Beaujolais nouveau makes annual splash

17th November 2005, Comments 0 comments

LYON, France, Nov 17 (AFP) - From Chicago to China and from Paris to Peru, the annual French event that is the unveiling of the latest Beaujolais nouveau took place Thursday to the clink of wine glasses around the world.

LYON, France, Nov 17 (AFP) - From Chicago to China and from Paris to Peru, the annual French event that is the unveiling of the latest Beaujolais nouveau took place Thursday to the clink of wine glasses around the world.

In Beaujeu, the capital of the southeastern French region that makes the light red beverage, barrels were pierced with solemnity at midnight as experts pressed forward to swirl and swill and sally forth with their opinions of the 2005 product.

"Structured and mature," some said. "Deep, long in the mouth and high in colour," judged others.

"Real wine lovers are maybe going to be a little disappointed because it's less frivolous, drinkable and light than in certain years, but it's a real wine with a potential to age several months or even years," was the considered verdict from Frédéric Schaff, the secretary of the region's sommeliers' association.

Japan -- the first to get a taste of the drop because of its time zone -- was, as usual, expected to be the biggest importer of the wine. Industry figures estimated that it swallowed 45 percent of the output sent abroad last year.

But, for the first time, China also put on a party to greet the uncorking of Beaujolais bottles, some of the several hundred thousand transported around the world since November 7.

Revelry took place in Beijing and Shanghai, as well as in supermarkets owned by the French chain Carrefour.

"China is a big future market, along with India, where a middle class is developing and appreciating French products," the head of the region's wine professional association, Michel Bosse-Platiere, told AFP.

The United States, the third-biggest importer of the plonk after Japan and Germany, was also to see in the French tradition with special evenings in Franco-American chambers of commerce and in Alliance Française schools.

In Beaujeu, the festivity took on an almost medieval tone with a procession of flaming torches and carts carrying burning vine-shoots preceding the tasting.

"The new wine is less sugary than in 2003, when we had the heatwave and when the Beajolais nouveau had a real fruity taste making it easy to drink," said a wine-seller from nearby Lyon, Erica Vavro.

"But it's much more balanced, complex and interesting."

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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