Archive for November 12th, 2018

November 12, 2018

A bit on the wines of Saint Emilion!

So let me tell you a bit about Bordeaux wines! huh! wait the title says Saint Emilion !!!  Yes, a bit of French international confusion. The whole area around the city of Bordeaux which covers a huge area can be call Bordeaux wines in its genetic form. Then, you have areas that can use their respective names for the better wines according to INAO the French wine regulatory agency in charge of guarding this National heritage indeed! Official INAO webpage in English

I will tell a bit on the Saint Emilion wines (very appropiate for this time of the year) that are on the right bank of the Dordogne river.  The town of Saint Emilion is in the Gironde department 33 in the region of Nouvelle-Aquitaine. The oldest economic entity and very related to wines here is the Jurade , established in 1199 by Jean sans Terre, king of England. There were designated to delegates economic ,political, and judicial power, as well as nobles, and magistrates to guide the general administration of the town that was part of England at the time. In 1948, the winegrowers within the vineyards syndicate/union bring back the jurade in the form of a confrérie(brotherhood)  that becomes the ambassador of the wines of Saint Emilion in all the world. It is composed of 54 juras, it is administered by the Council of the Jurade which has 12 members including the 1st Jurat, the cleric, the great treasurer, the Great Baker, the Churchwarden ,who is the Master of Ceremonies.

Let me go now into what is happening there now, and I must confess I am a Bordeaux specialist if can say such a word with humility. I am diplomé on the wines of France and Spain, and have visited major houses in all major wine areas of the world, including some now never heard of like Yugoslavian and Cuban wines!  However, the Saint Emilion wines are not my favorite due to their over abundance of the Merlot (79%); even if also use the Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc (Bouchet here). Also, in minority of Malbec, petit Verdot and Carménère. The official site for the appellation is here: Official Wines of Saint Emilion

A bit on the explanation of Saint Emilion. It is dedicated to red wines, the vineyard of Saint-Émilion extends over 5200 hectares around the village of the same name, located some 40 km northeast of Bordeaux, on the right bank of the Dordogne river. The Saint-Émilion appellation is divided into two quality levels: the Saint-Émilions “Grand Cru” and the Simple Saint-Émilions. The latter can be produced throughout the territory of the appellation. They are simply subject to a quality label that is less demanding than the wines that aspire to the term “Grand cru”. In general, they are simpler wines and easier to access in their youth.   The term “Grand Cru” is considered to be a full-fledged appellation. The conditions for getting it are more stringent. Very heterogeneous in its production.

The ranking of Saint-Émilion was born a century after the historical ranking of the Médoc wines, in 1955. This nomenclature consists of three categories: first Grands crus classified “A”, first grands crus classified “B” and grands Crus classified. Contrary to the ranking of 1855, the Saint-Émilion is revisable every ten years, last in 2012 so next in 2022.

The ranking as of now are (in black those tasted by yours truly):  Premier Grand Cru Classé A : Château  ANGELUS ,Château AUSONE ,Château CHEVAL-BLANC, and Château PAVIE .

Premier Grand Cru Classé B : Château BEAUSÉJOUR (DUFFAU-LAGARROSSE) , Château BEAU-SÉJOUR BÉCOT,Château BELAIR-MONANGE,Château CANON,Château CANON-LA-GAFFELIÈRE ,Château FIGEAC ,Clos FOURTET ,Château LA GAFFELIÈRE ,Château LARCIS-DUCASSE ,Château LA MONDOTTE,Château PAVIE-MACQUIN,Château TROPLONG-MONDOT ,Château TROTTEVIELLE, and Château VALANDRAUD

