Last month I bought six bottles of Beaujolais, and since I was planning to have it with my friends, naturally I did some research on the wine. The main goal was to find out how should you drink Beaujolais to get the most out of its fantastic flavors.
To drink Beaujolais, you should serve it at a slightly chilled temperature. Drink it within six months from the bottling date since the wine’s sweetness fades with time, resulting in a tart and dry taste. It pairs well with heavy, spicy dishes, seafood, vegetables, and fruit.
This article will describe how to get the best flavor out of Beaujolais and when to drink it. Read on for more information on these and insights into some of the food pairings worth trying out when drinking this wine.
You should serve Beaujolais wine when it is chilled and fresh and pair it with fruit, vegetable, fish, or pork dishes with bold or spicy flavors. Also, you should drink the wine as soon as you open the bottle.
While you can drink it slightly cooled, avoid drinking Beaujolais ice cold since that would mute its flavor. So, keep it refrigerated, but never ice it.
Beaujolais is an ideal choice for a picnic, especially in the springtime. It’s refreshing and tasty with fresh fruit flavors you won’t find in other wines, so it goes well with any meal involving fruits or vegetables. Beaujolais can take your meal to the next level when paired with shellfish or pork dishes.
Here are some food pairings you could try out to get the most out of your Beaujolais:
- Groundnut stew: A West African dish that goes perfectly with a glass of Beaujolais.
- Grilled seafood: With its light and acidic taste, you can easily pair this wine with shellfish and other types of fish.
- Grilled veal chops: The fruitiness of the wine helps to enhance the flavors of your meat dishes.
- Lamb curry: Beaujolais Goes well with most bold dishes, so it’s perfect for those who love Indian food!
You should drink Beaujolais when the wine is only one year old and within 6 to 12 months of bottling. The wine does not age well, so it’s best to drink it within one year of manufacturing for the sweetest taste.
Also, you shouldn’t keep your Beaujolais for more than two years since its flavor will begin to deteriorate, making it dry and tart.
Beaujolais is typically fruity with a smooth finish. It has raspberry flavors, along with bright aromas of strawberry and cherry. Since it’s not too strong, you can drink Beaujolais for any occasion – even if you’re drinking alone!
If you want to try this wine out but are unsure of where to start, look for Beaujolais Nouveau. Released every November, this wine is specifically made to be consumed immediately after bottling.
That said, the taste of Beaujolais deteriorates with age. As I mentioned, this wine has low tannin levels.
A study published in the Biochimie Journal points out that tannin helps wine age well by slowing down the oxidation of alcohols, fruit acids, and phenolic compounds. These effects give older red wines their desirable characteristics of being “complex” and “rounded.”
Since Beaujolais doesn’t have enough tannin to protect its taste over time, it’s best to consume it within six months or so of bottling.
Tip: Be sure to check for manufacturing dates so you know how long ago your Beaujolais was bottled. Most Beaujolais wines are best within 6-12 months of bottling. Although some such as the Cru Beaujolais can last up to 10 years, most Beaujolais wines are best enjoyed within the first year.
Related Article: Top 8 Beaujolais Wines You Can Buy
You should drink Beaujolais slightly chilled at about 55°F (13°C) as a rule of thumb. Generally, this wine is lean, so chilling it helps bring out its flavors.
You should chill Beaujolais Nouveau for the best flavor. If you are drinking Beaujolais Nouveau or a Beaujolais-Villages, it is best served slightly chilled at about 55 – 57° F (13 – 14° C). However, you shouldn’t drink this wine ice cold since that would mute its fruity flavors.
These wines are ideal for picnics and outdoor summer events where you’ll need refreshing red wines that don’t taste too strong. If possible, keep your bottle of Beaujolais in the fridge for 15 minutes maximum before serving.
Cru Beaujolais is usually fuller-bodied than other Beaujolais wines, so it goes well with heavier, meatier dishes. It’s best served at room temperature or slightly chilled at about 59 – 63°F (15 – 17°C).
Here’s a table that summarizes the ideal temperatures to serve the different varieties of Beaujolais:
|Variety of Beaujolais||Recommended Serving Temperature|
|Beaujolais Nouveau||55 – 57°F (13 – 14°C)|
|Beaujolais Villages||55 – 57°F (13 – 14°C)|
|Beaujolais Crus||59 – 63°F (15 – 17°C)|
|Any Beaujolais older than 3 years||63°F (17°C)|
Key Takeaway: Beaujolais is best at 55°F (13°C) or slightly chilled, but you shouldn’t keep it too cold. That’s because the wine might lose its freshness and aromas if it gets colder than that, so ensure you drink it within 10-15 minutes after refrigeration.
As I mentioned, you shouldn’t store Beaujolais for more than 15 minutes in the fridge. So, what happens when you buy several bottles in November but want to save some for the following year? How do you preserve this wine for that special occasion?
Here are a few storage tips for when you buy your Beaujolais during or after the November release:
- Make sure to store your wine in a place where it will not be exposed to any light. Since oxidation is one factor that affects wines’ taste, illuminating your bottle can reduce its value in just a few hours.
- Keep your Beaujolais in a room with thick walls and a baked earth floor. Storing your wine correctly will help maintain its freshness and character for at least one year. A wine cellar with these conditions is ideal if you have one.
- Store your wine in a humid environment. The wine experts at Wine Spectator suggest storing your Beaujolais in a basement or an area where the temperature is stable, dark, and 50-80% relative humidity. You can do this by placing a bowl of water in the room.
- Check the temperature regularly. Keep your Beaujolais between 55 – 57°F (13 – 14°C), the ideal temperature range for storing this wine. I recommend using this Antarctic Star Wine Cabinet from Amazon.com for the best results. It allows you to customize the temperature, besides coming with an airtight seal and reinforced glass to keep humidity levels optimum for storing wine.
Caution: Although humidity helps preserve wine, be sure to keep your Beaujolais away from water since that will affect the quality of the cork. Any dampness can also cause mold or mildew to grow in your storage area.
So when should you drink your Beaujolais? You can drink it any time from December to April, so it’s great for holidays and springtime get-togethers. Drink your Beaujolais slightly chilled for the best results, and don’t keep it too long.
As I mentioned, Beaujolais is best the first year and preferable within six months after bottling. However, if you prefer to keep it longer than that, ensure you follow the storage tips I suggested. Just a caveat, though– it may not taste as good as when it’s fresh.