Le Beaujolais Nouveau Est Arrivé!

Austin's French restaurants celebrate the annual arrival of the young French wines.

"At one past midnight on the third Thursday of each November, over a million cases of Beaujolais Nouveau begin their journey through a sleeping France to Paris for immediate shipment to all parts of the world. Banners announce the news: Le Beaujolais Nouveau est arrivé!"

The annual arrival of the new wines is always an occasion for celebration at Austin's popular French restaurants and this year, the Texas Culinary Academy joins in the fun, owing to the French heritage of their Cordon Bleu curriculum. Here's what's happening.

Chez Nous (510 Neches, 473-2413, www.cheznousaustin.com) The arrival of the Beaujolais Nouveau always inspires a festive atmosphere at Austin's oldest French bistro. They will be open the regular hours with the regular menu, pouring plenty of fresh, new wines.

Aquarelle (606 Rio Grande, 479-8117, www.aquarellerestaurant.com) The proprietors of this little French jewel box invite you to attend their Beaujolais Soiree. The fete will take over the restaurant for the evening and will feature a variety of light, young wines paired with a casual street food menu. Look for reasonably priced wines by the glass and such delectables as a plate of imported cheeses, baguette sandwiches stuffed with steak, beef Burgundy,or coq au vin, served with pomme frites. Food items and glasses of wine will be priced individually. Thursday, Nov. 20, 5-9pm.

Ventana Restaurant, Texas Culinary Academy (11400 Burnet Rd., 339-3850, www.tca.edu) Sommelier instructor Jane Nickles will host Beaujolais Nouveau and Beyond - an hors d'oeuvres and Beaujolais Nouveau reception followed by a four-course dinner showcasing dishes and wines from the region around Lyon, France. $60 per person, reservations necessary. Friday, Nov. 21, 6pm.

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