Grand cru classé :
Château L’ARROSÉE Château BALESTARD-LA-TONNELLE   Château BARDE-HAUT ,Château BELLEFONT-BELCIER Château BELLEVUE Château BERLIQUET ,Château CADET-BON Château CAPDEMOURLIN Château LE CHÂTELET ,Château CLOS DE SARPE ,Château LA CLOTTE ,,Château LA COMMANDERIE Château CORBIN Château CÔTE DE BALEAU  ,Château LA COUSPAUDE   Château COUVENT DES JACOBINS Château DASSAULT,Château DESTIEUX,,Château LA DOMINIQUE ,Château FAUGÈRES Château FAURIE DE SOUCHARD,,Château DE FERRAND ,Château FLEUR-CARDINALE Château LA FLEUR MORANGE,Château FOMBRAUGE ,Château FONPLÉGADE ,Château FONROQUE ,Château FRANC-MAYNE ,Château GRAND CORBIN,Château GRAND CORBIN-DESPAGNE,Château GRAND-MAYNE,Château LES GRANDES MURAILLES,Château GRAND-PONTET ,Château GUADET, Château HAUT-SARPE ,Clos des JACOBINS ,Château JEAN FAURE ,Château LANIOTE ,Château LARMANDE,Château LAROQUE,Château LAROZE, Clos la MADELEINE
Château LA MARZELLE Château MONBOUSQUET; Château MOULIN DU CADET
Clos de L’ORATOIRE,Château PAVIE-DECESSE,Château PEBY-FAUGÈRES Château PETIT-FAURIE-DE-SOUTARD ,Château de PRESSAC , Château LE PRIEURÉ ,Château QUINAULT L’ENCLOS ,Château RIPEAU ;Château ROCHEBELLE Château SAINT-GEORGES-CÔTE-PAVIE,Clos SAINT-MARTIN,Château SANSONNET ,Château La SERRE ,Château SOUTARD
Château TERTRE-DAUGAY ,Château LA TOUR-FIGEAC ,Château VILLEMAURINE
Château YON-FIGEAC.

And what is going on in the vineyards of France lately and especially in Saint Emilion, well many buys and sells going on and even by foreigners. Therefore, watch out the landscape of French wines are blending well to the world; after all the world simply copy our grapes, production methods, vinification, and marketing lol!

Olivier Decelle and his wife, Anne. This leader of the frozen supermarkets Picard fell into the wine into his 40’s. He first uncovers Maury, in the Pyrénées-Orientales, where he buys the mythical Mas Amiel, with his sweet wines that sell as well as two-seater coffins… before falling under the spell of Jean Faure, a neighboring Cheval Blanc and La Dominique , located at a stream of grape cluster from Pétrus. They purchase them in 2004 and,2006.

Peter Kwok, who buys properties like we put on beads. By becoming the owner of Château Bellefont-Belcier at the end of 2017, he is even the only Hong Kong businessman to head a cru classé of Saint-Emilion.   His first purchase dates from 1997 with the Château Haut-Brisson in Saint-Emilion. Then his acquisitions accelerated in 2012 with the Château La Tache (Pomerol) and the Château Tour Saint Christophe . Then, in 2015, the Château Tourans , and finally in 2016 Le Château le Rey (Castillon-Côtes-de-Bordeaux).

Denise and Stephen Adams also gave in to the sirens of the right bank by becoming owners in 2004 of the Château Fonplégade, they who also own the Château l’Enclos (Pomerol) and a vineyard in the Napa Valley.

Stephan von Neipperg, born of the nobility of the Holy Roman Empire, resides in Saint-Emilion since 1983 to manage its vineyard domains like Château Canon la Gaffelière, la Mondotte, Château d’Aiguilhe, Clos de l’Oratoire.etc .

Jean-François Quenin, former executive officer of Darty, at the head of a small jackpot following an LBO on the company, arrives in the Libourne with his wife, Dominique, from the region. In 1994, they first bought Pavillon Bel-Air, in Lalande-de-Pomerol, before buying the Château de Pressac in 1997. Even Jean-François Quenin still end up as president of the Saint-Emilion Wine Council.

Gérard Perse, in 1993, this self-taught businessman, head of four supermarkets and a hyper in the Parisian region, wine enthusiast, decides to buy the Château Montbousquet. The shocker was in 1998 when he was offered the Château Pavie ,   a mythical domain but somewhat neglected by its owners. To ensure its management, he moved permanently to Saint-Emilion with his wife and daughter. He has, in the meantime, added to his hunting table Pavie-Decesse, Bellevue-Mondotte and Le Clos-Lunelle.

