Celebrating Beaujolais Nouveau in Portland

written and photographed by Carly Diaz


Beaujolais Nouveau c’est arrivé! On Thursday, November 17, wine lovers around the world will open bottles and sip the first wine of the harvest. The tradition originated in the Beaujolais region of France and is now celebrated around the world on the third Thursday of November. Made from Gamay grapes, the young, red wine is a tribute to the conclusion of the year’s fruitful harvest. Refreshing, fruit-forward and ready to appease revelers, Nouveau wine is easy to drink and the growing collection of winemakers in Portland makes people eager for a taste of the first vintage. Portland has fully embraced the day to herald Beaujolais Nouveau with a variety of celebrations around the city.

At one of Portland’s urban wineries, the Southeast Wine Collective, co-owners Thomas Monroe and Kate Norris will be hosting an intimate Nouveau party from 5-7 p.m. with a complimentary tasting featuring seven Oregon wineries and one French Beaujolais Nouveau. Not to be missed is the fifth vintage of Monroe and Norris’ Division Winemaking Co. 2016 ‘Nouveau Nouveau’ Gamay Noir.

“We make the wine in the traditional format utilizing the carbonic maceration technique where the wine ferments in whole clusters in a low oxygen environment,” Monroe said. “This year’s effort was a complete success and the wine is balanced by bright red strawberry and raspberry jammy fruit and dense wet earth, like the smell of the forest.”

Wine will be limited on a first-come, first-served basis and revelers are encouraged to arrive early. The Collective’s regular food and wine menu will be available.

Also in Portland, the annual Beaujolais Nouveau dinner with Alliance Française de Portland is marking its 15th year at the Heathman Hotel with a new culinary partner: Headwaters, the recently opened restaurant by James Beard award-winning chef Vitaly Paley. With over 500 guests anticipated, the event includes a buffet and extensive tastings of Nouveau, as well as spirits. Tickets are available online.

Dialing up the camaraderie is St. Jack, a French restaurant in Northwest Portland hosting a street fair celebration. Wines from Division Winemaking Co. and other local winemakers, such as Bow & Arrow Wines, Holden Wine Co., and Terroirs Originels, will be served alongside bites from Ataula, Tusk, Kachka, Nostrana, and more. Proceeds from this event will go to Friends of the Children.

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