A Toast to the French

As the world grieves for the French in the wake of the terrorist attacks earlier this month, it seems wholly appropriate to pay homage to the nation and its people by raising a glass in their honor, filled with their unparalleled gift to the civilized world.

Fig Santa Monica wine
Georges Duboeuf’s 2015 Beaujolais Nouvea at FIG. (Photo credit: Scott Bridges)

The third Thursday of November is Beaujolais Nouveau Day in France. And no amount of bullets or bombs will deter the French from celebrating the sacred day; if anything, it only reinforces the need for celebration. For despite the death and devastation, this proud and ancient culture persists and will not cow to the zealous fervor of this world’s religious wingnuts. This year’s was a more somber holiday that usual and one that I felt should not be confined to the borders and citizens of France. And neither must it end with Friday morning’s sunrise.

With that in mind, I invite you to partake in this festivity throughout the weekend and even beyond. The holiday originated as an end-of-season celebration in which a barrel of the season’s first crop would be tasted, just weeks after the grapes had been hand-harvested.

By law, the wine is released annually at 12:01 a.m., and that’s when the revelry begins. And although the traditional fireworks strike me as being in poor taste in light of the recent events, music does seem fitting. My suggestion: something iconically French (I’m partial to “La Mer,” but the “Le Marseillaise” will also give you goosebumps). Cue it up and raise a glass of a 2015 Beaujolais as a show of solidarity with our oldest ally.

Fig Santa Monica wine
A trio of selected cheeses pair nicely with the wine. (Photo credit: Scott Bridges)

FIG at Santa Monica’s Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows has a barrel of Georges Duboeuf’s most recent vintage — a bouquet of wild strawberries with a zesty acidity (but not what you’d describe as “tighter than a nun’s asshole,” to steal a line from “Sideways.”) The wine is the result of a quick fermentation process of Gamay grapes from Burgundy’s Beaujolais appellation.

The barrel is emptying fast, thanks in part to yours truly, and holds the equivalent of just 24 bottles. Glasses are being offered for $13 each, $30 for the cheese pairing. Additionally, couples can enjoy a glass of wine each and share the cheese flight for $43.


101 Wilshire Blvd.

Santa Monica, CA

Reservations are available by calling (310) 319-3111.  



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