Wednesday, November 24, 2010

St. James' Nouveau est arrive!

Last week, on the third Thursday in November, Beaujolais Nouveau made landfall in America. Parties celebrating the wine’s arrival take place throughout the country, usually in the airport hangar where the wine will be unloaded. In graduate school, I learned that these parties pose a great dilemma to middle aged women of a certain set. As overheard in Sendik's in Whitefish Bay, one woman in fur and sleek leather boots to another woman in fur “…well, the party will be held at a hangar, so it will be cold [as winters tend to be in Wisconsin], and it’s a hangar—a big warehouse, really—so do you dress up for it? I mean, it’s a wine party, so do I wear sequins? All black? I just don’t know…is it okay to wear a skirt? But it’s a hangar….” I went dressed in fleece and khakis.

In Missouri, hangar parties welcoming the arrival of Beaujolais tend to be restricted to the big cities with wine drinkers, but Missouri is, actually, one of the few states in America that offer a young, bright, unaged (and fragile) wine much reminiscent of Beaujolais Nouveau! Fancy that, Missouri has her own Nouveau! St. James Winery has bottled its Nouveau for several years in a row, usually restricted to only 100 cases a year. Like the wineries that bottle Beaujolais Nouveau, when St. James’ 2010 Nouveau sells out, they won’t make another until November 2011.

Made with Corps Noir, Rougon and Chambourcin grapes, St. James’ Nouveau blend tastes so similar to the French Beaujolais that I grabbed several bottles for the Thanksgiving table. I packed my Reidel pinot glasses, a St. James Nouveau and a DuBoeuf Beaujolais for a blind taste test among family members at the table. St. James' Chambourcin blend without oak aging should be interesting, and while Beaujolais is a staple on the Thanksgiving table, usually after one glass of sweeter, fruity wine, I switch to a heavy cab that tastes like a white oak. St. James' Nouveau is only available at the winery and for a limited time only.

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