Wine again, since midnight tonight marks the release of this year’s Beaujolais Nouveau. Panned by some critics as being ‘like eating cookie dough’, enthusiasts point out that the wine should be taken on its own merits, as a light, refreshing red, supposed to be drunk young and best served a little chilled.
Whether you love it or hate it, the best thing about Beaujolais Nouveau is probably the race that takes place to get the first bottles out to markets. Although Paris was the original goal, increased marketing and a challenge sent out to Fleet Street by a Times columnist inspired other destinations. An early London race was won by the RAF in a harrier jet, while other modes of transport have apparently included elephants and hot air balloons alongside the more obvious cars and trains. Other cities around the world eagerly await their deliveries; Tokyo is a major exporter, with the Japanese now accounting for almost half of all bottles outside France, while Los Angeles hosts parties to mark the arrival of ‘Beaujolais day’. In London, the real race is now the one out to Beaujolais itself, a charity stalwart involving a cavalcade of classic cars and four-day tour of France. Not a bad bit of publicity for ‘cookie dough’ wine.