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How to Write About Beaujolais Nouveau: A Primer for Lazy Winewriting

Start things off with a sentence explaining that Beaujolais Nouveau is released the third Thursday of November. Then say that the release of the first wines of the previous vintage is a day of great joy in France.

Insert a sentence that gives Beaujolais Nouveau a sense of place and that will point the copy desk toward an easily available stock photo of French countryside. This is a good place, if applicable, to mention that you spent your Junior Year Abroad in France, and how much the French enjoy their wine, and how much it all means to you.

Now its time to bring the article back to the local scene. Mention a local wine bar or French restaurant that has a Beaujolais Nouveau promotional event. It’s good if the proprietor is French and has a drinking problem. Encourage him to wax melancholic about his home in French countryside much like that pictured in the stock photograph.

Insert a quote from the proprietor of the wine bar or French restaurant that shows how festive Beaujolais Nouveau day is, and how much it means emotionally to French people who aren’t in France any more.

Break to a new paragraph that gives some winemaking details, though only enough to show both why the wine is different and that you understand more than you’re letting on. Mention that French wine laws prescribe the grape and region from which Beaujolais Nouveau must come, so there aren’t American or Chardonnay versions.

Now you need to describe the wine itself. Explain that it’s lighter than most red wine, so white wine drinkers should be brave. Try to avoid any serious criticism no matter how awful the wine is. Remember: this is about fun. Allude to the wine’s youth and easy fruit. Mention cherries and some kind of berry that isn’t generally available on grocery store shelves. Use the word “fresh” at least twice. Remind people that it’s best to drink the wine right away, because it’s not made to last.

Insert a quote from a local wine distributor about how popular Beaujolais Nouveau is, and how they sell more and more of it every year.

Describe the scene in the wine bar or French restaurant holding the Beaujolais Nouveau promotion in such a way that it confirms what the distributor just said.

Feature a quote from a patron of the wine bar or French restaurant that is hosting the Beaujolais Nouveau promotional event. Describe the festive, mildly outrageous aspect to the patrons appearance that caused you to chose to interview her, as long as the behavior or appearance confirms how much fun Beaujolais Nouveau is. Make sure the person says something charmingly deprecating about the whole idea of Beaujolais Nouveau, which reinforces the fun aspects of the event and makes clear to everyone that you, as a writer, don’t take it too seriously.

Close with some information about where Beaujolais Nouveau can be bought and how much it is likely to cost. If you’re in a hurry and don’t have time to construct a real ending, finish by bidding everyone au revoir.


  • Wine Curmudgeon

    Which hotkey combination do you use to write this, Tom?

  • 1WineDude

    Close with embedded video of drunk people throwing up because they had too much cheap-ass, nasty wine…

  • Benito

    Credit must be given to the Montreal Gazette:

    The vin nouveau, yawn, is here

    “Don’t care? Well, neither do most Quebecers…”

    The story that isn’t getting written? That the prices of Nouveau are getting insane in some parts of the country. When it hits $15, there’s no reason not to pick a Cru Beaujolais instead. In the past two years I’ve been in situations where the Nouveau was actually more expensive than Beaujolais-Villages or a Cru. Just five years ago, when I could toss a Nouveau in the cart for seven or eight bucks, it was fun. The QPR at this point is ridiculous.

  • Tom Johnson

    Hey! I came up with this out of my own brain. I stole the format from somebody — I forget who — who wrote a great thing a while back about something — I don’t remember what.

    Also, I don’t really have anything against Beaujolais Nouveau. Most of it is bad, but most of just about anything is bad. And I like that something about wine is supposed to be simple fun.

    The cultural phenomenon amuses me. Also, my own emotions this time of year are complicated.

  • Chris


    I was afraid you were writing about me for a minute there. :)

    I did a beaujolais post on the 13th. pretty interesting how they make it. they basically put grapes in a barrel and let it go. no commercial yeast strain, no sulfites. probably the way they did it hundreds of years ago.

  • John

    We are suitably amused. Thank Charlie Olken for putting this up on his CGCW blog this morning – I’m adding LJ to my RSS reader. Always looking for good writing to steal from.