News Release Archive

N.S. LIQUOR COMMISSION--Beaujolais Nouveau Celebrates 50 Years
November is the month many people dread as heralding the start of
winter, but for wine lovers, it's the time to toast the first
wines bottled from the Northern Hemisphere's 1997 grape harvest.

Beaujolais Nouveau from Roland Bouchacourt, Georges Duboeuf,
Mommessin and Noemie Vernaux; Italy's Vino Novello from Giacomo
Montresor, and Canada's Nouveau Rouge from Jost Vineyards in Nova
Scotia will arrive at Nova Scotia Liquor Commission outlets
Thursday, Nov. 20.

Nouveau wines were introduced by the French in 1947. So this
year's release has an added air of celebration as it marks the
50th anniversary of Beaujolais Nouveau's arrival in the cafes of
Paris -- an event that raised the refreshing red wine to national
and subsequently international prominence.

Indications are this is a good year for Beaujolais. French wine
maker Georges Duboeuf describes the 1997 vintage as "flavourful
and generous . . . demonstrating a perfect harmony and, at the
same time, roundness, suppleness, charm, fruit, elegance and

Harvested less than nine weeks previous, the new wines are light
and fresh, with a fruit essence reminiscent of juicy strawberry
and raspberry. These characteristics are accentuated when the
wine is served slightly chilled.

The wines are meant to be consumed when young, often reaching
maturity by the Christmas holidays, "making them perfect stocking
stuffers," said Peter Rockwell, NSLC market analyst.

It's the carbonic maceration method of fermentation that makes
the wines so lively and aromatic.

"To minimize the acid and tannin, and increase youthful fruit,
the juice must avoid prolonged exposure to the outer grape skin,"
said Mr. Rockwell. "Great care is taken not to damage the fruit,
so that fermentation can be encouraged to occur within the skin."

During the carbonic maceration process, the grapes are not
pressed. Whole bunches, including stocks, are placed in
stainless-steel vats. The weight of the upper bunches crushes
those below, while natural or added yeasts start the fermentation
of the exposed juice.

Carbon dioxide, a product of fermentation, starts to rise to the
top of the vat. The expanding gas exerts downward pressure,
forcing yeast through the skins of the unbroken grapes and
initiating fermentation from within. Ultimately, the pressure
causes the remaining grapes to burst.

While normal unpressurized maceration takes 10 to 12 days,
carbonic maceration requires only  about 48 hours, with the
extracted juice creating a wine with a full berry hue and velvety
fruit flavour.

"Some consider the Nouveau experience to be promotional hype, but
it is so much more than that," said Mr. Rockwell.

"Though not a true barometer of the vintage as a whole, regional
macro-climates make that impossible. These wines have an
identifiable personality that transcends their lightweight
reputation," he said.

"Furthermore, they provide a yearly infusion of wine awareness,
which often acts as a catalyst for many wine drinkers to discover
the attributes of red wine. They also provide a perfect
opportunity to talk about wine and a chance to celebrate as the
reality of winter sets in."


Contact: Peter Rockwell
         Nova Scotia Liquor Commission

ngr                  Nov. 18, 1997                9:15 a.m.