Tomorrow is one of our favorite days of the year: Beaujolais Nouveau day. The arrival of Beaujolais Nouveau symbolizes the official end of this year’s growing season. Harvest is complete and vintners—especially in France—are ready to celebrate the completion of harvest. Beaujolais Nouveau is a red wine that is annually released on the third Thursday in November. It’s an incredibly young wine that spends no time in oak and a very short time in bottle. The grapes were hand-picked four-to-six weeks ago in late August and early September and ferment for just a few days. They rest before being released as bright, fresh, fruity reds. The man behind Beaujolais Nouveau is France’s largest and best-known wine merchant, Georges Duboeuf. The 83-year Duboeuf is the marketing genius who is known for popularizing the production of Beaujolais, particularly the Nouveau style. Although we aren’t in France, most local wine bars and French bistros will commemorate the occasion.
Sample a selection of new Beaujolais at the San Francisco Wine Trading Company on Taraval Street, the Wine Club in SOMA, or at California Wine Merchant on Chestnut Street. Zazie in Cole Valley is throwing a special dinner party. The four-course meal involves pairings with three different types of Beaujolais, so you can expand your horizons and learn more about the varietal than just the nouveau. Enjoy chestnut fettuccine with wild mushrooms, grilled California quail with mascarpone polenta, and caramelized apple tart tatin.
At Cafe Claude, diners can enjoy glasses and bottles of Domaine Dupeuble’s Beaujolais beginning tomorrow. However, the restaurant understands how popular this wine is and warns that it will sell out. On the menu? Daube provençale with slow-braised top round, shoulder, and short rib of beef, San Marzano tomatoes, olives, and fresh egg noodle pasta. Gaspar Brasserie, Cafe Claude’s sister restaurant, is also throwing a special dinner. The Eric Markowitz Trio will be performing live jazz. What’s on the menu? Coq au vin Beaujolais. Café de la Presse, which has one of the best steak frites in town, is giving out complimentary bottles of Beaujolais Nouveau for people who order two four-course meals off of their special Menu Gourmand. All you have to do is whisper the password—Eiffel Tower—in your waiter’s ear.
Of course, there’s always the option to go to your favorite French spot and throw a personal celebration to honor the traditional French wine day. Our recommendations? Here are some of our most beloved French restaurants: RN74, La Folie, Chez Maman, Gamine, Amélie, Le Clos, and Bouchon in Yountville.