What started 29 years ago by the French-American Chamber of Commerce (FACC) as an opportunity to taste the new release of the just harvested Beaujolais, the jammy, fresh and easy drinking Gamay wine always released the third Thursday of the month of November raced from the Beaujolais region of France to Paris in celebration of the year’s bounty, has grown into an incredible celebration of wine, food and festivity from all over the world and the largest Beaujolais and Beyond Festival in the United States.
The 29th annual Beaujolais and Beyond Festival took place Friday night at the Irving Convention Center, the first time to be held in the new event space, with 2000+ guests in attendance sampling wines from throughout France, California, Washington and Texas. I had a chance to attend as a guest of the FACC. The Texas table I am happy to say was the first I stopped by and continued to revisit to taste the delicious wines from Duchman Family Winery, including their lively Vermentino and rustic Dolcetto made from Texas High Plains grapes.
However, the best wines of the night might have been from throughout France, as offerings from throughout the country paired well with everything from fresh crepes from Parigi to the gorgeous, just smoked gravlax from Boulevardier, to sweet macarons from Le Cordon Bleu.
My favorite, the wines from the Rhone and Bordeaux region. From Rhone, Famille Perrin and their Vacqueyras, filled with fresh herbs, spice and mineral notes with blackberry, plum and licorice notes. Their Châteauneuf-du-Pape is big, intense and red fruit and leather filled, yet still approachable as it had been opened for a few hours prior to serving.
From Bordeaux, Chateau Tayac Margaux filled with dark cherries and ripe blackberry with well rounded tannins making an elegant and lucious wine. Chateau de France Pessac Leognan was the highest rated 2009 Left Bank Bordeaux in Wine Spectator for wines under $30 and it is easy to see why, ripe plum and blackberry with espresso, mocha and a touch of smoke. A big and beautiful wine from one of the highly rated 2009 Bordeaux vintage.
All wines for the night were provided by Goody-Goody.
I had a chance to briefly speak with the beaming President of the FACC, L. Scott Brown as he enjoyed the evening with his wife. With pleasure and a much needed sigh of relief it noted he was pleased with both the new venue for the event and the overall feel of the night. The space was nicely suited to handle a great crowd without feeling cramped. And, with such an interesting and expansive selection of wine with pairings from some of our favorite French inspired places in town, I am excited to see what they have in store for the 30th anniversary next year.