking wine just because. It was Beaujolais Nouveau Day, which is the day – always the third Thursday of November – when that year’s vintage of Beaujolais Nouveau wine is released. The wine is released for sale at exactly one minute past midnight on Thursday, but most of the drinking really gets underway on Thursday evening, presumably because everyone still has to work during the day.
I first heard about the holiday while skimming lists of things to do in Paris in November. At first I was lukewarm (or, shall we say, room temperature like a fine red wine) for two reasons:
- I wasn’t really sure where to go, and
- Beaujolais Nouveau doesn’t have a great reputation. It’s a super young wine (it ages for only three weeks) so the flavor isn’t particularly rich, and it doesn’t have a long shelf-life either (up to six months). Not exactly a ringing endorsement.
I decided it wasn’t that important to participate. But then, as November 15th approached, I started noticing signs everywhere. Every wine shop and a number of bistros were advertising the Beaujolais Nouveau – tagline: il arrive! it is coming! – and Spotify started playing me Beaujolais Nouveau ads. I began wondering if maybe Colin and I should participate after all. The clincher came when Colin’s collaborator – and self-proclaimed wine connoisseur – Anthony mentioned that his neighborhood wine shop would be hosting a tasting with live music, and would we like to join him?
If Beaujolais Nouveau was good enough for Anthony, it was definitely good enough for us.
So last night Colin, Anthony, and I celebrated a random Thursday by drinking a totally mediocre red wine with a bunch of other people of all ages who seemed excited about it. It was fun and festive, but what makes this holiday so confusing to me is this: you never need an excuse to drink wine in the middle of the day or the week in France. So even though I’m not exactly sure what we were celebrating, join me in raising a glass of whatever you’ve got nearby—to Beaujolais Nouveau! To the end of the week! To wine! Santé!