Forget the Chardonnay -- it's time for Beaujolais Nouveau

If you are a wine lover, you know that this month comes bearing gifts in the form of Beaujolais Nouveau. This most popular vin de primeur originates with Gamay grapes produced in the Beaujolais region of France that are then fermented for only six to eight weeks prior to bottling -- hence the wine's light pink to purple shade. Beaujolais Nouveau Day celebrates the official release of the wine on the third Thursday of November -- and you can party at the fifteenth annual Beaujolais & Beyond festival tonight. See also: Photos from the 2012 Beaujolais and Beyond festival

The food-and-wine event will take run from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. tonight at the McNichols Building. It will feature the culinary creativity of over twenty Colorado chefs who will showcase French=inspired dishes that pair with wines; the pairings will be judged by professionals and guests alike.

In addition to the competition, there will be live entertainment provided by Imagination Circus Art, a group of acrobats, dancers and aerialists who unite whimsical circus acts with the mystical illusions of the theater world. And you can also buy raffle tickets; prizes range from a round-trip ticket for two to Paris to Denver Nuggets tickets, along with various packages for dining out in Denver. Raffle tickets are $10 for one and $20 for three and can be purchased in advance here.

All profits benefit the Rocky Mountain French-American Chamber of Commerce, a self-funded organization that promotes and develops commercial exchange, trade and investment between France and the Rocky Mountain region.

This young wine won't last forever; because of its brief fermentation, Beaujolais Nouveau is intended for immediate consumption.Tickets for the festival are $60 for FACC and Denver Metro Chamber members, $70 for non-members, $45 for students and $80 at the door. Advance tickets can be purchased online.

For information on dozens of culinary events around town, visit our online Food & Drink listings -- and if you have information for a culinary event you'd like included in our online calendar, send it to cafe@westword.com.

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