Science - November 24, 2005

Beaujolais Primeur in Borney’s

‘It’s certainly not the best wine from France, but it’s a very popular one,’ comments Laurence, a French student serving behind the bar at Borney’s along with her high-spirited compatriots. It is almost the third Thursday in November, traditionally the evening of the ‘Beaujolais Primeur’ in France.

The tasting of the young wine from the Beaujolais region has become a festival in France, where the first bottle is traditionally opened around midnight. The French organisers of the Beaujolais Primeur party in the Bornsesteeg pub have decided to celebrate on Wednesday 16 November and an hour earlier. They have done their best to recreate the atmosphere: French cheese, French films, French onion soup, and for those who really want to get into it, there is a typically French painting easel. ‘We are hoping of course for some French nudes, but perhaps we need to get the wine flowing first,’ says the very French-looking patron Léon.

‘The whole of France joins in this festival. Every bar, no matter how small it is, organises a ceremonial uncorking of the first bottle. Everyone comes and drinks the Beaujolais and it’s a great party,’ Laurence adds. ‘It’s to celebrate the first wine made from the grapes harvested in the summer.’ The wine is fruity and easy to drink, and this evening you order by the bottle, not the glass.

To make it a totally French experience, the customers are expected to speak French at the bar. Fortunately there are helpful notes with translations of sentences varying from ‘the wine is wonderful’ to ‘you have the most beautiful eyes in all Wageningen’. / MV