Archive for April 4th, 2019

April 4, 2019

And wines of France is it!!!

So this is time in my blog to talk to you about some wine news from my belle France. Where else? Often trying to imitate it but never surpassed, the wines of France are the flagbearers of the world, and we talk about grapes well there is nothing out there without French grapes to success. My opinion of course.

If you have read my blog or at least my wine entries you will know my background in the business and well not really collector because I buy to drink them lol! These are the latest news from the wine front and the vintage of 2018 in Bordeaux.

It is the start of the wine tasting week of Bordeaux in Primeur. wine professionals from all over the world who come to discover the 2018 vintage; More than 200 properties are represented today. They have the common point of being advised by the consultant Michel Rolland, the oenologist of world wide fame who have done the same for wineries all over the world. French craft at its best!

Mr Rolland said , “the 2018 vintage is characterised by a late winter and a humid spring. This moisture caused a susceptibility to mildew, and some properties suffered. There were also two hail storms, which ravaged 10% of the Bordeaux vineyard. This is not an exceptional year in volume, as it has been relatively hot and dry. But that only made the quality stronger. We do not have the regularity that we had in 2016, but we have wines of very good quality with fine concentrations and maturities. The wines did not cook. I think among all the properties are hiding exceptional wines in 2018.”

Today , Mr Rolland is on latest adventures in Argentina helping that country forthcoming wine industry take off at last. He is currently as well, the owner of properties in Bordeaux: at Pomerol with Le Bon Pasteur , Bertineau St-Vincent at Lalande de Pomerol, Rolland -Maillet at St Emilion, Fontenil at Fronsac , and  La Grande Clotte at Lussac. A Oenology laboratory at Pomerol and consultant in Argentine (Trapiche, Norton, Domaine Vistalba), at Chile (Casa Lapostolle), in the USA at California (Newton, St Supery, Harlan Estates, Araujo, Staglin, Franciscan-Magnificat, Quintessa, Mont Veeder, and Simi), as well as in Spain, Hungary, Italy, and South Africa, even India!

Another guru of the Wine scene in general and Bordeaux in particular has some words to say about the 2018 vintage too.

Christophe Coupez, Director of the Oenological Center of Pauillac, creation of the Chamber of Agriculture of the Gironde, which advises mainly castles on the eight medocaines appellations. At the base level, the vintage is fairly homogeneous. The possible differences will rather come from the farming modalities chosen by each producer. He said “we had an almost perfect maturation, without brake or limiting or stressful factor for the vine, with the key of the aromatic profiles quite unpublished, with beautiful aromatic complexities, especially on the Cabernet Sauvignon. There is also a large sugar richness, with alcohol levels a little higher than on average, but a nice acidity that counterbalances and makes you not feel the dominant alcoholic. In our sector this year there are also in the assemblages a little more important proportions of Petit Verdot than usual, surely due to the small size of the Cabernet berries”   This 2018 is a bit of a compromise between the aromatic opening and the immediate enjoyment of 2009, and the beautiful balance of 2010. On the aromatic expression, it has very successful things, ripe, solar, wines that indulge quite easily, as in 2009. He adds “But this vintage also reminds of 2010, 2016, or 2005, very rich at all points of view, including large acidities. In summary, in 2018, the wines are very rich, with a large color is a large tannic structure, but very fluffy tannins, with very little aggressiveness”. Overall it’s still very close to perfection! For info the Oenological Center of  Pauillac webpage in French is here: Oenological center of Pauillac

Margaux’s 3rd classified Grand Cru Château Palmer managed to produce, according to its Director Thomas Duroux, a 2018 of great stuff, but in lesser quantities. He said probably made one of the greatest Palmer in history. It was also necessary to manage the extractions in an ultra-sharp way to respect the style of the vintage, which is powerful, and at the same time to keep what makes the DNA of Chateau Palmer (one of my favorite stocks) , that is, a great sophistication of tannins, which can be described as velvety. This Palmer 2018 is the most powerful of our history, with at the same time an openness, an aromatic complexity and a sophistication of the structure that completely anchor it in our identity, he continues. It is undeniably a vintage that will mark the history of the property. Final point! And I am looking forward to that!! More info here: Chateau Palmer

Another of my all time favorite properties there and visited has another great year at excellent value prices. Compared to these world-renowned appellations, Listrac and its 600 hectares have the advantage of confidentiality and relaxation. Here, they do not get dazzle by the light of the estuary even before the sunrise. Listrac, on the edge of the forest, one of the most continental vineyards of the Médoc, is a discreet wine. The visitor discovers Château Fourcas Hostens, next to the Church of the village of Listrac, with a form of lightness, of   cool altitude . The coat of arms of the estate puts forward a comtal crown, with two greyhounds, and a tower.

