With more than 600 attendees, last week’s 12th annual Beaujolais & Beyond Festival was a smashing success. Fifteen Colorado chefs participated in the culinary competition, showcasing finely finessed appetizers, entrées, and desserts that brought out the best assets of the wine world’s equivalent to a one-night stand, Beaujolais Nouveau.

Known for its light, approachable, fruity flavor, Beaujolais Nouveau is eminently gulpable but is meant to be consumed after the first few weeks of its release (historically the third Thursday of November). Not only does the timing of the release make it an obvious choice for Thanksgiving, the acidity of the wine also makes it pair well with many of the traditional holiday flavors, particularly turkey, cranberry, and roasted vegetables.

The judges at this year’s festival (myself included) thought so, too, when we awarded the “Best Entrée” to chef John Davidson of the Crushery, with his luscious plate of delicate turkey and cranberry flavors, laced with the buttery, herby flavors of traditional stuffing. Also taking top nods were chef Samm Sherman of Root Down, with her beautiful black-currant-Noosa-yogurt pie with an animal-cracker crust (which played perfectly off the fruitiness of the wine), and chef Edward Allen from Ameristar Casino Resort Spa Black Hawk for a show-stopping porcini mushroom risotto with shaved speck ham and pork belly.