From left: 2012 Volpi Moscato, 2010 Mâcon-la Roche Vineuse Les Cras Olivier Merlin, 2013 Albert Bichot Beaujolais Nouveau, 2004 Chateau du Tetre Margaux, BBR Wm Pickering 20yr Tawny Port

It’s the time of the year again! I have been following the tradition of the new wine in November. Yes “Le Beaujolais nouveau est arrivé !” My first posting about this interesting topic was two years ago. Since then, the special November wine always appeared at the right time on my dinner table.

November Wine Frenzy

2013 Albert Bichot Beaujolais NouveauPonti had a great deal this year from the usual producer Albert Bichot. It was HK$149 per bottle, buy 2 get 1 free — truly a steal, cheapest in 3 years! After gathering the numbers from my network of wine lovers, we decided to go for 15. However I was too late in placing the order, they were all booked in Ponti. The only consolation was to queue up on the waiting list.

Sure there would be other producers in the market. Yet, my schedule was too hectic for me to look for the alternative, and thus kept my wishful spirit on the waiting list. The other excuse for this “lazy” act was to stay with the same producer for vintage comparison.

The luck went thin on my side. Officially, Beaujolais nouveau always arrives on the 3rd Thursday of November each year. No one cancelled his/her order until the day after nouveau arrived. Ponti informed me that they could only source out 6 from other branches for me. But I had to travel to a further branch to collect them if I wanted to have them before the scheduled transfer day (Tuesday). That leaved me no choice as I was going to hold a dinner which I would like to serve the new wine on Saturday, not too distanced from the actual Thursday to be with the spirit.

November wine and cheese dinner

November wine frenzy, from left: 2012 Volpi Moscato, 2010 Mâcon-la Roche Vineuse Les Cras Olivier Merlin, 2013 Albert Bichot Beaujolais Nouveau, 2004 Chateau du Tetre Margaux, BBR Wm Pickering 20yr Tawny Port
From left: 2012 Volpi Moscato d’Asti, 2010 Mâcon-la Roche Vineuse Les Cras Olivier Merlin, 2013 Albert Bichot Beaujolais Nouveau, 2004 Chateau du Tetre Margaux, BBR’s William Pickering 20-year-old Tawny Port.

The night began with our favourite Volpi Moscato d’Asti. It always worked like a charm. Nobody has resisted this half sweet and slight bubbly from Piedmont, Italy. The lovely wine also paired well with all sorts of cheese on the cheeseboard, from mild and nutty soft Crottin de Chavignol of France to pungent blue cheese like Cabrales from Spain.

From front counter clockwise towards center: Comtre, Chaumes, Vacche Rosse, Cabrales, Swiss Raclatte, Crottin de Chavignol.
From front counter clockwise towards center: Comte, Chaumes, Vacche Rosse, Cabrales, Swiss Raclette, Crottin de Chavignol.

Live French mussels in white wineThe next wine was Burgundy 2010 Mâcon-la Roche Vineuse, Les Cras, Olivier Merlin. Part of it went to cook live French mussels. That worked out well as usual. Nothing to brag about.

It was supposed to be the nouveau moment after the Burgundy. But judging from the guests’ “alcohol performance”, I had the feeling that they would not last if I were to serve 2 more bottles. Hence, the decision was to skip the Beaujolais and continue with the 2004 Chateau du Tertre, Margaux. The other more relevant reason was I had opened du Tertre 2 hours earlier, and thus there was no point of return to serve it now! How brilliant!

Du Tertre 04 was truly a classic Margaux. Aromatic nose, cassis and red currant on top of nice oak. Silky tannin and Margaux signature floral notes with hint of jasmine. With this taste profile, the ladies enjoyed it more than the gentleman.

Homemade TiramisuOur daughter was the next star, or rather, the Tiramisu that she had prepared for the dessert menu. She followed Gordon Ramsay’s recipe but with some modifications to the ingredient. The recipe called for Marsala, brandy or Tia Maria which we had none of the above. After some research from the internet, I offered BBR’s William Pickering 20-year-old Tawny Port for the right substitute.

The Tiramisu itself was yummy, but when we had it with extra glass of the tawny port, it was heaven! Maybe I was biased as I’m a port lover, but my guests spoke the same satisfaction, indicating the perfect match between the two.

The return of the Beaujolais

Perhaps it was the sugar, either or both from the Tiramisu and tawny port, I suddenly felt some excitement and craze for more wine. Our guests echoed the feeling. Now, the nouveau re-arriving, the Beaujolais finally returned! Although it wasn’t my planned serving order, it didn’t bother us as the spirit was high.

Albert Bichot was a consistent producer, the Beaujolais Nouveau was as good as last 2 years. But the satisfaction for me was that the grand finale could be complete, that my fanatic act of running up and down in town to collect the wine could pay off. Bottom line, I could share it soon enough with great company, in this occasion of November wine frenzy.

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