This coming Thursday is Beaujolais Nouveau Day – the first day the new vintage of light fruity red wine from the Beaujolais region can be released, according to French law.

This young, easy drinking wine made from the gamay grape has enjoyed immense popularity in the U.S.. That would be fine, except that it’s done to the reputation of Beaujolais what white zinfandel did to dry rosé. When people think of Beaujolais, they think of a simple wine to be gulped at holiday parties but not to be taken seriously.

What many people don’t realize is that there are high-quality producers making serious – and seriously good – Beaujolais in ten distinct Cru villages in the region. This is wine that’s meant to be savored and appreciated – and aged more than a few months.

Tim Varan of Central Florida’s Tim’s Wine Market chain says comparing Beaujolais Nouveau to cru Beaujolais is “as fair a comparison as Iberico jamon is to deli ham.”

Cru Beaujolais happens to be one of my favorite types of wine, and it’s been making a resurgence in recent years. It will be an uphill climb, just as it was when dry rosé began its comeback as a respected wine category.

But I think it’s a good sign that no fewer than three Orlando-area wine establishments are using Beaujolais Nouveau Day as an opportunity to showcase serious Beaujolais. Details are on the Events Calendar for November 16.

If you’ve never tried cru Beaujolais, do yourself a favor and swing by Swirlery or Tim’s in Orlando or Lake Mary Thursday. I doubt you’ll be disappointed.

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