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Nov 21

Beaujolais Nouveau Day is November 21st 2019

Beaujolais Nouveau Day is marked in France on the third Thursday in November with fireworks, music and festivals.

Under French law, the wine is released at 12:01 am, just weeks after the wine's grapes have been harvested.

Parties are held throughout the country and further afield to celebrate the first wine of the season.

Beaujolais Nouveau Lead image

The Gamay grapes that go into Beaujolais Nouveau are handpicked in the Beaujolais province of France. The wine actually originated about a century ago as a cheap and cheerful drink produced by locals to celebrate the end of the harvest season.

Perhaps the most well-known producer of Beaujolais Nouveau is Georges Duboeuf, who is credited as one of the marketing geniuses behind the wine. Selling this young red was viewed by some vintners as a means to clear large quantities of wine at decent profits, which would create a much-needed cash flow shortly after harvest. 

Beaujolais Nouveau 4

The idea of a race to Paris carrying the first bottles of the new vintage was conceived and this attracted much media attention. By the 1970s, the race became a national event. The races spread to neighbouring countries in Europe in the 1980s, followed by North America, and in the 1990s, to Asia.

The traditional slogan used in ad campaigns and marketing material - Le Beaujolais nouveau est arrivé (which translates to The new Beaujolais has arrived) was changed in 2005 to It's Beaujolais Nouveau time.

Today, there are several dozen vintners making this popular red. The Beaujolais region is 34 miles long from north to south and 7 to 9 miles wide and home to nearly 4,000 vineyards which produce twelve officially-designated types of Beaujolais known as AOCs. They include some of the finest and priciest grand crus (big vintage) wines around, including Fleurie and Cote de Brouilly. The most common two are the Beaujolais and Beaujolais-Villages, the former of which account for half of the region's annual output.

In 2010, 35 million bottles of the wine were put on the market. Some 7.5 million were sold in French supermarkets and 15.5 million were exported mainly to Japan, Germany and the United States.

Beaujolais Nouveau owes its easy drinkability to a winemaking process called carbonic maceration, also known as whole-berry fermentation. This technique preserves the fresh, fruity quality of the grapes without extracting bitter tannins from the grape skins.

Beaujolais Nouveaux

Beaujolais Nouveau - that much-ballyhooed cherry-red coloured vintage that’s best served chilled - is clearly not for wine snobs. This fresh and fruity red is the result of a quick fermentation process that ends up with a tasty, clean wine that is enjoyed by palates the world over.

There are about 120 Beaujolais Nouveau related festivals held in the Beaujolais region. 

The most famous 'Les Sarmentelles' is held in the town of Beaujeu, the capital of the Beaujolais region. Kicking off in the early evening the day before Beaujolais Nouveau, the five-day festival features wine tasting, live music and dancing. During the afternoon on Beaujolais Nouveau Day, a heated tent offers wine and a range of local foods for visitors to sample. There is also a tasting contest featuring all of the twelve kinds of Beaujolais, in which the winner nets his or her weight in Beaujolais-Villages. In the evening, a torch lit parade honours the farmers that made the wine. Fireworks at midnight mark the release of the new wine, which is then drank until dawn. 

Beaujolais Nouveau is meant to be drunk young. Most vintages should be consumed by the following May after its release. However, in excellent vintages (such as 2000) the wine can live much longer and can be enjoyed until the next harvest rolls around.

The region of Beaujolais is known for its fabulous food. The famed Paul Bocuse restaurant is just minutes from the heart of Beaujolais, as is Georges Blanc’s. These great restaurants have plenty of Beaujolais Nouveau on their wine lists. The wine goes well with either haute cuisine or Friday night’s pizza.

Is Beaujolais Nouveau making a comeback?

Beaujolais Nouveau Day was once a national event in the UK. Is it making a comeback, asks Justin Parkinson from the BBC News website.

It's as much a part of 1980s folklore as massive mobile phones, shoulder pads and personal organisers. On the third Thursday of every November the City of London was awash with celebrations for the arrival of Beaujolais Nouveau.

Getting hold of the recently pressed, light red wine as quickly as possible became an annual event. It was usually served chilled.

The Beaujolais Run meant teams competing to be the first to get the first case of Nouveau from Paris to London. One year it got even more "Eighties" than normal, the winner being a Harrier jet. Bars, restaurants, pubs and off-licences held tastings, sometimes lasting all day, as events spread around the UK.

"Sales of Beaujolais Nouveau reached a peak in the late 1980s," says Anne McHale, master of wine at Berry Bros and Rudd. "It was a huge success based on marketing. But it declined in the 1990s when too many producers jumped on the bandwagon and the quality declined, getting weaker and more acidic."

McHale says focusing on Nouveau damaged the reputation of Beaujolais's better-quality products, in the way "Blue Nun did with German wines". Only now are people starting to return to other Beaujolais, which are often sold under the names of individual villages, such as Fleurie, she adds.

Beaujolais Nouveau 2

Japan is the biggest export market for Nouveau, buying almost 60 million litres last year. UK interest might not be at its peak, but something seems to be stirring. Last year the country imported 2.27 million litres - more than two and a half times the amount for 2012. This happened after Marks and Spencer launched a "carbon-neutral" version.

