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For The Wine Gulper In All Of Us

By Chuck Sudo in Food on Nov 16, 2005 3:45PM

Tomorrow is "Beaujolais Nouveau Time!!" Every year at one minute past midnight on the third Thursday in November the newest batch of wine from Burgundy's Beaujolais region is released, with accompanying fanfare (by decree of French law the wine cannot be released until then). The total shipment of 65 million bottles, which accounts for nearly half of the region's wine production, is distributed and consumed around the world.

Beaujolais Nouveau is a relatively recent appellation, having been officially recognized by decree in 1951. It was vinted fast for consumption so that the better beaujolais could age further. The wine is made from a white juice black gamay grape. In plainspeak: beaujolais is about as close to white wine as a red wine can get. All the grapes in the region are harvested by hand to maintain the integrity of the batches. Grapes are then transported to winemaking vats whole- both the ripened and green parts of the grape. Due to the way this wine is pressed the tannins generally found in red wines are virtually non-existent. Beaujolais Nouveau is a very fruit-forward wine that's best served chilled. It also isn't meant to be sipped and critiqued: this is a wine that is intended to be gulped. It's the ultimate party wine, in fact. It's also an ideal "bridge" wine for those wanting to make the transition from reds to whites.

The release of the wine is celebrated around the world with parties and celebrations throughout the world, and Chicago is no exception (a list of restaurants and bars celebrating the release of this year's batch follows the jump). Chicagoist feels lucky that we're hosting our Happy Hour on the same day as beaujolais nouveau. It's a good way to get you primed for the evening.

The following establishments are hosting Beaujolais Nouveau parties and specials Thursday:

The Tasting Room at Randolph Wine Cellars (1415 W. Randolph)

Dunlay's On Clark and D.O.C. Wine Bar(2600 N. Clark, 773-883-6000; D.O.C. 2602 N. Clark, 773-883-5101)

Cor Wine Bar (4343 N. Lincoln)

Ambria (2300 N. Lincoln Park West, 773-472-5959)

La Tache (1475 W. Balmoral, 773-334-7168l)

La Sardine (111 N. Carpenter)

House Of Glunz (1206 N. Wells)

Brasserie Jo (59 W. Hubbard)

Chez Joel (1119 W. Taylor, 312-226-6479)

Cafe Bernard/Red Rooster (2100 N. Halsted)

Enoteca Roma (2144-2146 W. Division)

Vintage Wine Bar (1942 W. Division)

Cyrano's Bistrot & Wine Bar (546 N. Wells)

Kafka Wine Company (3325 N. Halsted)

Blackbird (619 W. Randolph)

Binny's Ivanhoe Castle (3000 N. Clark)