Beaujolais Nouveau?

You don’t often get to call out Thomas Keller, but I would’ve thought that Bouchon — of all places in the Napa Valley — would’ve been pouring some 2008 Beaujolais Nouveau today. Perhaps there just hasn’t been an audience for it here in Napa, but I really can’t accept that as an excuse. Honestly, as cheap as the stuff is, it couldn’t cost a restaurant that much to keep one case on hand for the third Thursday of November (the wine’s annual day of release).

Sure, I understand that we are not in Lyon, but Bouchon is based specifically upon a Lyonnaise bistro, and last time I checked, this is still wine country. Maybe I have just degenerated into that much of a wine nerd; it’s possible — I’m pretty far gone. Or maybe Beaujolais Nouveau has just become passĂ© these days — too simple to be taken seriously, especially in this era of pricey cult wines. Or maybe it was just an oversight, a small detail that was accidentally neglected this year (I’m told that they did have it last year).

Either way, Bistro Jeanty happened to have plenty of Beaujolais Nouveau on hand, and so that’s where I ended up tonight. I drank the 2008 Georges Deboeuf Beaujolais-Villages (chilled to perfection) with cured pork belly, coq au vin, and rum-raisin bread pudding. Say what you want about the quality of Beaujolais in general, but tradition is tradition, and it’s an easy excuse to go out to dinner.

Of course, I probably won’t drink any more Nouveau until next year. Not that I’m against the idea, but it probably just won’t happen. The reason being, I’m already swimming in Napa wine as it is, and the holidays are the time to bring out the heavyweights. But I will always view the Beaujolais release as my annual tune-up for Thanksgiving. As such, I am full to the point of being uncomfortable. Gluttony is its own punishment.

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