On Thursday, Nov. 20, wine lovers will be toasting the firstwines bottled from the Northern Hemisphere’s 2003 grape harvest.As per tradition, Beaujolais Nouveau arrives in select NovaScotia Liquor Corporation (NSLC) outlets on the third Thursday ofNovember. NSLC features Beaujolais Nouveau from French producers BouchardAine, Georges Duboeuf, Noemie Vernaux, Joseph Drouhin, Chateau deCorton-Andre and Reine Pedauque, Nouveau from the Cotes Du Rhoneregion from Jean Jean and Italian Vino Novello from Zonin. This year is expected to be an exceptional one for French wineproducers who began picking their grapes on Aug. 25. Grapes havenot been picked so early since 1893 — making the 2003 vintageone for the history books. The 2003 Beaujolais is expected to beparticularly intense and complex with plenty of red fruit likeraspberry, strawberry and red currant. Nouveau-style wines are designed with early drinking in mind,often reaching maturity by the Christmas holidays. The wines arelively and aromatic and differ from others because of the methodof fermentation. Great care is taken not to damage the fruitduring the picking stage so that fermentation can be encouragedwithin the skin. The production process takes only about 48hours, instead of 10 to 12 days, and creates a wine with a fullberry hue and a velvety, fresh fruit flavour. Unlike other red wines, Beaujolais Nouveau should be servedchilled at 10 to 13 C. The celebration of Beaujolais Nouveau has taken on greatproportions in recent years. Producers have used many tactics toentice consumers to purchase the first wine of the year, fromracing cases of wines to the nearest market to the now famouslabels featuring original art. Beaujolais Nouveau presents the wine buying public a preview ofthe vintage year and can be a measure of the quality of awinemaker’s spring release.