Red circles mark Thursday, November 15, on calendars as a day when red wine will be flowing freely all across the world.
Under French law, Beaujolais Nouveau — the first wine of the harvest from the Beaujolais region — can't be sold until the third Thursday in November. The quality of the wine isn’t the reason to celebrate; this type is brighter and more acidic than most reds because it hits shelves just weeks after its grapes have been gathered. The holiday marks the tail end of the growing season.
Some restaurants are celebrating the release all month with multi-course French dinners. Here are some Eater picks for where to ring in the Beaujolais release this year.
606 N. Fayette St. Alexandria, Virginia
Christophe and Michelle Poteaux, chef/owners of the French eatery, pay tribute to 2018 Beaujolais Nouveau by offering Domaine Foretal by the glass ($9) and bottle ($29), while supplies last. And from Monday, November 12, to Sunday, November 18, the chefs are celebrating with an unofficial “French Restaurant Week” menu, featuring a three-course prix fixe lunch at $25 and $35 prix fixe dinner of French classics.
Bistrot du Coin
1738 Connecticut Avenue NW
The long-running celebration at the Dupont cafe is free and super packed every year. When the clock strikes midnight this Wednesday, free bottles and glasses of wine are handed out. On Thursday, November 15, the party keeps going with cocktails featuring Beaujolais Nouveau.
Brabo Tasting Room
1600 King Street, Alexandria, Virginia
The Old Town hotel bar will be celebrating the harvest and release of Beaujolais Nouveau through the end of the year with a tasting trio. Each $15 flight includes Louis Jadot Beaujolais-Villages 2017, Georges Duboef Beaujolais-Villages 2016, and Domaine des Braves, Régnié 2016.
Central Michel Richard
1001 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
On Thursday, November 15, the downtown French eatery is celebrating the wine release with a three-course prix fixe dinner for $38.50 and an optional pairing of Domaine Dupeuble 2018 Beaujolais Nouveau by the glass ($10) or the bottle ($40).
The French Embassy
4101 Reservoir Road NW
On Friday, November 16, there’s an endless open bar of Beaujolais Nouveau at a party that includes a DJ, a silent auction, and a raffle. The celebration runs from 8 p.m. to midnight and costs $75. A VIP ticket with a private tasting is $145. Expect light fare from local restaurants and a French buffet prepared by the embassy’s chefs. Another incentive to go is a raffle drawing for round-trip tickets to Paris.
1550 7th Street NW
On Thursday, November 15, at the neighborhood French bar in Shaw, there will be complimentary French tapas for every purchase of Beaujolais Nouveau (glass or bottle).
1725 DeSales Street NW
Throughout the month of November, guests can order order a trio of dishes from Raphael Francois for $40 per person (excluding tax and gratuity). Classic French options include charcuterie, pressed chicken, and a chocolate tart. Pair the meal with a 750-ml. bottle of Paul Durdilly 2017 Beaujolais Les Grand Coassese for $30.
502 H Street NE
The romantic French destination in the Atlas District is serving a special three-course meal alongside Beaujolais Nouveau’s release, complete with a complimentary wine tasting all night.
Petworth Citizen’s Reading Room
829 Upshur Street NW
On Thursday, November 15, guests can down fresh wine that bartender Chantal Tseng sourced from Beaujolais & Co. For $36, guests can test their wine knowledge by playing the blind tasting Wine Game app while enjoying snacks from Odd Provisions and a flight of four drinks from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.