Mr Momméja explains,   “The 45 hectares of vineyards of the estate are in listrac appellation, but Fourcas Hosten is composed of two well distinct terroirs of equivalent area. The Fourcas is dominated by the graves and lends itself well to the cultivation of Cabernet Sauvignon. The more clayed Listrac part is planted with Merlot and Cabernet Franc” Beyond this distribution, Fourcas Hosten is on a route   on the production of Sauvignon Blanc and Sémillon, and in July 2018 the production was switch to Bio. The latest commercialized, Fourcas Hosten 2016 is a very successful vintage in Bordeaux and is remarkable of softness. It combines a spicy nose, tannins present, a subtle fruit, a beautiful freshness and length. The guard seems assured. Note at the passage of low prices , less than 20 euros.

At the property , in lieu of the current park on about three hectares in front of the Chartreuse with blue shutters, it’s an 18C spirit without heaviness that blows over all the pieces. All made from a wide range of bronzes, engravings, fabrics, carpets, etc. Nothing extravagant for Mr and Mrs. Renaud and Laurent Momméja build their brand, harvest after harvest. Heirs of the founders of the Hermes Group, the Momméja mastered the codes of good taste, you are reassured. I second that always a great bottle indeed tracking it since 1990! Read more here: https://www.fourcas-hosten.com/en/

If you have read my wine posts in the past then you know about me and also I am not a big fan of Saint Emilion (too much merlot) but not withstanding they do produce some excellent properties and their second wine labels are more affordable for all, including me lol!

ARÔMES DE PAVIE 2015 : From the vineyard of 37 hectares of Château Pavia 1st Grand Cru classified “A “, property of the Persé family since 1998, aromas of Pavia lived the day in 2005. This label replaces the old one, Château Tour Simard, for more visibility. The attack of the 2015, dark coloured with violet reflections, is creamy, the mouth generous and fruity, worn by soft tannins that will soften again with the age. More info here: http://www.vignoblesperse.com/en/chateau-pavie/home

CARILLON D’ANGÉLUS 2015 : Designed in 1987 by Hubert de Bouärd, co-owner of Château Angelus, 1st Grand Cru classified “A “, this wine enjoys a vinification separate from that of its eldest, inspired by the Burgundian experiences of its creator. Moreover, from the vintage 2016, it becomes a wine in its own right, emanating from the superb terroirs acquired between Figeac and Cheval Blanc. Airy, elegant and caking, on the fruit, the 2015 is savor with great pleasure.   More info here : www.angelus.com

PETIT-FIGEAC 2015 : Born in 1945, the little brother of Château Figeac 1st Grand Cru classified “B “, owned by the Manoncourt family, took the name of a historical parcel of the estate from the vintage 2012. Elegant and salivating, intense, this 2015 of pleasure, without asperity, with vanilla aromas, forms a whole of the most harmonious in the mouth, on notes of ripe black fruit, spicy, fine tannins More info here: www.chateau-figeac.com

PRÉLUDE DE FOMBRAUGE 2016 : Owned by Bernard Magrez since 1999, Château Fombrauge has known only six families to its head since the fifteenth century. Prelude stems from the 58 hectares of Château Fombrauge, a Grand Cru classified. Dominated by Merlot (90%), the wine with a Ruby robe, with an expressive nose, manifests itself in the mouth with notes of black fruit, liquorice, a velvety texture. A victim of its success, the vintage 2015 is already out of stock More info here : www.bernard-magrez.com/fr/vins/chateau-fombrauge

RELAIS LA DOMINIQUE 2015 : Since 2014, this wine represents 45% of the production of the estate of 29 hectares which forges Château La Dominique, Grand Cru classified, flagship of the Fayat vineyards, acquired in 1969 by Clément Fayat. This 100% Merlot, intense and powerful on the nose, is a seductive wine, rich, with aromas of red and black fruit, liquorice, with tannins still present. More info here: www.chateauladominique.com

