Archive for December 13th, 2019

December 13, 2019

My cars, a love affair!

Well if you read my blog, you know I love cars and considered myself proudly the road warrior especially in USA, France and Spain. The car is my second home and why?

Well it all started back many  years ago when I first took my driver’s license in the good old Garden State of New Jersey USA. I remember taking my Dad’s car an old Ford LTD and driving it into New York City to see a game of the New York Yankees baseball team!

Yes on the way in I got there alright but on the return I end up near Philadelphia on the Garden State Parkway when finally I ask a State Trooper police to tell me I was near the big city and way over pass mine much nearer New York City in Perth Amboy, NJ! That was the thrill of youth that still rings on me.

Too bad do not took the time to take pictures of those old cars darn it!!! Well it turn out amongt so many pictures did have a few so here they are found them!!

From that first Ford LTD wagon, I went if I can recall that far back… to a Chevy Monte Carlo (purchase in NJ taken to FL) ,and the rest were purchase in Central/South Florida. A Chevy Lumina minivan, Fiat 131, Chevy Malibu, Suzuki Vitara, and of course my favorite was the Ford Mustang (pic). The car craze helped by living for several years in Ormond By The Sea near Ormond Beach and just over Daytona Beach ,home of NASCAR!

daytona beach

Found it!! daytona beach chevy monte carlo 1977

ormond beach

Found it, my Fiat 131 at Ormond Beach house garage me and Dad!


found it my Chevy Malibu in garage at Miramar!

ormond beach

Not to mention I did try to drive out a Delta Airlines L-1011(Lockheed)  airplane out of Hartfield Atlanta International Airport in my crazy younger days but forgot to ask the hangar door to ope. (see post)

And I went over permanently to France and my European adventures began in earnest in 2003. That year I purchase my first car in France, a Ford Focus Break in Meaux, Seine-et-Marne dept 77.

And took far and beyond into Spain! Then took a liking for Ford, friendly service, good quality automobiles done in Germany (Cologne, and Sarrelouis) and Spain (Almussafes, Valencia), and good deals with friendly salespersons.  So the Ford story continues today.

I went in and change to a Ford C-Max  ,and later came a Ford Kuga, and then came a plain Ford Focus to quickly change to what is now a Ford Fiesta Titanium model. Pics in order.





The ride on Ford has been great and taking me to Germany, Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg, Italy, Switzerland, England, Spain, and France. The road warrior drives on open highways, freeways, toll roads, and even into big cities like Frankfurt, Trier, Koblenz, and several other towns, London, Rome, Geneva, Amsterdam, Milan, Bologna, Luxembourg all over, Brussels, Bruges, Anvers, and other smaller towns, Spain all over, and France all over.

And it is not over yet as there are plenty of roads to tackle by yours truly. Friends ask me about the traffic in Paris especially now with the traffic jams of the strike. Well proudly will tell you I had none of that. I take the smaller inner streets in Paris and come from outside beltways on the west and along the Seine river, just had a small slow down by place de la Nation due to some anti islamophia demonstration right on the street!!!

If you need help getting around there to any place, let me know will gladly gets you out of the huge traffic jams going on still in Paris and probably into the Christmas break.

I need to tell you as well here in my lovely Morbihan in beautiful Bretagne there are no traffic jams lol five car we get upset lol!!! Enjoy the rides and convenience to go into no man’s land to see the off the beaten path sites. Happy motoring!!!

And even thus did not purchase my first car in France here as the old location is now a monop store in city center Meaux, did visit the new dealer Ford Meaux on the outside of town, this is their webpage. Ford Meaux

And i am going thru my fourth car at the Ford Mustiére of Vannes here: Ford Mustiére Vannes part of Groupe DMD

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

December 13, 2019

Ok Champagne!! the season to be merrier!!!

SO here we are almost mid December 2019, time to enjoy the best of our Earth with great company and do with what we have for those missing someone my sinceres best wishes to go forward. The end of 2019 is near,another year went by and we need to have strenght to continue into 2020.

To do so, why not start with the bubbly, yes sparkling , crémant, but better try Champagne. I will give some news here and some suggestions for your end of year festivities. Keep it in moderation , health is all we got to keep. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to family, friends, and my loyal virtual friends readers of my blog.

With 35 million bottles produced each year, Crémant d’Alsace is the first sparkling wine consumed after Champagne. Since 1976, the AOC Crémant d’Alsace has been officially recognized! But, with only 3 houses in its infancy; Dopff au Moulin, Wolfberger and La Cave de Westhalten (now part of the Bestheim group).

At the beginning of the 20C, Julien Dopff, then owner of the house Dopff au Moulin, had given a boost to Crémant d’Alsace by imagining an sparkling wine which would come close to Champagne, produced from Alsatian grape varieties, and especially on the local terroir. And Wolfberger has made its mark by multiplying the trials to try to find the grape varieties best suited to this method called “champenoise” (and so those the world). The production of Crémant d’Alsace takes off in 1982 to never slow down again. Besides, 40% of the consumption of this sparkling wine is always made in the 3 months preceding the end of year celebrations. The Crémant now represents 27% of the total production of Alsace wines with 20% of export sales!

