It’s an annual November tradition unlike any other. No, we aren’t talking about Thanksgiving. For those with a penchant for wine and others with deep appreciation for French culture, the third Thursday of November — which is one week from today — is commonly referred to as Beaujolais Nouveau Day. The delightfully fruity wine is made from Gamay grapes, which are harvested by hand. Unlike other wines that taste better as they mature, Beaujolais Nouveau is best enjoyed shortly after its production, which is commonly 6-8 weeks after harvest. Tasting notes are dominated by red fruits such as raspberry, cherry, and red currant, essentially an elevated grape juice.
Beaujolais Nouveau Day falls on Thursday, November 16 this year. Select restaurants and wine bars in D.C. are doing their part to hold proper celebrations, which start as early as this weekend and end days before Thanksgiving. Dupont’s decades-old Bistro du Coin is the longtime spot to party and pop red bottles on the holiday, though they typically keep their plans under warps.
109 S. St Asaph Street, Alexandria, Virgina
On Thursday, November 16, Josephine will be pouring Beaujolais Nouveau in its upstairs dining room, in addition to French spritzes and French beers. To eat, chef Matt Cockrell has selected platters of cheeses, charcuteries, and smoked salmon while classic party canapes will be passed by the Josephine brasserie team. Tickets start at $50 and can be purchased here.
1315 16th Street NW
The contemporary French bistro is throwing a Beaujolais Nouveau affair from Monday, November 13 through Friday, November 17. The innovative dinner will feature cassoulet with duck confit, sausage, and bacon and coq au vin with braised chicken, onions, and mashed potatoes; guests will have the option to add black winter truffles to any dish. The featured Beaujolais Nouveau wine will be Mommessin’s Les Grandes Mises Beaujolais-Villages, made from Gamay grapes from Blacé, situated towards the South of the Beaujolais region near Villefranche-sur-Saône.
The French Embassy
4101 Reservoir Road NW
Celebrate the beloved wine on French soil without booking a flight. The Embassy of France is throwing a “Beaujolais and Beyond” celebration on Saturday, November 18, complete with free-flowing Champagne, French fare, beverages, and live music. Tickets range from $109 for one to $959 for table service up to four and the party runs from 7 p.m. until 11 p.m.
1601 14th Street NW
Le Diplomate will welcome patrons for a restaurant-wide toast at 6 p.m. on Beaujolais Nouveau Day, November 16, with members of the French Embassy including Consul General Caroline Monvoisin and Press Counselor Pascal Confavreux. Starting Thursday, three different bottles of Bojo (as the French affectionately call it) will join Le Diplomate’s esteemed wine menu: Domaine de la Grosse Pierre, 2023 Beaujolais Nouveau, Domaine de Cornillac, 2023 Beaujolais Nouveau and Remi DuFaitre, Beaujolais Nouveau.
Vitis Fine Wines & Spirits
1309 5th Street NE
This Union Market wine shop’s Beaujolais Weekend Tasting takes place on Wednesday, November 15 and tickets are only $5 a person. Fees go toward any in-store purchase, making it instant savings when picking out holiday party wine pairings.
4238 Wilson Boulevard (Second Floor), Arlington, Virginia
On Sunday, November 19, join WHINO in Arlington for $12 glasses of the fruity elixir. Anyone from a novice to a Beaujolais Nouveau pro are encouraged to attend the free event.