FOOD- THE DISH- It's French ripple time! Beaujolais at Zinc, Beer Run on schedule

The boys of Zinc– Thomas Leroy and Vu Nguyen– honor the other November tradition.

In France, every third Thursday in November means just one thing– celebrating the arrival of the year's Beaujolais Nouveau by drinking a lot of it. 

In a country known for its famous and expensive wines, this young, fruity wine is like a bastard child, the French version of ripple. It's fermented and bottled quickly to celebrate the year's grape harvest, and being the first to uncork a bottle has not only become a popular tradition in France, but around the world. In fact, over 50 million bottles of the stuff will flow from the Beaujolais region of France before November 15. 

In Charlottesville, Zinc on West Main Street promises to be the first to offer the new batch on the happy day, and they're even celebrating the harvest with an after-dinner performance by Sarah White and a live feed from 106.1 FM The Corner. 

"Like Bastille Day, Cinco de Mayo, and St. Patrick's Day," says Zinc's Thomas Leroy, "we're hoping to bring a new tradition to Charlottesville." 

A Beijing Coca Cola duck run?

Driving by Woolen Mills Point recently– it's that new building on the corner of Meade and Carlton, near the railroad crossing and C-ville Market– Dish noticed that Beer Run's flashy, lightning bolt-like sign is up. Back in August, we told you about plans by step-brothers Josh Hunt and John Woodriff to open the "hybrid" store, sandwich shop, bar, and restaurant, and now it appears they're close to removing the brown paper from the windows.

Apparently, the "hybrid" idea at Beer Run is expanding. In addition to a store, a small bar, beer and wine (Hunt says they'll have 14 beers on draft, a "ton of retail beer," and a great selection of wine for $20 or less), gourmet snacks, cheeses, and gourmet-to-go lunch and dinner stuff (like Beijing Coca Cola duck and veggie meatloaf), the boys are planning to serve up fancy coffees and breakfast tacos as well!    

"We'll be opening before Turkey Day," reports Hunt. "In the meantime, we're also still looking for some good morning kitchen and barista staff."  

You wouldn't know it by driving by, but the new building is already home to a Thai restaurant, Pad Thai, and the Mexican bakery, Las Palmas. Beer Run's apparent convenience store aura may be the "magnet" that turns the building into a real Woolen Mills destination rather that a curiosity.

Horray! Chardonnay!

Over at DelFosse Vineyards in Nelson County, it appears they're making anything but French ripple. The seven-year-old vineyard's 2005 Reserve Chardonnay finished second overall in The Beverage Testing Institute's (BTI) 2007 World Wine Championships.

"This is the finest example we've seen of Virginia Chardonnay," said BTI director Jerald O'Kennard in a release. "It shows the region is an area that deserves attention from connoisseurs and consumers."

Indeed, according to the BTI testing database, the Chardonnay's score was the highest ever recorded for a Virginia wine and the second highest Chardonnay score of the nearly 1,000 wines evaluated in the last four years. 

"I'm thrilled to see Virginia receiving accolades as a leading wine region," says DelFosse's founder, Clause DelFosse, in a release. "Working a stone's throw from the home of the father of American wine, Thomas Jefferson, all of us at DelFosse are dedicated to growing world-class wines right here in Nelson County."

Chef notes

The Blue Light Grill's founding chef, Reed Anderson, who took off for a job in Italy, has been replaced by new chef Jeff Achterhoff, and it appears the proof is in the pudding– or confit en buerre, as it were. The Downtown hotspot has announced some tasty new menu items: grilled big-eye tuna with fingerling potatoes; confit en buerre with caramelized Cipollini onions and olive gremolata; and Chinese mustard-glazed pork shank over a flageolet and andouille sausage stew, topped with tobacco onions. 

Whew! Now that's a tasty mouthful!


1 comment

If I am not mistaken, the "new menu items" at Blue Light are from the old chef, Reed Anderson...