Every year on the third Thursday of November, millions of bottles of a fresh, fruity Gamay from Beaujolais are poured to celebrate the new vintage. Banners all over France — and the world — proclaim "Le Beaujolais Nouveau est arrivé!" French restaurants, of course, get into the spirit of things big-time. After the recent events in Paris, any celebration seems especially poignant — and defiant.
Celebrate France, and Beaujolais Nouveau, at these restaurants and bars:
At the London Hotel in West Hollywood, try the first wines of the new vintage on the rooftop patio (covered and heated for the season). A $15 ticket gets you into the event dubbed "Rediscover Beaujolais," which includes a cheese and charcuterie buffet. Another $20 ticket buys a tasting of four Beaujolais selected by Jean-Baptiste Dhalluin of Los Angeles Wine Tasting to show off the verdant wine region near Lyon. Only one of the four is a Beaujolais Nouveau because Dhalluin wants to show that Beaujolais is more than Nouveau. He'll also be pouring two Beaujolais crus, which are among the most food-friendly wines of France, including a Morgon from Ernest Descombes and a Moulin-à-Vent from Domaine des Rosiers, both from the 2011 vintage. Made from the Gamay grape, Beaujolais cru can be aromatic and lush, with a firm tannic structure. Find out which you prefer. It's a pretty sure bet that Beaujolais cru will win out over the festive and fun Beaujolais Nouveau. Early bird tickets are $10 and can be purchased online. 1020 N. San Vicente Blvd., West Hollywood, (310) 854-1111, www.thelondonwesthollywood.com.
Over at Church & State in the downtown Arts District, they’re pouring the a Beaujolais Nouveau from Domaine Dupeuble that comes from 50 to 100-year-old Gamay vines fermented with wild yeasts. Starting Thursday, the French bistro is selling it for $48 a bottle or $12 by the glass until their three-case allotment is sold out. Better get there early. What to enjoy with it? The Petite or Grande Planche de Charcuterie (cured meats board) which currently includes pork rillettes, pâtés de campagne, head cheese, chicken liver mousse, duck prosciutto and house-cured lamb belly. Beaujolais takes very well to French onion soup, too, or roasted bone marrow with marinated radish salad. If there are any bottles of Dupeuble Beaujolais left over, come by on Monday for industry night (for those in the restaurant industry and those who enjoy dining with them) when it’s 50% off on all bottles of wine. 1850 Industrial St., Los Angeles, (213) 405-1434, www.churchandstatebistro.com.
The Pasadena wine shop Monopole is planning a party with Dupeuble Beaujolais as well, along with a few other Beaujolais of the non-nouveau variety. Air-freighted over from France just in time for the celebration, on their events page the shop invites guests to join in the celebrating of "this ancient end-of-harvest ritual — and sip the brand new batch of wine that was made from grapes hanging on the vines in France just weeks before." 21 S. El Molino Avenue, Pasadena, (626) 577-9463, www.monopolewine.com.
In Redondo Beach at Chez Melange, chef Robert Bell and partner Michael Frank are celebrating Beaujolais Nouveau this year with the new wine from Maison Joseph Drouhin. As it has for so many years, the night’s menu will include classic French specials such as foie gras, boeuf Bourguignon and coq au vin. The nouveau will go for $30 a bottle, or $5 to $12 a glass, depending on the size of the pour. 1611 S Catalina Ave., Redondo Beach (310) 540-1222; www.chezmelange.com.
At Bar Covell in Los Feliz, Matthew Kaner and company are pouring Domaine Depeuble out of magnums ($13 per glass, tax included) and Jean Foillard out of 750 ml bottles ($15 per glass, tax included). According to Kaner, in an email from Portugal, they will be cracking open the just arrived bottles starting at 5 p.m. on Thursday. Get there early. No special food is involved, but they’ll have the usual cheese plates and, of course, their croque monsieur. 4628 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles, (323) 660-4400, http://barcovell.com.
Monsieur Marcel at the Original Farmers Market will be popping the corks on Beaujolais Nouveau from Bouchard Aîné & Fils starting at 11:30 a.m. Come a little later, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., and a French accordionist will play while you taste the first Beaujolais of the season. The Santa Monica location will be pouring Beaujolais, but sadly, no accordionist there. 6333 W. 3rd St., Los Angeles (323) 939-7792; and 1260 3rd Street Promenade, Santa Monica, (310) 587-1166, www.mrmarcel.com.
Downtown L.A.'s chandelier-spangled French restaurant, Le Petit Paris, will be celebrating with one glass of Duboeuf Beaujolais Nouveau and one tapa for $18. The choice of tapas includes a small charcuterie or cheese plate, four oysters, scrambled eggs with truffles, Burgundy escargots, or house-made duck foie gras. The chef will also add some specials to the regular menu. Duboeuf by the bottle will be $45, or $8 a glass. 418 South Spring St., Los Angeles, (213) 217-4445, www.lepetitparisla.com.
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