Beaujolais Nouveau is a young red wine made from handpicked Gamay grapes grown in the Beaujolais region of France, where the beverage accounts for half of the region's production. While most red wines improve with age, Beaujolais Nouveau is all about freshness. Many producers, including regional giant Georges Duboeuf, race to deliver the first of the vintage to celebrations throughout France and the world.
Under French law, the wine may be released at 12:01 a.m. on the third Thursday of November, just weeks after the wine's grapes have been harvested. Fermentation is so short that the resulting wine exhibits fruity flavors and light tannins. Beaujolais Nouveau should be consumed right away (or within a year of being made), and is best served slightly cooled. Nearly half of the wine's 70-million-bottle production is exported abroad, mainly to Japan, Germany and the United States (where it is popularly enjoyed with Thanksgiving dinner).