PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -Today is a special day for wine lovers, and the Pennsylvania liquor control board has joined in the festivities.

It means free sampling of wine in some parts of the state.

Grapes grown this year were just recently harvested, and most of the grapes used in wine-making are allowed to ferment in oak casks for a number of months. That means grapes from the 2012 harvest will show up in bottles of wine next year.

But there’s one exception — Beaujolais Nouveau — a light red wine goes on the market today, and for many, that’s a cause for celebration.

It’s the third Thursday in November and under French law, the first day bottles of wine from grapes harvested this fall can be opened.

“Beaujolais Nouveau represents the first wine of the harvest in France, and it’s just a kick-off of the wine-making season, a celebration of the season,” Nick Biondi told KDKA money editor Jon Delano.

Biondi and his boss, Kevin Policz, distribute wine through Majestic Wine & Spirits.

At 12:01 this morning, in typical French fashion, casks of this special wine were rolled out to crowds of les amis du vin — or friends of wine.

Here in Pennsylvania, the Liquor Control Board is sponsoring three parties across the state to celebrate, including Pittsburgh.

“We have a promotional party at Six Penn Kitchen in the Cultural District, a little hors d’oevres and Beaujolais party,” added Biondi.

It’s a free Beaujolais wine tasting hosted by Biondi and Policz, who sampled the wine at the Allegheny Wine Mixer in Upper Lawrenceville.

Biondi says the red wine — which can be chilled — is a great addition to your Thanksgiving dinner. “Actually it’s a great companion to the Thanksgiving table. It’s great with turkey and all the trimmings.”

Because of bad weather this year, the supply of this wine has been cut in half — but bottles are available in the state store.

The LCB wine tasting at Six Penn Kitchen runs Thursday night from eight until 10 pm — and again it’s open to the public, age 21 and older.

Happy Beaujolais Nouveau Day!

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