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Le Beaujolais Nouveau 2011 Is Here

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There aren't too many wines that come in roaring like a lion each year, but Beaujolais Nouveau fits that description perfectly.

According to French law, Beaujolais Nouveau, a red wine made from 100 percent Gamay grapes, is released one minute past midnight the third Thursday in November each year. That was yesterday. This longtime tradition is celebrated worldwide with a hyped-up promotional cry of "Le Beaujolais Nouveau est arrive!"

In years past, thousands of cases of the fruity, fun wine have come to the States in planes, helicopters, ships, and -- who knows? -- maybe this year some clever publicist will have the bottles make an entrance in Lady Gaga's red-carpet Grammy egg. Any gimmick is worthy if it gets some good press.

In 2008, San Diego had guests eagerly waiting in their pajamas. Las Vegas aficionados were treated to the lighting of the famous copy of the "Eiffel Tower" in the Paris Las Vegas Hotel for the special occasion. Miami had its own press extravaganza when the Miami Beaujolais Biker Brigade rolled down Ocean Drive, promoting the beverage along with members of the local Harley Davidson hog club.

According to enologists, Georges Duboeuf, one of the biggest distributors of the wine, is planning more than 100 parties and events that will take place around the country.

A few dozen local French restaurants -- including Pascal's on Ponce, Angelique Euro Café, Vita by Baoli, and Wine Depot & Bistro 555 -- along with Alliance Française and Hotel Sofitel, toasted this latest harvest yesterday.

Beaujolais Nouveau is a food-friendly, versatile, and affordable wine (about $10 retail price) that is fruit-filled, young, and should be served slightly chilled. More than 35 million bottles will be consumed in the months following the wine's release. Each year, the Duboeuf bottles' labels have featured original artworks designed by international artists. Brooklyn graffiti artist Kaves created the 2011 image.

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