Today, on a parcel of half a hectare downgraded from their Château La Gaffelière, the first Grand Cru classified B of the AOC Saint-Emilion, the Malet Roquefort family pays homage to the perfect square promoted by the poet. Fombrauge, the largest domain among the classified crus of the appellation with its 58.7 hectares of vineyards while the average of the prestigious properties on the AOC is close to 8 hectares.

Bérangère de Malet Roquefort-Petgesun is preparing long on a building with ticketing, cloakroom, shop, 3d projection room to share this archaeological treasure with the public. An ambitious project that would be part of the valorisation of the Domaine de Gaffelière undertaken for fifteen years.

It is Alain Vauthier , Château Canon and its vineyards enclosed with walls that bask in the sunset: 34 hectares of a single holding, 75% of Merlot, 25% of cabernet, roots anchored in the rock. It is the plateau pure and hard. It is the limestone that brings freshness, minerality and tension to wines of great sophistication. He has been dubbed “El Gaucho de Saint-Emilion” since his return from Argentina where he spent ten years commissioned by Pierre Lurton to launch in orbit Cheval des Andes. A marriage between the prestigious first Cru classé A of Saint-Emilion and Terrazas de los Andes, owned by Moët-Hennessy. A success for the handsome of the vineyards then recruited by the House Chanel to direct Château Canon and Château Berliquet, another grand Cru of the AOC. While watching over Rauzan-Ségla in Margaux.

Jean-Valmy Nicolas, co-manager of the Château Conseillante, emblematic family property of 12 hectares directly adjacent to Pétrus on the appellation Pomerol. Its has the peculiarity to be managed for fifteen years by a family council on the mode of an PME (small company legal setup in France) with reporting, newsletter, meeting every four months, decisions explained and taken together attests its president, himself finance person in Paris. A professionalism doubled in a sense of the family business which it is worth to have been called by Marie-France Manoncourt and her four daughters at the bedside of Château Figeac, first Grand Cru classified as early as 1955 of the AOC Saint-Émilion in their family since 1892. Figeac is one of the historic properties of Saint-Emilion. Fifty-four hectares of which 41 devoted to the vineyard planted in large part of Cabernet on three hills of alluvial and serious sand. But Figeac these are also 13 hectares of a Centennial Park considered as a room of the house by Blandine and Hortense Manoncourt.

Jean-Luc Thunevin, one of the most atypical personalities of the AOC. While he knew nothing about the vineyard, he went into debt in 1989 to 100% to buy 60 ares in a Valley which he baptized Château Valandraud. Val for Valley, Andraud in honor of his wife, Murielle Andraud. Today, Château Valandraud is 8.88 hectares. Thunevin lives in Saint-Emilion, a village he adores. He owns his office, his house, I don’t know how many wine shops there.

In five years, 25% of the 82 Crus Classés from Saint-Emilion have changed hands. Nearly 180 million euros were reported to have been disbursed in July 2017 by the Scor Reinsurance Group for Château Troplong-Mondot, a first classified grand Cru.!

See the overall side on Bordeaux wines about Saint Emilion in English: Official Bordeaux wines on Saint Emilion

And yes, Saint Emilion is a town with its own city /town hall as here: City of Saint Emilion on its wines

Enjoy Bordeaux, simply the best, the one all others still follow and try to imitate. However, take a look at the niche in Saint Emilion. Cheers

And remember, happy travels, good health,and many cheers to all!!

 

 

 

November 12, 2018

The place Saint Michel, Paris!

So here I am again on my eternal Paris, never enough, I just have to give a break sometimes ,it is too overwhelming. I enjoyed very much my time living in Versailles and working in Paris, can’t have a better one two punch than that in the whole world!!! Now ,I am in lovely Morbihan near the coast surrounded by country towns and the beaches and castles of Brittany! All is irrelevant, France is a movable feast!

Let me tell you about another of my fav places in Paris, where I spent quite a bit once in town nowdays too ::) The Place Saint Michel!!

