Thursday, November 15, 2007
Le Beaujolais Nouveau Est Arrivé!
Bonjour, mes amis! It's the lovely third Thursday in November, which means two things:
1) Thanksgiving is only one week away!
2) Le nouveau est arrivé!--those young, ripe, happy wines from Beaujolais are here, so get them while you can!
Either way, it's cause to celebrate. Do you have your Thanksgiving meal planned yet? I have to admit that we don't. We had our at-home Thanksgiving dinner a couple weeks ago and made this fantastic Cranberry-Almond Crostata, but for the actual holiday we'll be joining a big group of family in Connecticut. Everyone makes a dish or some component of the Thanksgiving dinner, so we'll have many, many cooks in one kitchen--but isn't that the fun of it?
Anyway, most of the family have stated what their contributions will be, but Mike and I--usually early birds on this--still haven't decided. We like to do riffs on the traditional favorites and cut down on the carb loading, if we can, by contributing a veggie dish. This year we're thinking of doing a dessert too. Any ideas for us?
But back to Beaujolais Nouveau. This red wine is made by the process of carbonic maceration, also called whole berry fermentation. What this means to you is that the fresh, fruity flavors are preserved and the bitter tannins in the grape skins are left out. If the tannins were left out of the nice Cabernet Sauvignon you planned to drink with a steak dinner, you might be a bit peeved. But, in Beaujolais Nouveau, this treatment results in a light (but still boozy), uncomplicated wine that often has just a textural hint of fizz. It is aged for around 6 weeks and is good slightly chilled.
In early December last year, Mike and I were in Toronto for the weekend where getting anything that wasn't already chilled would have been difficult. We brought a bottle of Nouveau back to our hotel room, and it did wonders to brighten up the frigid day and get us in the mood to venture out into the icy evening air.
This year, we're enjoying our Nouveau at home in Fort Lauderdale with a perfect food pairing--burgers. But not just any old burgers. Buy the best ground sirloin you can (or grind your own); go to the bakery for the fresh, expensive buns; take the time to slowly caramelize some red onions; and finally, melt some great cheese on top--any kind you like as long as the flavor is good and strong.
In my experience, Beaujolais Nouveau is fairly easy to find in wine shops and even grocery stores. You'll find wine by Georges Duboeuf everywhere, but try other labels if you see them--at a wine tasting tonight, we liked Bouchard and especially Mommessin. It's inexpensive, so you have no excuse not to taste it for yourself. It's never around for long though (maybe a month at most), so get it tout de suite!
P.S.--For the oven fries, we used a recipe from Cook's Illustrated. It worked great! You generally have to subscribe to Cook's for access to their meticulously tested recipes, but this one is available online.
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