Happy Beaujolais Day!

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You know the week before Thanksgiving has become a thing.   And if you want to call it another excuse to party, another excuse to eat, drink, and participate in merriment, I’m all for it.

Beaujolais Nouveau 2017 officially kicked off this past Thursday.  To me, it’s the precursor to all that’s great about the holidays.  And this is meant as the highest compliment.  It could just be another marketing gimmick, or another way to make a dollar, but who really cares?  Any reason to get together with the people you love, to drink some simple and affordable wines, eat a whole bunch of yummy food, and just hang out is better than any reason not to.

And if there’s more, and as long as it’s not overkill, I’m all for more genuine celebrations as long as it’s in a healthy, safe, and heartwarming manner.

This event truly warms my heart.

I was talking with a close friend over the week about getting some of our favorite people together for this truly special day. And with a few schedule adjustments we were able to do this to perfection.

Speaking of schedules, 2017 was a strange year in France for as it had one of the smallest amounts of harvesting and production in quite some time.   In spite of all that, the hosts f the party and myself each brought a bottle to share and try with friends.

And they provided this spread for the ages.  I mean what else needs to be said?

Well we should talk about the wine, right?

First up is the hosts’ choice, the 2017 Beaujolais Nouveau from Bouchard Aîné & Fils.

This is what makes this event so fun.  It’s exactly what you would expect from a Beaujolais Nouveau,  It’s light on the nose and when you sip.  The grapes tastes as young as you would expect. There’s no thrills, no life changing feelings (well that all depends on the person drinking), and this isn’t likely to win any awards.  But it might just win you over.

There’s some cherries, hints of other fruits (all depends on your interpretation and imagination), and a little to no tannins. It’s exactly what you would expect.  It’s exactly what I expected.  And sometimes that’s all you want.   At the average price of $10-12, there’s no complaints.  It tastes like a bottle under $10.  I would say the couple extra dollars is an upcharge to join the celebration!   And people to love the label.

Next, was the bottle I brought.  The 2017 Beaujolais Nouveau from Joseph Drouhin, almost leans towards the medium side.  This is the opposite of our first bottle, and seems a little more serious and sophisticated.  It might take itself a little too seriously.  The violet color is the antithesis of our first bottle.  The berries, cherries, and other fruits taste a little darker and a little smokier.  I believe this was the favorite of the group.   There’s a little more structure to this.  If you didn’t tell me this was a nouveau, I wouldn’t know the difference.  This tastes more like a regular Beaujolais.

At $15 this borders on closer to bottle service or vip access to the party.

After all this analysis, none of this matters.  We went back-and-forth in sipping each bottle, that any insight and commentary was rendered meaningless.

What’s most important now, this time of year, and forever, is who you choose to spend these celebratory occasions with.   The small gatherings where you can discuss the wine, the food, and anything else that might be on your mind, or makes you feel good, is more important than discussing all the complexities and intricacies of these bottles, or anything.

Having a good time is of bigger importance than taking these things too seriously.   And I take what I say oh so seriously.  Haha.

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After a while, other wine was drank, the amazing food was continually noshed on, and the conversations went from light hearted to serious, and back to light hearted.  But it was all in good fun and out of love.   This is what life is really all about.  This applies to now, the holidays, and for the duration of our existence in this amazing thing called life.

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This was incredible.  I don’t know what else to say.  I’m grateful to be welcomed into a friend’s house where things are happy, beautiful, holiday like, and represents all the other good that’s in the world.  This is what makes this life so grande.  It’s the intimate gatherings with close friends and family that help us as grow as people, and as souls.

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This warmed my soul.

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These bottles are easy to find, and I would suggest drinking them before the year is over. It’s not meant to wait.  These grapes average six to eight weeks old, so the time is now. Here’s a list of other suggested Beaujolais Nouveau bottles to try.

Here are my posts on this beautiful occasion.

My blog is now three years old, and I’m honored to have this as my third anniversary post.  I wasn’t aware of this detail until this morning.  I felt an additional post for the week was essential to commemorate.  I don’t believe in coincidences, I believe in the awesome.