Wines of Alsace on Cremants in English

With 80 million bottles sold in 2018, in constant increase of 5 to 7% over the past ten years, the crémant is present in eight appellations: Alsace, Bordeaux, Burgundy, Die, Jura, Limoux, Loire, Savoie. For the crémant, the minimum duration between drawing and marketing is 9 months, against 15 for Champagne and … one month for prosecco!, which sold 460 million bottles this year. Produced with faster and less expensive methods, this Italian wine spreads in all markets: the grape harvest is mechanical and non-manual as for the crémant, and the second alcoholic fermentation, which produces the effervescence, is done in tanks and not in the bottle as required by the traditional champenoise method. Therefore, you get what you pay for!!!

And my favorite region for wines is coming alone nicely thank you. For the past five years, the figures for Bordeaux crémants have exploded: 1,200 hectares, 50% more in two years; 75,000 hectoliters planned this year, five times more than at the beginning of 2010. In 2017, 20% of the annual sales of Bordeaux wines took place during the holiday season. With an average price between 6 and 10 euros, the crémant is mainly sold in supermarkets and 20% exported, especially to northern Europe, but also to Japan and the United States, the world’s largest sparkling wine market.. Served very fresh, between 6 and 7 ° C, the crémant marries the aperitif to dessert, especially with seafood, white meats or sushi.

Official Bordeaux wines on cremants

And I start telling you lol! The usual names such as Brut Impérial by Moët & Chandon, Carte Jaune by Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin or Special Cuvée by Bollinger. These year-round crus, which represent 90% of the Champagne production, are produced according to a recipe specific to this vineyard: each house assembles several vintages to preserve the regularity and the particularity of the taste of its crus. What aficionados define as “house style”.

Some very good lesser names to think about this Holiday season which I would recommend are Michel Drappier , sincere Champagnes, without aromatic artificials. The Drappier family has been living in the small village of Urville, in the Côte des Bar, (dept Aube 02) south of Champagne, since the 17C. Try specially the Drappier Brut Carte d’Or.

And perhaps a more popular brand but equally good is Deutz. A discreet house regularly distinguished . Without marketing fuss, President Fabrice Rosset and cellar master Michel Davesne make this discreet house in Aÿ (Vallée de la Marne) shine with the regularity and excellence of its champagnes. Especially try the Deutz Brut Classic.

Still lesser known but equally impressive and very good for the price are the Domaine René Geoffroy at Aÿ. Here Jean-Baptiste Geoffroy remains the best representative of the solar vineyard and very pinot noir of Cumières. Do try his Brut Rosé de saignée, and the impressive Extra-Brut 1999!

And how about the French opinion? The very popular names comes to mind when on the French table such as Mercier(our favorite), Canard Duchêne, Nicolas Feuillate or Bollinger? News for champagne lovers! This is the conclusion of the opinion survey conducted by Promise / Panel On The Web, which asked French households (1,605 people) what is their “ideal Champagne”. Ok indeed a small number for comparison but a survey nevertheless.

At the top of the ranking is an expected Champagne house, the Reims brand Ruinart. It imposes itself on all categories of respondents: men, women, the youngest (18-34 years) and those over 55. Roederer and Veuve Clicquot arrive behind, they are mentioned by 47% of participants. Next are Moët & Chandon, Mumm, Krug, Deutz and Dom Pérignon. Astonishing 8th place for the Rothschild brand, a very minor player in Champagne. They underline the very bad scores of Laurent-Perrier (17th) and Bollinger (18th), who are however qualitative leaders of Champagne. On average, the French say they buy 3 bottles a year (that is about right for us). The study also confirms that the French lover of Champagne is a man aged 55 (and over) with comfortable income (oops talking here….). The final complete ranking : (my favorites highlighted ok)

1- Ruinart

2- Roederer

3- Veuve Clicquot

4- Moët & Chandon

5- Taittinger

6- Mumm

7- Dom Perignon

8. Rothschild

9- Piper-Heidsieck

10- Perrier-Jouët

11– Deutz

12- Pommery

13- Krug

14- Mercier

15- Canard Duchênne

16. Nicolas Feuillatte

17- Laurent-Perrier

18- Bollinger

19- Vranken

20- Charles Lafitte

Official Champagne, the one and only: Official Champagne in English

And speaking of Champagne we need to mention Reims. And the city is on the move culturally speaking too. The energy deployed by the enthusiastic Vitalie Taittinger, the new president of the FRAC Champagne-Ardenne and Platform, impacts the cultural life.   The next City Arts Festival, the first edition of which will be launched in February 2020 . A culture in motion and multidisciplinary shows, this is also what Le Manège and its director Bruno Lobé offer, but also La Cartonnerie, the hall current music, one of the musical highlights of the city. The Médiathèque, which houses authors in residence and which, not far from the cathedral, is part of the same dynamics. At the FRAC, Marie Griffay, the director, presents until February 23, 2020, the exhibition of the Chinese artist Evelyn Taocheng Wang “Spread elegance” and announces an event dedicated to René Daumal, author of Mount Analogue, great figure where she will be co-curator with Boris Bergman, a specialist of the poet.

Webpage for direction and contacts for the above:  Faraway Festival on arts in Reims

And tourist office of Reims on Culture: Tourist office of Reims on Culture in English

And there you go ,hope to give you especially some ideas for your bubbly for the festivities of end of year. Enjoy it in moderation but do drink lol!!!

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


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