Tuesday, November 22, 2011
It is here, accompanied by some serious hype from its most famous producer, Georges Debeouf. The 2011 Beajolais Nouveau has landed everywhere (officially on November 17 this year), with some splashy debut events in New York, Washington, DC, Atlanta, Chicago and Los Angeles, but almost nary a mention in the Philadelphia area, with the exception of the city's Midtown Village neighborhood marshalling its retailers and bars to offer the wine along its main 13th Street corridor. There has been barely a whisper about it here in central NJ. That saddens me a bit. I can remember when Nouveau's arrival was a lighthearted day of celebration.
This year Debeouf has proclaimed the wine to be "bursting with berries", so it's time to find out and taste this year's vintage.
HUGE blackberry and strawberry in the nose. It practically leaps out of the glass! Mouth feel is thin, but full of strawberries, blackberries and raspberries at the very first taste, with plenty of earth at the end, some dryness, too, and a noticeable absence of the usual green/vine notes of previous years. This is still a good light quaff, with just enough dryness to pair beautifully with buttery mashed potatoes, gravy topped turkey, herby stuffing, even that green bean casserole. I actually think that this year's wine will enhance the Thanksgiving meal and amplify the traditional flavors. Debeouf is accurate: it is indeed "bursting with berries," especially when your first inhale its aromas in the glass, but it definitely has enough backbone to carry through the entire Turkey Day feast, from snacks and munchies before dinner (think mild cheese and crackers, salumi, almonds, pumpkin or butternut squash soup, bruschetta, stuffed breads, focaccia, radishes) to every savory bite of the meal.
Even though I didn't get to sample a glass until now, the wait was worth it, and this year's Beaujolais Nouveau portends a great year for 2011 vintage Beaujolais wines. And a very tasty Thanksgiving Day wine pairing. Buy enough Nouveau for the weekend; it ought to taste just as good with a weekend of leftovers, sandwiches and turkey salad!
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
I've made no secret of the fact that I'm a huge Lew Bryson fan. For those of you who DON'T know who Bryson is, he is one of the finest writers with whom I've had the privilege to work, a beverage journalist who specializes in beer and spirits, but really, just a terrific writer. Lew was always my special guest/John Madden for all of the Golden Age of Beer in Philadelphia Tours I conducted during the halcyon days of Philadelphia's The Book and The Cook food festival
Well, it looks like Lew has what it takes for TV, too.
Bryson and producer Rudy Vegliante are shopping a pilot for American Beer Blogger, which Vegliante describes thusly:
Thursday, November 10, 2011
When I first arrived at the University of Pennsylvania in 1975 as a freshman, I was struck by the sheer beauty of the campus, the sheer numbers of students converging on the campus and milling about, and the endless displays of Penn clothing and logo-stamped merchandise for sale all around campus. But my first swag purchase was a light grey t-shirt emblazoned with huge block letters that read: "NOT PENN STATE". It never struck me that there could be such confusion between the school I was about to attend in Philadelphia and the larger state college located in the center of the state. But I though the t-shirt was pretty funny.
But I was soon to learn that many fellow students were quite sensitive to the confusion. "Half my family thinks I'm going to Penn State," said one of my roommates, who hailed from Staten Island, "I don't think they know the difference."
It only took me a few weeks to experience that confusion. On one of my first visits home for a weekend, I had one of my dad's friends ask me if I had bumped into Joe Paterno on campus yet. "Nope, not yet, " I smirked. My dad didn't think it was so funny. "He's going to the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia," he quickly retorted. "Didn't know they had a Philadelphia campus," said his friend. I thought my father was going to slug him.
"Don't worry," I said, "we know the difference."
Later that weekend, one of my uncles (I won't say which one) asked me a similar question and asked me if I could get tickets to the next Penn State football game. This time, my father looked at me with a smile and shook his head. "No, that's almost impossible for me," I answered.
Eventually all of my family understood what university I was attending, and didn't ask me about Joe Paterno or the Nittany Lions or anything like that anymore. Several cousins did in fact eventually attend the school in State College, and are proud alumni.
After a week like this one, I am certainly glad that I'm an alumni of the place with the t-shirts---still for sale to this day---that say "Not Penn State."