Cheers! this year's Beaujolais Nouveau has arrived

Flick'r/CC/Jeff Cutler

Thousands of Beaujolais wine lovers gathered at midnight on Wednesday night in the eastern French home town of Beaujeu to sample the Beaujolais 2014 vintage.


"A little acidic" said Daniel, 60, after his first sip.

"We know it's not the best on offer but above all we come for the ambiance" said the Frenchman who makes the pilgrimage to Beajeu every year to take part in the event.

At midnight a bash of the mallet on a barrel was the signal to start the proceedings: "The Beaujolais Nouveau has arrived!" and the weeks-old Beaujolais gushed into the glasses of the fans.

Eight hours earlier, Tokyo celebrated the 2014 vintage.

Last year, Japan imported 7.9 million bottles of Beaujolais Nouveau, in comparison to 1.8 million in the United States and 730.000 in Germany. 

"There are 2,000 producers in Beaujolais", said producer Claire Chasselay, "all small operators, who all make their wine differently".

Beaujolais was once mass produced with no care for quality - the wine was even banana-flavoured because of the type of yeast used.

"But this is no longer used" said Melina Condy, another producer, "Beaujolais has now alight and fruity flavour", but this depends on the winemakers.

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