Events on the pitch at the Stade de France in Paris on Wednesday evening, as the French qualified for the football World Cup finals in a rather dubious manner, rather overshadowed an annual tradition in this country as far as media coverage was concerned.
But while for many the debate raged, and continues to do so, over the merits of a result gained with the helping hand of Thierry Henry, for others there was more important business to attend to as the first bottles of this year's Beaujolais nouveau were uncorked.
And if many of the initial reviews and comments from the producers themselves are to believed, the Beaujolais wines in general this year will be good which should bode well for the quality and sales of Beaujolais nouveau too.
"This year's wine is one of the greatest vintages as far as I'm concerned, and my father, who has had a lot more experience than me thinks the same," said Édouard Labruyère a producer of one what is considered by many to be one of the leading Beaujolais wines, Moulin-à-vent.
"This is my first vintage and I've begun with a dream," echoed Remy Sandrin who has just joined his family's vineyard.
Traditionally Beaujolais nouveau is always released on the third Thursday of November at the stroke of midnight local time.
That meant of course that while more than 5,000 people had descended on the village of Beaujeu, in the heart of the Beaujolais-producing wine area, to celebrate the official release of this year's vintage in France, the Japanese had already been uncorking their bottles.
Many wine lovers and experts may dismiss the whole "event" as a mere marketing device that overshadows the quality of other wines produced in the region but according to Interbeaujolais, an organization representing wine growers and traders in the region, the importance of Beaujolais nouveau cannot be underestimated.
It has become a "prime mover" of other wines produced in the area, and the figures rather speak for themselves.
Of the 120 million bottles of all Beaujolais wines sold last year, Beaujolais nouveau accounted for one third (or 40 million bottles) with 15.5 million heading abroad.
And for this year Interbeaujolais reckons that sales of Beaujolais nouveau will be between 280,000 and 300,000 hectolitres, or over one third of the region's total harvest.
Enough statistics though, and to avoid becoming confused by the reviews that are already out there on the Net and in the press, and doubtless the many more still to come, perhaps your best bet is to grab a a glass (or a bottle) and try it for yourself.
It's a wine after all that needs to be drunk now.
So go on, judge for yourself.
Amiens – Gare du Nord – Porte Monumentale - [image: Amiens – Gare du Nord – Porte Monumentale] So, this is what the Gare d’Amiens used to look like about a century ago : Quite impressive, isn’...