Beaujolais Nouveau Day is kind of like the wine-lover’s Hanukkah, Christmas and New Year’s Eve all rolled into one (but with infinitely better booze). See, on the third Thursday of every November—just in time to start pre-gaming in order to make it through the usual depredations of Thanksgiving with the extended family—the first French wine of the year is released. In France, this is cause for celebrations and drinking with abandon, both reckless and otherwise. I still remember Nouveau ’97, which I enjoyed while living in Paris as a student. Well—actually, technically, no: I don’t remember that day at all.
But I’m older and wiser now, and my liver can no longer tolerate that kind of abuse. So instead of swigging this particularly fresh and fruity (and often chilled) red until I pass out, I’ll be spending the big day instead at Bistro St. Tropez, which is planning to mark the occasion with three days of dinners built specifically around these lively reds.
The dinner will be bookended by bottlings of Beaujolais Nouveau by Georges Duboeuf: a clever move, and particularly smart given the wine’s versatility. I expect the fruitiness of the 2013 vintage to brighten the restaurant’s classic onion soup—and to pair up perfectly with the Beaujolais-poached pear dessert. In between the two, guests will be treated to a virtual tour of Beaujolais, which produces far more than only Nouveau.
So: A terrine duet with chicken liver pate and foie gras mousse, or a hedonistic wild boar sausage with lardons and smoked ham, can be nibbled alongside the Domaine Gilles Gelin Beaujolais-Villages 2011. Take comfort in cassoulet matched up with the Domaine des Cretes “Cuvee des Varennes” 2011, or revel in a poached skate wing with a cumin-carrot puree while slurping the Domaine Corsin Macon-Villages 2011, which isn’t Beaujolais—or even red!—but not all that far a trip between the two places, and a damn good white wine regardless. And, of course, there’s cheese; this is a French meal, after all. For that, dive into a glass of Domaine de Robert Fleurie 2012.
The dinner runs $48 for five courses, plus $24 for the pairings; or $38 for three courses plus $18 for the wine. Reservations may be made by telephone.
Nov. 21–23. Bistro St. Tropez, Marketplace Design Center, 2400 Market St., 4th floor. 215.569.9269.
PW's Year of Beer: Allagash White