Beaujolais Nouveau 2010 Release

Upcoming this week is the release of the 2010 vintage of Beaujolais Nouveau.  It's the first wine released yearly from the Northern Hemisphere grape harvest.  The wine is always released on the 3rd Thursday of November at 12:01 am Central European Time (CET) which means it's available for Thursday parties and events! 

The wine is made from the Gamay varietal in the southern portion of Burgundy.  It is meant to be drunk young while it's fresh, lively and fruity, so they employ a rapid means of fermentation called carbonic maceration, which also eases the normally acidic nature of the grape.  I recently received a sample of 2010 Georges DuBoeuf Beaujolais Nouveau and was eager to taste and share the notes with you.  The wine is full of strawberry and ripe cherry along with cinnamon hints, a touch of minerality, smooth tannins and high acidity.  It's very light and not lengthy on the finish, but a good wine to share with friends and even try with your Thanksgiving turkey.  (84 WG)

If you're planning on going out to celebrate the release, here's a few local spots to try:

  • Vertigo Sky Lounge.  Hosting a "midnight" release party on Wednesday 10pm-1:30am to unveil 2010 Georges Duboeuf.  Reservations are required.
  • Whole Foods-Lincoln Park.  Join them for free samples in the wine department.  12pm-9pm.
  • Union League Club.  $50 in advance will get you: tastes of Beaujolais Nouveau and more French wine, food & spirits, souvenir photos, chance to win a trip for 2 to Paris, and a 2010 commemorative wine glass.  6pm-9pm.
  • Chicago French Market.  Come in for free samples of Beaujolais Nouveau.  4pm-7pm.
  • Bistrot Zinc.  Join them for a three-course meal and a glass of Beaujolais Nouveau for $29.95.  Reservations recommended.
  • Bistrot 110.  A $25 tasting of Beaujolais wine and seasonal samples.  6-8:30pm.  Reservations recommended.

Whether you are go out or stay in, I hope you enjoy some Beaujolais Nouveau friends and family!

Beaujolais Nouveau Hits Chicago

The 3rd Thursday of November is arriving, so that means it is time for Beaujolais Nouveau 2009!  We went over this phenonmenon last year, but millions of cases of this wine will be released to the world this Thursday at 12:01am, with a bunch coming right here to Chicago.  Not only will the wine be available for purchase, but the city will be partying down with this tasty, easy drinking wine.  Here is a list of specials and events:

Bistro 110: Burgundy/Beaujolais Tasting.  Head to this Magnificent Mile bistro at 6pm this Thursday for a 6 wine tasting paired with offerings from Chef Dominique Tougne which include cheese, charcuterie, garlic sausage, veal blanquette, poached salmon, and dessert.  $25.

Brasserie Jo: This Friday, enjoy Beaujolais Nouveau by the glass ($8) or bottle ($39) with a la carte pairings of escargots, saucisson, and beef bourguignon.

Cafe des Architectes: Head to the Sofitel Water Tower for a Four Course Prix Fixe.  This menu features French dishes made with local ingredients such as Swan Creek Farm pork belly and chicken, Nichols Farm cippolini onions, and Fayette Creamery camembert.  This menu will be featured Thursday-Saturday.  $45.

French-American Chamber of Commerce: 25th Annual Passport to France.  Enjoy French cuisine from local restaurants paired with 2009 Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais Nouveau along with other French wines and spirits.  There will also be a silent auction and chances to win a trip to France.  At the Union League Club of Chicago.  $50 in advance, $60 at the door.

Kiki's Bistro: Pairing Beaujolais Nouveau with regular menu items.  Wines from Montes Vineyards of Chile will also be featured.

La Sardine: If you're hanging around Harpo Studios, stop in to enjoy Beaujolais Nouveau paired with a Four Course Prix Fixe retro menu.  Seafood gratin, duck consumme, monkfish, and dessert.  $35.

L'Eiffel Bistro & Creperie: If you're out near South Barrington, head to this lively little bistro for the festivities.  Live music, Beaujolais Nouveau, and a Three Course Prix Fixe.  $35.50.

Mon Ami Gabi: Live music, prizes, 2009 Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais Nouveau, and hors d'oeuvres at both the Lincoln Park and Oak Brook locations.  $35.

Beaujolais Nouveau Phenomenon

t_61521November 20th has come and passed with many Beaujolais Nouveau drinking parties and empty bottles.  This is an annual event occurring every third Thursday in November.  But what is the deal?  What is special about this wine and why are so many parties thrown worldwide to celebrate its release?  The Windy City Wine Guy is here to explain.

Beaujolais wine is made from Gamay varietal grapes grown in the Beaujolais AOC, which is part of the Burgundy wine region.  The grape is indigenous to France and was discovered in the 14th century.  It gained fame at the end of the Black Plague- It ripens earlier and is heartier than Pinot Noir, thus making grape and wine more available. 

The varietal provides juice which is a highly acidic.  To soften the wine, a fermentation process known as carbonic maceration is induced.  Whole grapes are fermented from the inside-out before crushing, providing a wine with low tannin and flavors of tropical fruits, like banana, and bubble gum.  This also allows for an early release because the wine does not need aging.

Aside from the fact that Beaujolais Nouveau is the earliest released wine after harvest, there is no reason for celebration.  People just love a party, and this event is reason enough.  After bottling, there is a race to see how fast these wines can make it to Paris and the rest of the world's markets.  In Chicago, there were many release parties and celebration.

While it can be a fun wine and event, it is important to note there is more to Beaujolais than just Nouveau.  This wine is made from grapes grown all throughout Beaujolais.  More select areas (39 communes/villages)are picked to create Beaujolais-Villages AOC wines, making a slightly superior product.  Also, there are 10 "Cru" (village areas) which contain richer soils and lower maximum yield restrictions.  With the addition of oak aging, these wines are higher quality and fuller bodied.  The best thing about them is the price- Cru Beaujolais can be had for just dollars more than a Nouveau.

Whether you are looking to join the Nouveau celebration or want a good inexpensive wine, Beaujolais can bring an abundance and variety in many circumstances.  Enjoy!