I pulled on my gold lamé top, wiggled into my black tights, and asked Mr. Luz, "are the heels on these shoes too high for a night of drinking and dancing?" on a typical Wednesday night, just like any other in D.C. Ok, if you insert "red velour tracksuit" for the gold top and tights, and change the quote to "How many Top Chef episodes do we have to watch to catch up before tonight's show?," then that would be the case. In reality, I was preparing to celebrate the most glorious of holidays in D.C....Beaujolais Nouveau Release Day.
On the third Thursday of November, France releases its most recent Beaujolais Nouveau wine vintage, (made from Gamay grapes grown and handpicked in the Beaujolais region of France) creating a festival-like atmosphere around the release and a virtual "race" to be the first to enjoy that year's harvest. It is rumored that by the time all of the Beaujolais Release events around the world have handed out their last bottle and swept their last revelers out the door, over half of the region's annual production (65 million bottles, ya'll) has been imbibed.
Of course, this is just a bit of brilliant marketing on behalf of the wily French. Except for exceptional vintages, Beaujolais Nouveau is not meant to be aged. It's a fruity, floral, light-bodied wine for quaffing within 9 months of bottling, so the French create a stir around the release to promote the early enjoyment of its baby wine. I'm happy to say that I enjoyed this year's Beaujolais Nouveau early and often at this year's Release Party at Bistrot Du Coin in D.C. You're welcome, France.
My hedonistic pursuits on the night of the Beaujolais Release Party did not stop with the black ankle strap 4 inch heels and plasticy metallic apparel. From there it snowballed into a cholesterol-laden feast, with Bistrot Du Coin's velvety chicken livers, luscious veal sweetbreads and cream sauce in a puff pastry, brothy mussels, crispy frites, and a big skillet of dark and rich lamb stew. After dinner and because we could only squeeze our party of 10 into the 7pm seating, we were forced to drink too much champagne and be merry until the actual Release at midnight. (Reservations for BdC's Beaujolais Release Party are slim, and good luck trying to get in as a mere drinker/dancer after the restaurant hits its fire-code capacity.) With the champagne came the dancing as diners cleared the floor, waiters cleared their tables to the far edges of a previously quaint restaurant, and the disco ball and club lights came up. And finally, as the bartenders began handing out plastic cups and free bottles of Beaujolais Nouveau at midnight, with the wine came dancing on the bar and (don't you wish you knew what was in this parenthesis?)
So maybe I'm not going to spill all my secrets, but suffice it to say that no one escaped BdC's Beaujolais Nouveau Release Party without doing something embarrassing, wearing purple wine-stained clothes, and giggling into a plastic cup of Beaujolais Nouveau. And I'm already counting down the days till the next third Thursday in November. France, you are awesome.