The celebrations have always been commercially motivated. Beaujolais, in France's Burgundy region, south-east of Paris, started promoting its freshly pressed wines as "Nouveau" in 1951. The release date was moved ahead of those for rival wines to maximise publicity. The uncorking of bottles just after midnight became a cause for street parties.

The run to London started after wine writers Clement Freud and Joseph Berkmann held a wager in 1970 over who could get it across the Channel first. This is still going, although competitors vie to transport it via the shortest route rather than in the shortest time, to ensure road safety.

"Nouveau has improved," says Beaujolais Run director Rob Bellinger. "Because of global warming the wine has been getting better every year. In the old days really it was like drinking vinegar."

Beaujolais Nouveau 3

One place that's never tired of Beaujolais Nouveau Day is Swansea. "It's like a national holiday," says Becky Oliver, owner of the city's No Sign Wine Bar. "Everyone has the day off. It's always been quite big but it's growing every year."

So, with UK sales increasing, is it on the up again? "I would be pretty confident in saying that this doesn't represent a future trend," says McHale. "It's more likely to be the result of a temporary spike in retro-nostalgia. Or perhaps this entire volume is being consumed by Swansea?"

Blog submitted by: Alex at The French Property Network - Cle France.

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Nov 20

Beaujolais Nouveau Time is Almost Here

Like Wine? You Gotta Try the Beaujolais Nouveau!

It’s November, and for those of us in the know, the 3rd Thursday of the month is a big deal. This day marks the release of the Beaujolais Nouveau wine!

South of Burgundy is a wine region known as Beaujolais. The climate is a bit warmer than Burgundy, so the Pinot Noir grapes popular in Burgundy don’t thrive so well in Beaujolais. That’s ok, though – there’s another grape described as a cousin to Pinot that grows very well in the area: the Gamay grape.

The Beaujolais region had always produced a wine celebrating the end of the harvest – basically, they’d make a wine, and it would be aged only a few weeks before being consumed. It wasn’t until World War II that this young wine could be purchased outside of the region. Marketers saw the potential in selling this wine elsewhere, and in the 1970s, the release of the wine had attracted a lot of media coverage. By the 1980s, the wine could be purchased in other countries in Europe, and in 1990s, it made its way to North America and Asia.

Beaujolais Nouveau

Fun fact: La récolte (the harvest) of these grapes is all done by hand! This can take up to 35,000 people working 15-20 days!

I know what you’re thinking – wine gets better with age, so why bother having some that’s only sat for a few weeks? The shorter the wine’s fermentation process, the fruitier it will be. Plus, this quick process means the wine will be less tannin. Qu’est-ce que c’est ? (What’s that?) You know how sometimes when you drink wine, your mouth tastes a bit dry afterward? That’s tannin.

These two characteristics combined produce a drinkable wine that pairs with almost anything. I was in Whole Foods the other day with my friend, and in the wine section, they were passing out samples of this year’s Beaujolais Nouveau. Another customer tried it and commented on how well it went down and how normally he doesn’t like wine. This makes a very nice intro wine!

I’ll drink to that.

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Blog submitted by: Alex at The French Property Network - Cle France.

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Oct 3


Cle France

Still time to get moved-in for Christmas

Yes I know it is only October so apologies for using the 'C-word' when we are still 12 weeks away from December 25th.

12 weeks is just enough time to get you moved into your new house in France or spending Christmas in your new French holiday home, yes you will have to book a viewing with us very soon but once you have found the perfect house we will 'pull-out all the stops' to get you moved in for the festive season.

Cle France has a vast network of agents and houses for sale so we are sure you will have the best selection to choose from, get in touch and let us help you find the perfect French getaway for you to enjoy.

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Blog submitted by: Alex at The French Property Network - Cle France.


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Mar 5

UK Pancake Day celebrations and yummy recipe

Shrove Tuesday on March 5th 2019 means that across the UK there will be people practising their pancake tossing !

Pancake Day, or Shrove Tuesday as it is more formally known, is a much loved day in the calendar as it a day to indulge yourself by eating delicious pancakes!

Of course even if you are in France on a viewing trip with one or more of the Cle France agents there is no need to miss out on your pancakes, in fact everyday is like pancake day at a French market where they is nearly always a Crepe stand serving freshly made French crepes, so another reason to buy a house in France! See how the French celebrate here.

So how did Shrove Tuesday start? Well the word ‘Shrove' comes from the old English word ‘shrive' which means to confess ones sins. The tradition of Shrove Tuesday began when Christians had to clear out their pantry before Ash Wednesday which marks the start of Lent. Today many people give up just one thing for Lent, however hundreds of years ago all meats, eggs, milk and other rich foods were given up for 40 days to remember when Jesus went into the desert and fasted  for 40 days and 40 nights. The idea was that instead of throwing out the fats and eggs; they should be used to make pancakes as a final feast before the fasting period began.