The Place Saint-Michel is located in the Sorbonne and the Monnaie neighborhoods of the 5éme and 6éme districts of Paris . It owes its name to the proximity of the Pont Saint-Michel (bridge), which was located in the vicinity of the Chapel Saint-Michel du Palais. It lies on the left bank of the Seine river facing the Ile de la Cité, to which it is linked by the Pont Saint-Michel. There is a version that says the square was name in honor of Michèle de France, daughter of King Charles VI in the 14C.

The square was created during the breakthrough of Boulevard Saint-Michel, in 1855 under Napoleon III. The piercing of this square endangers the disappearance of the Place du Pont-Saint-Michel, part of the rue Saint-André-des-Arts, part of the rue de l’Hirondelle and part of the quai des Grands Augustins. The Pont Saint-Michel built in the 1C was done at the same time as the square. It officially takes its name in 1864.

The monumental fountain was created in 1860. it was though of a statue of Napoléon but finally, it was a statue of Saint Michel battling the devil   that was chosen, framed by two water-spitting dragons.

Place Saint-Michel is served by the metro at Saint-Michel Station, line 4, by the RER C at Saint-Michel-Notre-Dame station, as well as by the RATP bus lines 21 24 27 38 85 ,and 96. The easiest parking is at the Place du parvis Notre Dame and walked over the bridge. There is ,also, a taxi stand Place Saint Michel direct tel +33 (0) 1 43 29 63 66.

The symbol here is the Fontaine Saint-Michel is a fountain located in the 6éme arrondissement   or district of Paris on the Place Saint-Michel square, at the crossroads of Boulevard Saint-Michel and Rue Danton. It has the peculiarity of occupying on its own a whole gable wall.

paris

The composition with a central niche framed by four columns and a pediment is a reference to the Medici fountain of the Luxembourg garden. The purpose of the polychromy is to balance the lack of illumination. This fountain, whose construction site began in June 1858, was inaugurated on 15 August 1860. Nine sculptors contributed to the fountain. The Fontaine Saint-Michel differs from other Parisian fountains by the use of polychromy: Red marble of Languedoc (columns), green marble, blue stone of Soignies, yellow limestone of Saint-Yllie .

The Fontaine Saint-Michel is part of the aeration plan of the city planned by Haussmann under Napoleon III. The piercing of Boulevard Saint-Michel in the axis of Sainte-Chapelle forced the creation of a square at the outlet of the Pont Saint-Michel, Haussmann ordered the establishment of this fountain in order to fill the angle between the Boulevard Saint-Michel and the place Saint-André-des-Arts and give a visual outlet to the perspective of the Boulevard du Palais. It is 26 meters high and 15 meters wide. It is composed in the manner of an ancient arc of triumph, of a span mark by Corinthian columns in red marble of the Languedoc cushioned by four bronze statues representing the cardinal virtues.

The criticism was overall negative at the inauguration of the fountain in 1860.   In fact, the fountain Saint-Michel is the last fountain-wall built in Paris in the Renaissance tradition started   by the Medici fountain in the 17C and pursued in the 18C with the Fountain of the Four seasons. The monumental fountains after the Saint-Michel fountain are isolated in squares.

The city of Paris tourist office info: Tourist office of Paris on the Fountain St Michel

The heart of St. Michel is still the Place St. Michel  with its baroque fountain Saint Michel killing a demon of some sort. This was once the site of numerous protests and social uprisings. One of the main events of French resistance to the occupying Nazis took place in the square, and in the now legendary riots of 1968, students took charge of the square in the face of tear gas and police clubs, declaring it an independent state!

The nice Place Saint Andre des Arts adjoins the Place Saint-Michel on the 6éme arrondissement. It is a charming place, lined with coffee terraces , and souvenir shops. On the other side, you cannot miss a small cobbled street, most often crowded with tourists. It’s the rue de la Huchette. You enter the most typical Latin quarter with a slab of alleys, restaurants and cobblestones. The street is lively: restaurants, pubs or theater, activities are not lacking.

My favorite hangout here to meet with friends and collegues is the Saint Severin brasserie, more info here:   http://www.saintseverin.com/

And there you go, a nice part or should say a gorgeous part of my eternal Paris. Hope you have enjoy it and do visit, walking is best here.

And of course, remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

 

 

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