The French phenomenon of Nouveau or Primeur wines began in Beaujolais in the early 1900s. The vintage of that particular year would be released on the third Thursday in November. And the quality of each year's wine, always made from the Gamay grape, has always been a subject of much speculation.
In the U.S., and particularly in Southern California, the introduction of each Beaujolais Nouveau was for some years, especially in the 1980s, a time of excitement as well. We recall one year when we rode in a Limousine with an importer, first to LAX to pick up the wines, just off a Jet, and then hand delivering the wine to prominent restaurants and wine shops around Southern California.
However in recent years, at least here in California, excitement for the new Beaujolais Nouveau has died to a whisper. Some restaurants, generally those with a long tradition, still promote the event on the third Thursday of November, if in a more subdued manner.
We have continued to view the event with interest and make it a point to taste the newest vintage the first day of its arrival in California. And we know exactly where to do this. The Wine Bistro in Studio City has a long, venerable tradition of serving fine French cuisine in light hearted, friendly bistro styled atmosphere. Also it has long enjoyed the tradition of introducing Beaujolais Nouveau each year. So once again we were on hand to taste the 2006 Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais Villages Nouveau.
To go with the wine talented Chef-Partner Peter Roelant showed a regional French menu that included Filet de porc au whisky, pommes au miel, champagnes orlme-bourbon marinated pork loin with green apples and a wild mushroom sauce. Another exciting entree was Proscuitto de canard en salade de pomme de terre au celeri--duck prosciutto salad with potato and celery.
We selected the pork loin which went well with the wine. Like many nouveau wines the aroma, full of fruit, promised more than the flavor but there was a pleasant texture on the palate and mellow in its youth. Peter Roelent has enjoyed a long career in Southern California being chef at the award winning Four Oaks Restaurant in West Los Angeles for many years. Originally from Switzerland at the Wine Bistro he promises a new menu of Continental and French entrees using all fresh ingredients which has always been a hallmark of his cuisine. Up front at the Bistro J.B .Torshon was, as usual, greeting the throng of happy visitors on hand for the Nouveau event. We should have worn our beret.
We were shameful in our dessert of Profiteroles a la vanille et chocolat amer--vanilla ice cream stuffed in pastry puffs smothered in chocolate, leaving only a completely empty dish.
Wine Bistro is located at 11915 Ventura Blvd., Studio City 818 766-6366.
Graphic Design by Impact Graphics