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"Top of the Central Coast": My Beaujolais Pairing Dinner #Winophiles #GoGamayGo #Sponsored

 This is a sponsored post written by me in conjunction with the November #Winophiles event.
Wine samples were provided for this post and this page may contain affiliate links

"Top of the Central Coast"
Okay, first a note about the title of the post: This is not me needlessly bragging. This was the opinion of my cousin's friends who flew in for their first visit to the Bay Area. I'm not just making this up! Read on for the full scoop, but they thought my wine pairing dinner was the best part of their entire trip. I'll take it! You can read Jeff's invitation to the event: here.

The French Winophiles are timing their posts to coincide with the worldwide release of Nouveau Beaujolais which happens on the third Thursday in November. But we're going deeper with some older vintages. And we're chatting on Twitter this Saturday, November 18th. Join live us at 8am Pacific time or follow the hashtag at your leisure: #Winophiles.

When I received four bottles of wine in preparation for our French Winophiles' virtual trip to Beaujolais, I was struggling to get a pairing dinner on the calendar. And, really, opening four bottles of wine when it's just me and Jake is a waste of wine. 

I had just had a pairing birthday dinner for one of my best friends with wines from a favorite vintner in Berkeley; I have my pairings set for Thanksgiving with wines from a favorite vintner here in Monterey. Darn it! But the post was due, so I decided I was going to just do it: uncork, pair, sip, recork and hope for the best as I sipped and savored till the wine was gone. 

Then I received a text from my cousin Katie who wanted to know if she and her girlfriends could crash with us on their way down from San Francisco. I told her 'no' on spending the night - three guests in our house would have been more than cramped - but told her that I would feed her and her friends. When I asked if they drank red wine, she answered that they were big fans of French and Italian wines. These were two girls with whom she had traveled in Europe during college.

Perfect. I could alleviate my wine-wasting guilt by uncorking four bottles of wine for five wine drinkers versus four bottles for just me and my husband. I ran to the store with my notes and recipes, excited to present them with four courses and wine pairings.

Phew. After our four-hour dinner, she and her friends went to spend the night with my parents. I think it worked out perfectly.

A few days later, I received this text: "I asked my friends what their favorite part was of their first NorCal trip and they said your dinner! Meaning your dinner topped the Golden Gate Bridge, Monterey Bay Aquarium, Carmel Beach, the redwoods, rooftop bars...YOUR DINNER WAS THE BEST!" 

Success. Not too shabby for an impromtu dinner party. 

About Beaujolais
Let's start with this: there is a huge difference between Nouveau Beaujolais which, in my estimation, doesn't even qualify as wine. It's just barely-fermented grape juice! But Beaujolais can be a beautiful, elegant manifestation of the Gamay Noir grape.

The Winophiles' Posts
Here’s a compilation of posts which will go live over the next few days. Don’t forget to join our chat!

My Dinner
Recipes will be posted soon; the titles will be hyperlinked here.

Beaujolais One
Domaine Baron de L'Ecluse - Côte de Brouilly Les Garances 2015 paired with Crispy Chanterlle-Topped Arugula Salad with Bacon Vinaigrette and a Ricotta Salad with French Radishes.

The wine boasted a beautiful ruby hue with a tinge of purple. Its lively nose has a fruity character bolstered by minerality and some spice.

Beaujolais Two
Domaines Piron - Morgon Côte du Py 2015 paired with Braised Chicken Thighs with Dates, Cherries, and Pistachios. Recipe here.

I'll start with this: The Morgon was the only bottle empty at the end of the night. I know we were all pacing ourselves to make sure that we tasted all wines. But this was the Beaujolais that had people returning for second - and third...and fourth - pours. The wine was delightfully complex with rich aromas, structured tannins, and a distinct minerality.

Beaujolais Three
Domaine de Briante – Brouilly Tradition 2015 paired with Apple-Cranberry Crumb Pie and a cheese platter.

This Brouilly was simultaneously intense but supple. I loved the intense ruby color, its elegant fruit aromas, and the generous body and mouthfeel. 

Note: That evening I didn't open the fourth Beaujolais I received for this event. I uncorked that bottle on a crazy weekday evening and paired it when I poached some local sole in a Thai-scented coconut broth. More on that later. But most people don't think seafood + red wine. They are missing out. The Vignerons de Bel Air - Beaujolais Villages Nature Terra Vitis 2016 was a delicious match for my sole dinner.

On the Web
*Disclosure: I received sample wines for recipe development, pairing, and generating social media traction. My opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the organizer and sponsors of this event.


  1. You sure rocked the Beaujolais. Well done!!

  2. The Morgan was our favorite as well. I am not at all surprised that your dinner was the highlight of their trip.

  3. Love the pairings! Look forward to reading more about them. Nice photos, too!

    1. Thanks, Lauren. I need to play catch-up this weekend!

  4. I love this story! Having houseguests is something we enjoy and making thier evening special is so fun. And it does seem that often we open bottles and wish we had someone to share them.

    Camilla, looks gorgeous as always!

    1. This Morgon is a fantastic example of Beaujolais as it combines the fruit and pepper of Gamay with the minerality of Côte du Py hill. One could say I am not very objective as I am co-owner of the vineyard, my brother Dominique Piron vinified : happy to have your confirmation from the other side of the Atlantic !
      I also like Beaujolais Nouveau though : I love to drinkthis first wine of the vintage, just a few days. I serve it as aperitif, or with a Beaujolais sausage cooked in the same wine and the skins of the grapes pressed with potatoes and salted butter, delicious.
      But you have all imagined more exotic and original matches for all Beaujolais, congratulations !
      Michèle PIRON (from Morgon and Paris)

  5. Chef Cam! Loving your story and food pairings with the Beaujolais. I enjoyed each wine but there was something special about the Beaujolais Villages. Really look forward to trying a second bottle of that wine with your sole poached in Thai-scented coconut
    broth ;-D

  6. I'll be looking forward to seeing the recipe for that Thai scented coconut fish dish,thanks Camilla!

  7. Looks like it was a really great dinner party! A very fortuitous turn of events!

  8. That salad looks so good! So do the chicken thighs; I really like that Morgon.


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