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Well this is a darn cool day. I’ve been a wino for, like, a really, really long time (sounds kinda bad doesn’t it?) and I never knew about Nouveau Beaujolais Day until now. I mean, I’ve always known about Beaujolais. It’s a lovely, light, drinkable red from the Beaujolais region of France (duh!) made from the Gamay variety of grape. In my experience, it’s a bit lighter and drier than the spicier Gamay Noir varietals produced here in B.C. (one of my favorites of which is from Mt. Boucherie, and the other one is from Sandhill). It’s very pleasant and kind of … inconsequential in aspect, which makes it thoroughly dangerous.
The Nouveau Beaujolais is an early winter wine that is traditionally released on the 3rd Thursday in November. That was yesterday. All over the world, people have been racing to be the first to serve and drink this light-bodied, put-a-spring-in-your-step, bottle of happiness. The guy at the liquor store said to me, “oh, you want the grape juice and bubble gum wine?”. Hmph. Well, it’s no Amarone, but damn! It is hella-drinkable and thoroughly enjoyable and perfectly pretty. I have never seen such purple wine. Okay, so there’s a slight similarity to grape juice.
The thing that’s cool about Nouveau Beaujolais Day is that it’s this crazy worldwide wine fest that happens in the dead of winter when people are sort of thinking that wine is done for the year. Not that it’s ever done, but let’s face it – who goes on a wine tour of the Okanagan in the middle of November? National Beaujolais Day has been described as one of “the most frivolous and animated rituals in the wine world”. Cool! According to Wine Spectator, I am one lucky cookie, since I get to blog about this delightful libation this year – apparently 2009 is set to be one of the Beaujolais’ best vintages ever. Sweet!
Yesterday was a good day to come home and drink a bottle of wine. Or half a bottle. There were two varieties released in BC Liquor Stores yesterday: the Beaujolais Villages Nouveau – Mommesin 2009, and the Beaujolais Nouveau – Duboeuf Paper Label 2009 and I contemplated opening both bottles and having a drink off, but my tasting partner, P, got thoroughly soused at an early Christmas lunch and was entirely useless to me on the tasting front. So I settled for drinking half a bottle of the Mommessin with a few slices of French Batard from Bond Bond’s bakery, and a version of Portuguese Sausage and Kale soup that I made in my slow cooker while watching the world’s cheesiest television show. It was a fine way to end the day.
Oh, you want to know what the t.v. show was? It was the recent remake of “V”. Terrible. But oh so good.
What? You want the soup recipe? Well that’s just pushing it. But here you go:
1. Sauté 1/2 large onion (diced), 3 cloves of garlic (minced) and 3 Portuguese Chorico Sausages (2 hot, 1 sweet, sliced 1/4″) in a heavy sauce pot.
2. Add some chopped mushrooms, s & p.
3. When starting to brown and caramelize on bottom of pan, deglaze with a little dry sherry or red wine.
4. Toss in the 1/2 large can of diced tomatoes you had left over from the casserole you made at the same time, a couple handfuls of fresh chopped basil and 1 tbsp of dried oregano.
5. Put in slow cooker. Add 1 litre of ham stock that you made from this year’s giant Easter Ham Hock and kept in the freezer all summer long.
6. Add 2 – 3 cups of water because you think there’s not enough liquid.
7. 3-4 drops of Liquid Smoke, no more.
8. Chop 8-9 red nugget potatoes into little tiny soup-size pieces and mix into the glop in the pot.
9. Top with a few sprigs of parsley ’cause they’re in the fridge and then fill the pot to the top with coarsely chopped kale (I used one really big bunch).
10. Turn on the slow cooker and set it to cook all day on low. When you get home, give it a stir and turn it to high while you do your chores and heat the Batard in the oven and … voila! Perfect Stormy Night Food that pairs reasonably well with your evening’s wine assignment (ok, probably an Touriga Nacional would have been better – it’s a darn stout soup – but the Nouveau did nicely in a pinch).