With one bottle sold every 1.44 seconds in the first two hours of trading this morning, this year’s Beaujolais Nouveau release is breaking all records at Majestic, the UK’s number one specialist wine retailer. And it’s a trend which looks set to continue as interest in the region continues to grow.
For decades, winelovers putting down the seats of their coupés and heading to the continent was an annual November tradition. The last Thursday of the month was set aside for a trip to France – the Beaujolais Nouveau race – to stock up on the earliest wine release of the year.
Whilst lockdown has meant that even the hardiest Beaujolais fan cannot make the trip this year, devotees have instead taken to their laptops and local Majestic stores to stock up.
Although not for everyone (a poll on Majestic’s twitter today received a 60-40% split in favour of Nouveau), the sense of ceremony and fun still remains for some – not least for the retro, chic qualities of this iconic eighties wine. However, there’s more to the region than this once-a-year release.
Beaujolais as a wider category has been one of the unexpected hits of 2020, with sales during lockdown up over 70% like for like at Majestic (between April – September). Majestic’s Beaujolais Buyer, Nadia Williamson, believes its a renaissance which is well overdue: “For many people, Beaujolais Nouveau may be the only time they experience these gamay-based reds from Northern France. But what we’ve seen this year is more customers opting for the more ‘serious’ wines of the region too – and we’ve had success with whites from the region this year. If you go to cru level there’s greater variety to uncover than you might expect too, from the elegant lighter Fleurie to the more robust, age-worthy Morgon. They’re also great chilled or with lighter dishes,” explains Williamson.
“Made in limited quantities every year, customers will need to be quick to get hold of this year’s Nouveau crop given the rush. But Beaujolais as a whole shows signs of going from strength to strength. It’s certainly one to consider for your Christmas table and my pick would be Lucien Lardy’s Morgon, which makes a fantastic pairing for turkey or nut roast. We’ve even listed our first ever £30+ Beaujolais and, unlike the Nouveau, they can even stick around for a while on your wine rack,” she adds.