Manoir du Carra, Beaujolais Nouveau 2021 | Beaujolais France

By Dirk Smits

Wine of the Week – Beaujolais Nouveau | November 15, 2021

At one minute past midnight on the third Thursday of each November, Beaujolais releases its highly anticipated Beaujolais Nouveau wines to the world. As far back as the 1800s, Beaujolais growers and winemakers would gather to celebrate the end of the harvest by toasting the vintage with some of the young wine produced that year. During this time, barkeepers and restaurateurs from Lyon, the biggest city in France close to the Beaujolais region, had been in the habit of buying barrels of this new Beaujolais wine that had been made in September and ready to serve in November. This once local tradition expanded to Paris in the mid-20th century, and each year winemakers raced each other to see who could get their Nouveau wines to the city first.

In 1938, regulations were put in place to restrict the where, when and how of all this carrying on. After the war years, in 1951, these regulations were revoked by the region’s governing body, the Union Interprofessionel des Vins de Beaujolais (UIVB) and the Beaujolais Nouveau was officially recognized. The late Georges Duboeuf, one of Beaujolais’ best-known wine producers, elevated Beaujolais Nouveau Day to a worldwide phenomenon in the early 1980s, and in 1985, the official release date was changed from November 15 to the third Thursday of November. It has come to symbolize a turn of the seasons and the beginning of the holidays, pairing perfectly with a Thanksgiving turkey.

The region of Beaujolais is 34 miles long and 7 to 9 miles wide. There are nearly 4,000 grape growers who make their living in this picturesque region just north of France’s third largest city, Lyon.

The hand-harvested Gamay grapes used for Beaujolais Nouveau cannot come from vineyards in the 10 crus of Beaujolais, only from the ones in the Beaujolais and Beaujolais Villages appellations which are in the flat, southern part of the region. When the grapes arrive at the winery, they undergo carbonic maceration or whole-berry fermentation. This technique preserves the fresh, fruity quality of the grapes without extracting bitter tannins from the grape skins. Not intended to age, these wines are best enjoyed within six months of release.

Manoir du Carra is located in the small town of Denice, south of Burgundy and in the heart of the Beaujolais appellation. The property dates back to 1850 and has been bequeathed from father to son for several generations. It is now owned by Jean-Noël Sambardier and his wife.

Manoir du Carra began as four hectares in 1962, but today covers over 85 acres in several appellations: Beaujolais, Beaujolais Villages, Brouilly, Juliénas, Moulin-à-Vent, Fleurie and Beaujolais Blanc. There are 50 vineyard plots that range from 50 to 100 years old.

Origin: Beaujolais, France
Varietals: 100% Gamay
Sustainability: sustainable practices
Suggested retail price: $12.00
ABV: 12.5%

The wine has a brilliant ruby color with a purple hue. The nose displays a bouquet of ripe strawberries with a touch of bananas. The palate reveals vibrant red and black fruit, spice, very light tannins and good, juicy acidity.

Suggested food pairings: salads, turkey, salmon, tapas, charcuterie, grilled sausages and vegetables, cheese.

> For more information, visit the Manoir du Carra official website.