Ataste of Beaujolais Day – in Blaine

Published on Thu, Nov 16, 2006 by ara Nelson

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A taste of Beaujolais Day – in Blaine

By Tara Nelson

Residents of Blaine and Birch Bay can take part in a worldwide wine ritual this Friday, right here in Blaine.

Just as Beaujolais Day is celebrated with fervor in France on the third Thursday of each November, Northern Meadows specialty gift and wine store on Peace Portal Drive will offer a taste of the French specialty wine Beaujolais Nouveau, a light fruity red wine that is aged only six weeks.

Traditionally, Beaujolais Nouveau is served cold and in good spirits. Because of the wine’s high acidity and lack of developed character, it is usually gulped rather than sipped, with many restaurants serving all the free wine their customers can drink.

In France, it was the end of the growing season that winemakers looked forward to celebrating, and eager wine makers would employ bicycles, taxis, horse-drawn carts and airplanes in order to be the first to get the wine to their patrons.

(The resultant carnage spurred French lawmakers to prohibit serving the new Beaujolais before the third Thursday in November, regardless of the growing season.)

But the popularity of Beaujolais Day has spilled over worldwide – if not for the taste, simply for the novelty joining in on an event that people in pubs and restaurants around the world are celebrating.

Gamay noir à Jus Blanc – thought to be a mutation of the Pinot Noir grape – is generally the only grape used to make Beaujolais, and was cultivated for the quantity of grape it produces rather than the quality.
Northern Meadows owner Christy Lonquist said the wine’s extremely short aging process gives it an unusually light and fruity flavor with little body.

Its drinkability comes from the winemaking process called carbonic maceration, or whole berry fermentation, rather than crushing the fruit, which releases bitter tannins from the grape skin.

“It hasn’t been bottled for very long, so it’s not a very hearty wine,” she said. “It’s almost like grape juice – light, fruity, and just off the vine fresh.”

Lonquist said she will also be offering samples of other, older Beaujolais to give customers a taste of the different stages of the aging process.
A limited supply of Beaujolais Nouveau will also be available for purchase, Lonquist said.

The event is scheduled from 6 to 9 p.m., Friday, November 17. Northern Meadows is located at 684 Peace Portal Drive.

Lonquist has also scheduled several other events during the holiday season, including a hot spiced, mulled wine tasting from 5 to 8 p.m. on December 1 and a one-year anniversary celebration with in-store specials from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on December 5. For more information, call 332-4921.