Today is the 3rd Thursday of November, and it is officially the day that Beaujolais Nouveau is released for sale, as mandated by French law. Traditionally, it is a time of celebration for French winemakers to mark the end of the annual harvest, but has turned into quite a marketing gimmick for vintners, who rush to ship their wines out across the world as quickly as possible to sell them before the end of year.
New South of Market Wine Bar
We started the evening at a neighborhood wine bar, Vino Venue (686 Mission St., San Francisco), where the big event of the evening was an Italian wine & cheese tasting. Apparently, they celebrated the Beaujolais Nouveau release at 1 minute past midnight this morning, so we missed it. We had to settle for an hour of tasting a variety of different wines by inserting a prepaid wine tasting card into the slots at different wine tasting stations, which automatically poured 1-ounce tastes of the wine selected. This is a great concept, having the opportunity to taste a wine before you purchase it. The only negative was that there was no Beaujolais Nouveau offered for tasting on this special evening.
The next stop on our hunt for Beaujolais Nouveau was the colorful and lively Belden Place, which is lined with mostly French restaurants. Almost everyone prefers to sit outside under the stars and pretend that they’re sitting at a Paris café. We had dinner reservations at Plouf (40 Belden Place – tel: 415-986-6491), which is French for “Splash”, and they are known for their many versions of Moules Frites, as well as other casual French dishes. The restaurant itself didn’t seem to be doing anything special to celebrate today, although they did have Beaujolais Nouveau by the glass, if you asked for it – it wasn’t on the menu. However, we did notice one long table of partygoers who seemed to be enjoying the young, chilled, fruity beverage in abundance. Fortunately, we’ll have another chance to enjoy the bottles of Beaujolais Nouveau that we purchased today in exactly one week, when we celebrate the very American Thanksgiving holiday.