And now why not out of Paris for enjoying great company food and wines. We go out to Bordeaux ,the simply the best always imitated and challenge to excellence each year. How about a place to have a glass in grand Bordeaux style. Well here are hangouts over the years.Enjoy it

Le Metropolitain at 49 Cours d’Alsace-et-Lorraine. Here the winegrowers are well known to the institution. 50% of them make organic and 60% are winegrowers. the House has its proposal of local craft beers: Azimut Brasserie, Brasserie mad Occ. More info here : https://www.lemetropolitainbordeaux.com/

Le Bar à Vin du CIVB , 3 Cours du XXX juillet . On the ground floor of the Maison du Vin de Bordeaux. From professional selections to the blind, the references you find on the map change every month. From 2 to 8€, by the glass, the more: they are sommeliers or expert cavists who advise you. More info here: https://baravin.bordeaux.com/en/

La cave et bar à vins de la Cité du Vin : Scrolls 70 countries to its tasting card. At the moment in the Cite du Vin, the exhibition Renversant ! (Outstanding)   presents-until June 30th-a hundred objects in diverse glass (bottle, carafe or glass) and follows the work of the producer and consultant Stéphane Derenoncourt over one year More info here: https://www.laciteduvin.com/en

There you go something to think about as Easter is approaching and wines are on the table here always. I have my stock loaded and ready to drink Bordeaux, southwest, or Loire my favorite regions, not that I do not drink the others, but….

Enjoy it and the saying is drink in moderation no, drink culturally inclined as it was meant to be with a meal around a glass with friends or family and continue the tradition. En vino veritas!

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

 

April 4, 2019

Let me introduce you to Plouharnel!

Ok as usual, have written on this town in previous posts briefly but it really deserves posts of its own. I pass by it almost every weekend when I am not traveling out of France as it is just south of me in the peninsula of Quiberon just before the isthmus. I like to tell you a bit more about Plouharnel.

Plouharnel is a town in the Morbihan Department 56 of Brittany. This town is located at the bottom of Quiberon Bay, 3 km from Carnac.   The coastline of the town is part of the largest cordon of dunes of Brittany which stretches from the point of Gâvres to the Fort of Penthièvre on the town of Saint-Pierre-Quiberon.

Notes of history tell us that on July 16, 1795, a battle between Chouans (rebels against the French revolution ) and Republicans ( French Republic revolutionaries) took place west of Plouharnel and South of Carnac, it was named the battle of Plouharnel. There were seven Mills in Plouharnel, including Kerloguen, Kergonan, Pero, Kerfourchelle, Pont-Neuf, Glevenay and the Bego tidal mill; the only surviving today is Glevenay

On the territory of the town of Plouharnel there are an important set of megalithic monuments from the Neolithic period such as the dolmen in the Chapel of Cosquer; a corridor dolmen at the Chapel of Saint Anthony ;a corridor dolmen in Crucuno the rectangular cromlech of Crucuno, called “quadrilateral of Crucuno” a menhir in the enclosure of Crucuno; a corridor dolmen at Kergavat;   a corridor dolmen at Kerroc’h, three corridor dolmens in Rondossec , a corridor dolmen in Runesto, a menhirs alignment at Sainte-Barbe, a menhirs alignment at Vieux Moulin. Other significant monuments here are the Chapelle Notre-Dame-des-Fleurs, 16C, Chapelle Sainte-Barbe, 16C, Abbaye Saint-Michel de Kergonan and Abbaye Sainte-Anne de Kergonan.

As always, we went by car, and stop at nice Plouharnel ,which we have passed by and in city center but this time went to their beach. Nice clean beach, althought more suited for surfers and kites folks ,lots of waves; the rest was nice. My co workers do surf here so it is very popular place for them.

Plouharnel

Plouharnel

We ,also, stop by the old Chapel of Ste Barbe  (Santa Barbara) which has a history of the Chouans rebels that were here camping with Gen Cadoudal back in 1795; they fought the French revolution. As many led you to believe that it was a revolution on the king and period, it was longer than that and not totally wipe out the resistance than until 1832. Before all the combattants were given pardon and titles given back, even some like Gen Cadoudal posthumously given Marshal of France!

