One of the events on the French cultural calendar which is never missed is held on the third Thursday of November when the whole of France organises events to mark the opening of the Beaujolais Nouveau (the first wine of 2013’s Beajolais Harvest)! It’s still quite a big thing probably because it’s just another reason to party. Either special lunches or dinners are organised giving everyone a chance to celebrate wherever you live! Officially bottles are launched and uncorked at midnight in Beaujeu, the ancient capital of the Beaujolais, but here we are always a little ahead!
And so in the spirit of the wine village of Le Puy Notre Dame (never known to miss out on such things) the Beaujolais Nouveau Soirée was held in ‘Le Bouchon Ponot’ Restaurant as per usual. Over the last few years it’s become a bit of a tradition and is now always full of locals who, given that we all know each other, can quarantee a lively evening. We had been eagerly looking forward to it all week with Chef, Jean Yves, waiting to surprise us on the night with his specially prepared menu!
This year Jean-Yves had chosen a Beaujolais -Village Nouveau- this is from vineyards that are judged to produce a richer, riper grape and on a constant basis – usually costs a bit more for its better quality. Frankly I forget the name of the producer – by 02:30 I was having problems remembering my own name! The wine was well liked, with glasses being poured, swirled, sniffed, views exchanged by all – it was fruity, sturdy, young and enjoyable with a great nose of cerise (cherries) and a little pepper. There is a great deal of snobbery about Beajolais Nouveau, much of it misplaced. It is what it is, a frothing torrent of vibrant, scented, young purple wine which floods out of the hills of Beaujolais to the delight of everyone who is a true wine lover. The population of Lyon rioted in the streets in 1788, the year before the French Revolution but, it was nothing to do with profound questions of liberty, equality and fraternity. It was because the Beaujolais had failed to arrive!
We got to the restaurant around 19:30 and spent the next hour passing around never ending platters loaded with delicious canapés! It was hectic and noisy but there you go it was party night after all!! Even those few diners who were not partaking of the special meal were treated to a glass or two of Nouveau.
As we sat down at the table – we were presented with an awsome plate of Cote de Beauf! Rare for me, ruined (ie. well done) for Sheila. It was gorgeous and there was an awful lot of it. Even I couldn’t manage a second serving. Next came fromage and after that the dessert, whilst the wine kept flowing until the early hours. Freddo, the husband of Sonia in the bar, got back home at 04:00 as a disgruntled Sonia told me the next day. We were quite civilised making it back about an hour earlier and that was including a trip to a friends house in the early hours.
Thanks for a lovely evening Jean-Yves!
Raise your glasses wine lovers and enjoy!