Le Beaujolais Nouveau est arrivé!
Well, nearly. On the third Thursday of each November, the new wine of Beaujolais is uncorked for the world. By French law, Beaujolais Nouveau may be released no earlier than 12:01 a.m. on that date.
More than 65 million bottles, nearly half of the region’s total annual wine production, are distributed and consumed around the world in late November. Here are some of the celebrations around Chicago:
- Bistro 110 Burgundy and Beaujolais Wine Tasting, Magnificent Mile, 6 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 19, $25.
Hosted by Fine Vines, this informal tasting pairs six wines with Chef Dominique Tougne’s menu of cheese and charcuterie: garlic sausage and potato salad, veal blanquette, poached salmon and floating island dessert.
- French American Chamber of Commerce 25th annual Passport to France, Loop, 6 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 19, $50 to $60.
The new wine plus a variety of French delicacies, tastings, French-American jazz by Julie O’ Connell and a silent auction feature at this annual bash.
- L’Eiffel Bistrot & Creperie Degustation of Beaujolais Nouveau, South Barrington, 11 a.m.–10 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 19, $35.50.
This northwest suburban bistro serves up live music at dinner, a three-course prix fixe, all-day Beaujolais Nouveau and complimentary amuse-bouche.
- Kiki’s Bistro Beaujolais and Chile Night, River North, Thursday, Nov. 19.
Kiki’s pairs the new Beaujolais with its regular menu. Chilean wines from Montes Vineyards also feature.
- Brasserie Jo Beaujolais Nouveau Celebration, River North, Thursday and Friday, Nov. 19–20.
The newly released vintage, $8 per glass and $39 per bottle, will be matched with a la carte specials such as tarte flambee with escargots a la bourguignon, onions and braised leeks; saucisson en brioche; and beef bourguignon.
- Cafe des Architectes Beaujolais Nouveau Prix-Fixe Dinner, Gold Coast, Thursday through Saturday, Nov. 19–21, $45.
The four-course dinner featuring the new vintage takes locally raised ingredients French: Swan Creek Farm pork belly with flageolet, frisee and pancetta, Swan Creek Farm chicken with chanterelles and caramelized Nichol’s cippolini onions, Fayette Creamery camembert with a mache salad, fruit bread with fig marmalade and chocolate tea dream dessert featuring chocolate mousse, chocolate almond streusel and lemon curd
- Mon Ami Gabi Beaujolais Nouveau Festival, Lincoln Park and Oak Brook, Thursday through Saturday, Nov. 19–21.
Beaujolais Nouveau Kick-Off parties, 6:30–9:30 p.m. Thursday, $35, offer Georges Duboeuf 2009 Beaujolais Nouveau, hors d’oeuvres, live music (Moulin Rouge Musical Trio and French Can-Can Dancers in Chicago, Frank “Mr. Rat Pack” Lamphere in Oak Brook) and a chance to win many prizes including a trip to Las Vegas dinner parties for four prepared in your home by executive chefs Justin Dumcum and Bruce Williams. Reservations suggested.
Throughout the festival, enjoy a menu selected to pair with the new wines, including: Beaujolais-style rillettes of rabbit; oyster du jour with Beaujolais mignonette; cream of garlic soup with savoy cabbage, flageolet beans and ham hock; pan-seared halibut with red potatoes, brussels sprout leaves and caramelized garlic in Beaujolais and bacon sauce, and blackcurrant sorbet with cassis syrup.