More on the Chapel here: City of Plouharnel on the Chapel of St Barbe

Plouharnel

Plouharnel

Plouharnel

On the way back , I stop at the dolmen Mané Kerioned on the D768 road between Auray and Plouharnel, always pass by it and see, this time took pictures lol!! The stones here dates from more than 3500 years BC. Its a group of 2 dolmen stones standing side by side facing South, and a third one facing them; the longest one you need to kneeled but it is 10 meters long below the surface. It has several engraving hard to decipher even today, these were burial chambers….impressive!!. The limits are given to Carnac but they are really closer to Plouharnel.

Plouharnel

Plouharnel

Plouharnel

More on the dolmens here: City of Plouharnel on the Dolmens

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here in addition to those above and or ask me are

City of Plouharnel on heritage in French

Plages TV on the beaches of Plouharnel in English

There you go a nice town to visit with history all around you and nice beach in Plouharnel. You will see a bit more on the abbeys above in my next post. Stay tune!

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

 

April 4, 2019

My Morbihan, St Avé and Landaul!

I guess summer is near, and been so busy running around with the house ,the job, family and the business trips. this weekend is going to be hot and the beaches will be visited even if summer officially is not until June 21. This is a re post from June 2014.

However, ,tomorrow is Father’s day here in France and I already got my gift a business executive chair from my sons!!! lovely black and red, just nice and its not my money this time that makes it more special. So Happy Father’s day to all of those in France. Bonne Fête des Péres.

My house is doing well, finally the outdoor front terrace is done, the cellar is done, the canalization of rainwater is done, the garden is completely cut, and ready for the decorations, the lawn is growing in the back. The major works is done Yesss! Now we will have the smaller jobs and hopefully by the time we take our vacation all will be done. IN August we go Sud, but that is a surprise stay tune in my blog to see some of the Wonders our southwest or sud-ouest.

For today other than doing some shopping and errands I wanted to stop to two castles one open to the public for the gardens and the other private that local people have talk to me about. We headed first for the Château de Kerambar’h in Landaul. webpage in French,  https://www.morbihan.com/landaul/jardins-du-chateau-de-kerambar-h/tabid/12562/offreid/e5b354f4-b8ed-4980-bfb2-ca0db68e907a

Landaul

Its tricky to get to it as it is in the country off the N165 road get off at exit Landevant or 36.1 go first direction Landaul and then direction Auray and bear right on the small road running next to the N165; you then see the signs for Château de Kerambar’h on your right hand side. Follow these signs into a narrow road all the way in, with space for one car! and then you reach a sign saying the Jardins de Kerambar’h and turn right on it. You will see the ruins and manoir house and the famous gardens. Schedules to see it change every year but normally they run april 19 to July 13 and July 14 to August 31, open from 14-18H and in summer from 11h to 18h; September open 14h-18h and October is only on weekends from 14h to 17h30. Admission adults is 8€.

Landaul

The Castle of Kerambar’h offer a walk through time from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance with portraits of the dukes of Brittany from the 1000AD to the 16C. the Gardens with 33 toises or form of measurement, Charlegmane capitulary, and other like the garden of courtly pleasures, with cloister and moats.   A pleasant trip.

Landaul

Then we went to the Château de Beauregard at the town of St Avé, off the N165 take the D779E direction St Avé, turn right into the D135 direction St Avé and down by the Chapel of Notre Dame du Loch turn left direction St Nolff on the next traffic circle bear left and quick right for the castle entrance. This is a private property so you cannot go all the way in but close enough. The webpage is http://www.chateau-de-beauregard-56.fr/

St Ave

This is a magnificent property  with its flowery cour d’honneur , a majestic French garden of 3000m2 inspire by the master André Le Nôtre (Versailles

amongst others), and a green well-kept park of 40 hectares. It is a castle done in an L format from the 18-19C done from a former manoir or manor house from 1514. It was rebuilt in the 18C. The history of it of importance was that here the treaty of pacification of Brittany was signed in February 14 1800 between  Georges Cadoudal (hero of Brittany) ,and Général Brune,of the French ,ending the chouannerie (the local farmers and country people of the area) in Morbihan.

St Ave

It is now use by wedding, events, exhibits, anniversary, family gathering, etc all for rental. You can have as much as 600 seated persons in one activity here. In all a wonderful property and one of the nice ones in the area. I guess will have to be invited to go inside lol!!!

St AVe

Enjoy my Morbihan and remember, happy travels good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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