As well as Shrove Tuesday being a day for making pancakes we must not forget it is also a day for pancake races. This tradition is thought to have began in Olney, Buckinghamshire in 1445 when a woman was making pancakes and she forgot the time. Then suddenly she heard the church bells ring to signal the start of the service and in her panic she ran out of the house and to the church still holding the frying pan with the pancake inside. Pancake races are held in villages and towns across the country, usually with several different races so that all ages can take part. The race usually requires the competitors to run a course while tossing a pancake in their frying pan; the winner is the person who crosses the line first after tossing the pancake a certain number of times.

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Our Pancakes above may be a little fancy but all Pancakes are delicious, when cooked right. If you have not tried before or struggle to make perfect pancakes, why not follow this simple recipe by Delia Smith.

Traditional Lemon & Sugar Pancake Recipe 

Makes: 12-14 pancakes

Preparation time: 30 mins

Frying pan: Good heavy one not more than 7 inches / 18 cm in diameter (inside base)


For the pancake mixture:
110g/4oz plain flour, sifted
pinch of salt
2 large eggs
200ml/7fl oz milk mixed with 75ml/3fl oz water
50g/2oz butter
To serve:
caster sugar
lemon juice
lemon wedges


Sift the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl with a sieve held high above the bowl so the flour gets a airing. Now make a well in the centre of the flour and break the eggs into it. Then begin whisking the eggs - any sort of whisk or even a fork will do - incorporating any bits of flour from around the edge of the bowl as you do so.

Next gradually add small quantities of the milk and water mixture, still whisking (don't worry about any lumps as they will eventually disappear as you whisk). When all the liquid has been added, use a rubber spatula to scrape any elusive bits of flour from around the edge into the centre, then whisk once more until the batter is smooth, with the consistency of thin cream. Now melt the 50g/2oz of butter in a pan. Spoon 2 tbsp of it into the batter and whisk it in, then pour the rest into a bowl and use it to lubricate the pan, using a wodge of kitchen paper to smear it round before you make each pancake. 

Now get the pan really hot, then turn the heat down to medium and, to start with, do a test pancake to see if you're using the correct amount of batter. I find 2 tbsp is about right for an 18cm/7in pan. It's also helpful if you spoon the batter into a ladle so it can be poured into the hot pan in one go. As soon as the batter hits the hot pan, tip it around from side to side to get the base evenly coated with batter. It should take only half a minute or so to cook; you can lift the edge with a palette knife to see if it's tinged gold as it should be. Flip the pancake over with a pan slice or palette knife - the other side will need a few seconds only - then simply slide it out of the pan onto a plate.

Stack the pancakes as you make them between sheets of greaseproof paper on a plate fitted over simmering water, to keep them warm while you make the rest.

To serve, sprinkle each pancake with freshly squeezed lemon juice and caster sugar, fold in half, then in half again to form triangles, or else simply roll them up. Serve sprinkled with a little more sugar and lemon juice and extra sections of lemon.

Recipe Source: Delia Smith - Complete Cookery Course Book

Blog submitted by: Alex at Cle France.

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Jan 16

Brexit Chaos - What now for Pound Sterling?

It’s the biggest defeat for a sitting British government in history…

Theresa May’s Brexit plan is dead and buried. Her own party made sure of that.

But what now?

The fact is there are so many different scenarios that could unfold from here.

Even if the PM survives today’s vote of no confidence, there is no clear path ahead.

The EU seems unwilling to compromise.

Labour is pushing for a second referendum.

Her own party is deeply divided.

Volatility in the Pound is inevitable against a background of huge uncertainty and increased risk.

We could be facing some big moves in the coming weeks and months.

A no-deal Brexit is perhaps the biggest threat of all. ING predicts Sterling would hit parity with the Euro if that happens.

Or politicians could do what they do best – and kick the can down the road – extending the deadline.

While a delay in Brexit would buy time, it will further damage the UK economy.

For those with GBP exposure, we are closely watching events and market moves throughout the day.

With so many possibilities, Pound Sterling faces a period of unprecedented uncertainty.

One thing we can do however is help you secure a rate of exchange and mitigate your ongoing currency risk.

To speak to a trader now call us on 01872 487 470.

Or to get current exchange rates, simply request a quote below.

Click here for a Free quote.

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Thanks For Reading, What Next?

Have a great day, Geoff Lambourne - Direct Dial me on 0044 (0)1872 487 470.

Current rates: 

Wednesday 16th January 2019 at 09:05

£1.00 GBP = 1.1270 EURO

£1.00 GBP = 1.2871 USD

£1.00 GBP = 1.7878 AUD

£1.00 GBP = 1.8895 NZD

£1.00 GBP = 1.7060 CAD

£1.00 GBP = 17.5949 ZAR

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Need to Send Money Abroad?

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  • As a Clé France website visitor, you qualify for preferential exchange rates when you transact through Key Currency.

How to Save Money on your foreign currency transfers

  • Key Currency can save you money by offering more competitive rates of exchange than your bank.
  • Clients can typically save you 3-4% of the total transaction value, which can result in significant cost savings.
  • All client funds are held in segregated accounts with top-tier banks keeping your money safe and secure.
  • Download our "Buying A Property in France" Guide PDF document.
  • Concerned about Brexit? download our "Buyers Guide to Brexit" PDF document.

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