California Wine: the Nouveau Nouveau

It's that time of the year again. Time for France to celebrate its wine harvest by bottling and releasing the first juice of the Beaujolais, and then, strangely, to ship a large amount of it thousands of miles to California. Mind you, we aren't the only recipients of this embryonic tonic, but we are some of the furthest from France to receive such a large quantity.

In France, the Beaujolais Nouveau celebration is the time to mark the end of the harvest and have a first taste of the new vintage. At one point in time, the streets of Beaujolais and Lyons would be filled with crowds of the inebriated and inhibited upon its release. But why do we drink it here as well? Wouldn't it be far more appropriate for us to be drinking a wine that celebrates our own wine harvest?

It would. But, we generally don't produce wine in the same method of Beaujolais Nouveau. Instead, I propose that rather than join in on stomping an Andre the Giant-sized carbon footprint on the earth, we look a bit closer to home for some ripe berry revelry.

The exuberant, bright berry fruit, crisp acidity, and love of a light chill offered by a young Beaujolais - -with a lot of other flavors -- can be found in the 2010 Beckmen Vineyards Purisima Mountain Vineyard Grenache rosé.

This Rosé is rich and deep in color and drinks like a light red. It boasts ripe cherries and rose petals on the nose with a refreshing acidity, bright fruit and just a whisper of tannin on the palate. Made just up the coast from Los Angeles in the Santa Ynez Valley, this wine delivers on taste while traveling a fraction of the distance of its French counterpart.

And when it comes to pairing with food, this American-grown rosé is a great companion to Thanksgiving dinner. It's also great with with salmon, pork, or even Indian food. If you're anywhere but France, and someone requests Beaujolais, head for a bottle of California rosé instead. It hits closer to home.

2010 Beckmen Vineyards Purisima Mountain Vineyard Grenache, retails about $17.



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I spend my life eating, drinking, cooking, brewing and traveling.

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