PARIS — Wine tasters throughout the world raised their glasses today to toast the 1989 Beaujolais Nouveau as one of the classiest this century.
"Big and fat and fruity," was the verdict of expert Fiona Beeston, while a retired Beaujolais wine maker said: "It's the best since 1949."
As tradition dictates, the first Beaujolais Nouveau was released from vats at the stroke of midnight on the third Wednesday of November, less than two months after the grapes were picked.
Early-hours drinkers propping up zinc counters in the bars of Paris sipped the young wine, the first from this year's sun-filled summer, a few hours after the Japanese, benefiting from the time difference, had uncorked the first bottle.
Celebrations were held in Tokyo; Geneva; Houston; Milan, Italy and Dakar, Senegal to greet the arrival of the vintage, considered one of the best of the century.
The global wine tasting demanded a vast transportation operation. Air France began flying nearly 1 million bottles overseas Tuesday, including 400,000 bottles to Japan and 280,000 to the United States.