I think this is going to be a great holiday season.

Peace be with you.

Ideen

 

 

 

 

Graduation

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By this time all it’s likely someone close to you has either graduated or is about to graduate.  It’s a beautiful thing in so many respects.  It’s the beginning, the end, and culmination of everything.  You worked hard for this, your family worked hard for this, friends, and everyone in between.  Now it’s time to celebrate!

This is a congratulations to my cousin on graduating.  And I don’t mean just graduating. It’s of the highest level possible.  What that entails is important but it’s one of those things that’s still so personal, so beautiful, and warms the heart that it’s just too remarkable to expound correctly.

But I’m going to do my best when it comes to the celebration and to the party.

You may find that a momentous and monumental celebration might lead you to overthink what to bring to a party, whether it’s wine, food, or a dessert.

Now I’ve been to parties that my family has either held or attended and they always do it nice.  They go above and beyond, spare no expense, and want to make everyone invited feel like family in the process.  That’s what life is all about. So that may add to the pressure.

I didn’t know it ahead of time but the masterful and incredible food spread may have had a hand in what I brought.

Luckily, there were options for wine, red and white, and other alcoholic beverages that if myself or any other guest may have made a misstep, it wouldn’t have been noticed.

Regardless of that, you still want to bring a wine that everyone will enjoy, that others will sip, so you get that sense of validation and satisfaction when your bottle is completed. It’s a glorious feeling and a little ego boost.

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How my wine turned out I truly don’t know.  And for big picture reasons, it really doesn’t matter.  But the 2015 Lion Hound Red from Ridgeback Wines, of South Africa (for more on the winery click here) is a grower.  For more on these wines you can also find more information from the importer Cape Starz Wine.

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The unique flavors are hard to describe.  And once again, none of that is truly important when you’re in a celebration to remember.

I brought it as a gift, with no intention (well, maybe) in the back of my mind that this was going to make this blog.  And I mean that with all the respect in the world.  I was just as well let this marinate with all the other wines and have the hosts open it in their own time.

Well it felt like time.

I’m a huge animal lover and the Rhodesian Ridgeback is not a dog I see everyday.  But it’s one I’ve had a few encounters with and thought they were the most beautiful of creatures.  That has no bearing on why I bought this bottle.  Cute or artistic depictions of animals on a label would never draw anyone in.  Not your truly either.  No, never.   ‘Hehe’.

The $9 price tag didn’t hurt either.

But this truly hard to describe.  It’s a mix of so many grapes and 10 months of aging in French Oak which leads to a blend that I can only explain and sweet, spicy, dry, and impression lasting.  I kind of invented that last term.

The synopsis of the 2013 vintage mentions dark cherries, plum, licorice, with hints of cigar box and wood spice.   Yes you read that correctly.  Your palates and guesses are as good as mine.

This is a full bodied wine that may taste like a medium wine to some but this one has got some potency to it.   There’s lots of grapes to love (Shiraz, Grenache, Merlot, Mourvedre, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Viognier) which make this so intense and full of life.  Literally full of life.

I left before the wine was kicked.  So I can’t tell you other people’s impressions or thoughts, but there was a lot of wine, a lot of food, and a lot of excitement that I’m more than grateful just to have been a part of this awesome coronation and event based on love and of celebrating the end of a journey, but the creation and continuation of others.

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Beautiful.

More importantly, so was this party.  There was and is so much to be grateful for.  Not only is a celebration of family success, but it’s also a celebration of family.  Any chance to hang out with family, needs to excuse or explanation.  Sometimes the best reason is no reason, but sometimes the best reason is also of celebration.

I love my family and I’m so grateful to have been a part of this.  And I’m so grateful that I’ve already spent time with family since this celebration last weekend.

It’s a beautiful near conclusion to Spring and a hopeful and inspirational sign of things to come for the summer and beyond.

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I’ll leave with just an image or two of the amazing food spread but not much.  Some memories are meant to be kept internal.

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This is one to be cherished forever.

Love,

Ideen