Le Beaujolais nouveau est arrivé! Did you know that the 2011 Beaujolais Nouveau wines are being released at midnight tomorrow,Thursday, the 17th? Are you excited? The vintners of France would very much like you to be, and they would like you to buy a bottle or four, uncork them (they aren't meant to be aged anyway) and join the revelry. They certainly have spent lots of energy telling the world the third Thursday in November is the premier of their very young (6-8 weeks from harvest) Gamay grape wine. The first wine available each year, it's commonly seen as a barometer of the vintage as a whole and is a pretty big (if not silly) deal in France. They have whipped things in to such a frenzy that there are now races to distribute bottles around the world and when it lands, merriment ensues.
In the spirit of drinking for no real reason other than pure 21+ fun (see: St. Patricks Day), we give you five ways for five different types to imbibe in a wine that's celebrated for its youth, jet setting and for just being a flirty good time. It may be from France, but it fits right in here in L.A. How could we resist bubblegum vino?
5. For the Party Crowd: Join the Club Culinaire of French Cuisine as they host the Beaujolais Passions party featuring Georges Dubɶuf Beaujolais Nouveau wine at the Beverly Hills Country Club this Friday, November 18th. The $50 ticket price includes one glass of wine, food and entertainment. (Okay, and "networking with European Dignitaries" which we secretly hope means Steve Martin posing as Inspector Clouseau, though we highly doubt it.) As the force behind all the hype, the Georges Dubɶuf brand is known more for creating a sensation than a serious wine, so this fete seems in keeping with their image.
4. For the Smart Set: Visit Domaine LA. Proprietress Jill Bernheimer will be opening three selections from smaller wineries for an intimate tasting. The wines -- which are available in limited quantities -- are all natural, meaning the wine makers focus on organic farming and do not use commercial yeasts. The selection includes 2011 Maison Pur, Cyril Alonzo and Florian Looze ($18), 2011 Maison Dupeuble Beaujolais Nouveau ($18) and the 2011 Jean Foillard Beaujolais Nouveau ($20).
3. For the Francophile: On November 19th, visit the Normandie Bakery Banquet Room and sample some wine with Chef Owner Josette LeBlond. One of the most authentic options we found, this is where the true spirit of the day is sure to be felt. The $40 party includes an all you can eat buffet and the allure of an Edith Piaf tribute act. We're charmed and can't wait.
2. For the Discerning Sipper: Church & State, downtown, will also be pouring Foillard Beaujolais Nouveau, beginning on the 17th. (No sooner, per the rules set up by the French. We said they take this seriously, right?) This more sophisticated Beaujolais is known for hints of anise, fruit and higher acid that should pair perfectly with Church & State's eclectic French-style charcuterie plates. They aren't holding a special celebration per se, but if you're curious about the wine and want a fabulous meal to go with it, you can't do better.
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1. For the Serious Diner: Make reservations for tomorrow's $56 pre-fixe dinner at FarmShop. Going the classic route, the brilliant minds of FarmShop are offering a tres chic, seasonal menu including Roasted Tahitian Pumpkin soup (Tahiti is part of France after all) and Daube of Beef to pair with $8 glasses or $28 bottles of Georges Dubɶuf.
No matter what you do (or don't do) in relation to Beaujolais Nouveau day, please remember to do it responsibly. And by that we mean, recycle your empty bottles. We don't want to hear you've been leaving them half full.
Follow Rachael Narins on Twitter @chickswknives