It might have seemed a flash in the pan last year, but Beaujolais Nouveau rosé may well be here to stay.
Last year, three or four producers released a very small quantity of Beaujolais Nouveau rosé.
This year, at least 15 co-operatives and several producers including Castel Frères and Georges Duboeuf have doubled the region’s production, in a bid to quench the thirst of mainly Japanese customers.
Gerard Large, president of the Cellier de Saint-Etienne co-operative, told decanter.com that the idea originated in Japan.
‘An importer asked if we could produce a rosé version, and we decided to give it a try.’
However, Anne Masson, spokesperson for generic promotional body Inter Beaujolais, said at less than 400,000 bottles, the amount of rosé produced was ‘marginal’.
The region produces about 50m bottles of red Beaujolais Nouveau each year. In 2006, 11m bottles were exported to Japan, 3.2m to Germany, and 2.8m to the United States.
Because rosé is more difficult to produce, it commands a slightly higher price – €3,70 (£2.58), compared with €3,60 for a bottle from the Cellier des Saint-Etienne co-operative.
Large said the co-operative was sending over 28,000 bottles to Japan, and releasing a much smaller quantity in France but that no other markets were being considered at the moment.
Beaujolais Nouveau is released on 15 November.
Written by Maggie Rosen