Thursday, November 17, 2016

Beaujolais Nouveau Midnight Madness Tasting at 101 enters third year of celebrating young wine

By Jennifer Primrose | November 17, 2016
Twitter: @TriangleAT | Facebook: Triangle Around Town | Instagram: @trianglearoundtown

Le nouveau est arrivé!

That’s right folks! It’s time once again for the release of Beaujolais Nouveau. Just in time for Thanksgiving!

Beaujolais Nouveau is a young, simple wine made from Gamay grapes and produced in the Beaujolais region of France. Every year, on the third Thursday of November, this wine is released in grand fashion throughout France and the rest of the world. Some places host parties the night before the release, some at midnight and others throughout the remainder of the month in celebration of this new vintage.

Celebrations are not lost here in the U.S. or even in North Carolina. Three years ago, Joe O’Keefe, owner of Wine & Beer 101, and Rufus Hoffman, beer manager at Wine & Beer 101, came up with the idea to host a celebratory release party by popping open the new vintage of Beaujolais Nouveau for their customers at the stroke of midnight on, you guessed it, the third Thursday of November.

Glasses of Beaujolais Nouveau line the bar, waiting until Midnight to sample.

Customers trickled in here and there, some just happy the shop was open during later hours, and others intrigued by a tradition not as widely known here in the U.S. As the shop enters its third annual Beaujolais Nouveau Midnight Madness Tasting, we thought this would be the best time to sit down with O’Keefe and ask him what made him decide to start this tradition at his store.

"I saw an artist wow about how the French were celebrating BD with customers in Asia. I thought, hey we are allowed to serve until 1 a.m., why not give it a shot," says O'Keefe.

It doesn't hurt when one of your favorite watering holes is open late night, serving up wine and beer. Die hard loyalists of the shop trickled in between 10 p.m. and 11 p.m., hanging out with O'Keefe and Hoffman, sharing stories of wine and beer

And when the clock struck midnight the glasses of 2016 Beaujolais Nouveau were passed around to everyone in the room. After a quick toasting of the glasses we all sniffed, swirled and sipped. Some teased that the wine had no "legs," while others swirled continuously until they saw tiny transparent legs run down the side of the glass.

O'Keefe, who has sampled many a Beaujolais, described this new release as very green. "The Beaujolais always tastes very green, as most young wines do regardless of the grape or region," says O'Keefe. "I thought this year's tastes less green and has a distinct bubble gum taste. This kind of wine is always better with food."

He mentions that a possible Beaujolais food pairing could be in the works for next year.

But in the meantime, you can now head into any Wine 101 and pick up the latest bottle of Beaujolais Nouveau for $14.99 a bottle. And let's not forget picking up a Beer Advent box that the store is selling for $65 a box. This is a perfect gift for the beer drinker – 24 assorted 12-ounce bottles of beer – a perfect idea to drink your way into Christmas.

Joe O'Keefe and Rufus Hoffman wrapping up the Beer Advent Boxes