Got Wine?

Do you like to savor a good sauvignon? Does the mention of pinot perk you right up? Then the tenth annual Beaujolais & Beyond Festival is for you. Don’t speak French? No problem. All you need is one handy little phrase: Vin rouge/blanc, s’il vous plait (“Red/white wine, please”).

The Rocky Mountain chapter of the French-American Chamber of Commerce will host the fundraiser -- which typically draws about 450 people -- today from 6 to 10 p.m. at Mile High Station, 2027 West Colfax Avenue. The fest recalls a traditional end-of-season harvest festival, where people gather to celebrate the fruits of their labor. It also marks the beginning of other annual get-togethers.

“It’s nice to start the holiday season with a French touch and culture,” notes Virginie Ganivet, the chapter’s director.

The evening will feature more than forty wines, including Mas Basile Costières de Nîmes 2006, Georges Duboeuf Côtes du Rhône Rouge, Joseph Drouhin St. Veran, Bon Ton Côtes de Gascogne and the 2008 Beaujolais Nouveau. “It is the diversity and flavors of French wine that make it so special,” says Ganivet.

And what is wine without an amazing selection of food to pair it with? When the marriage of food and wine works well, each enhances the other. The old rules -- red wine with red meat and white wine with fish and poultry -- are good, but some rules were made to be broken.

“The old rules are handy, but typically it’s the wine you like,” says chef Andy Martinez of Citron New World Bistro (3535 South Yosemite Street). Martinez will compete in the festival’s culinary competition, presented by the American Culinary Federation. Other Colorado chefs will showcase the French flair in their appetizers, entrees and desserts. The competition will be judged by a variety of local foodies, including 5280 food editor Amanda Faison and Pat Miller, radio’s Gabby Gourmet. Guests will also have a chance to choose their favorites.

Chef Martinez will compete in the appetizer section, presenting his crab wonton Neapolitan and Asian lollipop, a chicken drummette with house-made Asian sauce, sesame seeds and scallions. “I think the lollipops go well with a pinot noir, while the wontons go with a nice pinot gris,” Martinez suggests.

And if beautiful food and wine aren’t enough for you, the festival will also offer live performances from Georgann Low & Trio Nuage and Aerial Dance Over Denver, along with a silent auction; Channel 7’s Bill Clark will emcee the whole affair. Tickets range from $45 to $60; for more information, call 303-695-7818 or visit www.rmfacc.org. And one more lesson: Know when to say when. Here’s another sentence for your arsenal: J’ai eu assez, merci.
Thu., Nov. 20, 6-10 p.m., 2008

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Elena Brown

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