Archive for November 26th, 2020

November 26, 2020

Quick Champagne is coming!!!

hehehe well, this is the time of Champagne or about 70% of their sales is in the period now running to the New Year. I admit, to me it has become a special occasion drink maybe couple times a year like now. The rest is wine/beer! and porto!

I have written several posts on Champagne over the years. And talking about years, WordPress has just remind me with the best wishes of “Happy Anniversary with!  You registered on 10 years ago.” Indeed time flies when having fun, thank you to all my readers past present and future! Going over my many updates I realised many of you are no longer posting but I know who you are, and I thank you too!

Now , let me give some of the latest tastebugs in France on Champagne with the personal favorites in black. Happy Holidays to all!!

From some of these who grow their own grapes and do wonderful bubblies I bring you!

De SAINT-GALL Cuvée Orpale 2008, Blanc de Blancs, Grand Cru. Golden reflections to the eye as well as an effervescence of extreme finesse precede the intense nose of citrus fruits and candied lemon. The palate is dense, rich, the finish fresh and very saline, lemony with delicacy. Cuvée sold in an environmentally friendly box.

CANARD-DUCHENE 2012 vintage. From the golden dress escape scents of white flowers, lemon, toasted. Round and rich on the palate, with candied apple flavors, on the attack and mid-palate, the champagne then becomes more energetic, fresh and tense. This is certainly the most successful vintage from this house.

CHARLES HEIDSIECK Cuvée Blanc des Millénaires 2006. Made from 100% Chardonnay, this magnificent wine expresses remarkable aromatic complexity. Notes of violet, acacia and citrus intermingle with more intense ones of exotic fruits (fig, date, pineapple). The palate is creamy, full, full, intense. A little wonder.

AYALA Cuvée N ° 7, Brut 2007. It results from the association of seven grands crus (2/3 Chardonnay, 1/3 Pinot Noir) all from 2007. The color is golden, luminous, underlined by a fine effervescence. The nose releases aromas of mirabelle plum, honey and apricot. The palate is fleshy, spicy, generous, with some notes of candied lemon, stewed fruits, a nice freshness.

RUINART R de Ruinart 2011. Clear golden color with green reflections, extra-fine bubbles that run straight, a bead of persistent, creamy foam, all heralding signs of the quality of this great wine not denied by the lightness, the beautiful balance, the incredible freshness due to the minty notes, of antesite, anise that we smell on the nose, savor in the mouth and in the finish, mineral.

PIERRE GIMONNET & SON ; Cuvée Brut Nature “Œnophile” Premier Cru Blanc de Blancs 2010 An enveloping champagne, elegant, even sophisticated, chalky on the finish. Despite the total lack of dosage, a practice dating back to 1985 at Gimonnet, the complex wine shows good maturity.

And what about these wonderful bottles of always!!

JACQUESSON 743 Extra-Brut. The palate is perfectly balanced, with obvious repercussions on the flavor of this very great wine made in casks, complex, sapid, mineral and infinite, embellished with a fine and creamy bubble. As with each 7xx cuvée, the blend exacerbates the character of the base year, here the 2015 harvest

CHRISTIAN GOSSET Blanc de Pinot noir Loiselu Aÿ Grand Cru 2016 .After working in the family vines, Christian Gosset markets his first plot vintages. Golden color, persistent string of foam, nose of cereals, floral, iodine… The wine made from 100% Pinot Noir unfolds in the mouth with suppleness then with breadth, intensity, generosity. On tangy red berries, the finish stretches in length, chalky and saline.

TARLANT La Lutétienne 2005, Brut Nature. The cuvée takes its name from the Lutecian limestone subsoil and wants to be Parisian if we refer to the old Lutèce (Paris) built of Lutetian limestones … Made from chardonnay (80%) and pinot noir (20%), it is full-bodied, round and plump. The finish goes on forever, mineral, of course! Limited edition of 2,800 bottles.

LARMANDIER-BERNIER Les Chemins d´Avize Grand Cru Blanc de blancs Extra-Brut 2013 Straightforward, rich, crystalline, biodynamic wine reveals itself in a flight of extra-fine bubbles but it should not be drunk too cold to appreciate its complex flavor, its long and lively finish, its finesse and freshness.

And of course, for la vie en rose folks need to show some of the gems of Champagne!

LAURENT-PERRIER  Grand Siècle Iteration N ° 24. Blending the best with the best to obtain the best, such is the motto of this cuvée resulting from three beautiful complementary years (2007, 2006, 2004) and 100% grands crus. We come close to perfection with this immense champagne of great purity, mineral, distinguished, melted. Lace

DOM PÉRIGNON  Vintage 2010. We no longer present this mythical cuvée which, in the 2010 vintage, is of rare elegance. A divine wine, intensely aromatic, which imposes itself with superb on the palate thanks to a silky mouth feel. Ample, full, all in finesse until a crystalline, peppery, saline, chiseled, slender finish.

LOUIS ROEDERER  Crystal 2012.  A brilliant and luminous cuvée in every way. From the color to the finish, everything is elegance, complexity, balance. Added to this are power, concentration, vinosity and tension embellished with an incredible chalky freshness and infinite length with notes of candied lemon.

POL ROGER  Sir Winston Churchill 2009.  Each vintage of this prestigious champagne is a new tribute to the British statesman and is meant to be in his image: robust, ripe and structured. With the 2009, everyone can add flesh, gluttony and generosity, which would not displease Winston. Dried fruits, vanilla, citrus fruits intermingle in a remarkable and tasty harmony.

TAITTINGER  Comtes de Champagne Grands Crus Blanc de blancs 2008. An exceptional cuvée and a vintage to seize since the next one will not leave the cellar until the 2011. Aromas of orange blossom, peach, liquorice … Very straight and pure on the palate, crystalline, grandiose. A full, round, open wine, which forms a splendid accord with a crushed potato and Sologne caviar.

POMMERY  Cuvée Louise 2004.  A divine champagne with a silky touch of superb freshness, mineral, complex and salivating. The next day, always so distinguished, he left aside some of his effervescence to make way for a very great wine, of tremendous flavor. This year, it slips into a box called “Introspection” in a limited edition.

VEUVE CLICQUOT PONSARDIN’S  The Great Lady 2012. The effervescence of extreme delicacy announces the distinction of this great lady with a white gold dress and crystalline reflections. The nose is intense (jasmine, frangipane, mirabelle plum), the mouth refined, chiseled, all of finesse and complexity. A wonder. Endless and mineral finish.

PERRIER JOUET Cuvée Belle Époque 2012.  In its iconic bottle, adorned with Japanese anemones imagined in 1902 by Émile Gallé, it does not go unnoticed. It also stands out for its roundness, its flexibility, its brioche, pear and floral aromas, which join the flavors on the palate, fresh, elegant, tender, harmonious and long.

And how about those that are from one grape variety only!

DE VENOGE  Cuvée Princes Blanc de Noirs.  The magnificent carafe reminds us that the great European aristocracy at the beginning of the 20C decanted champagne in a crystal bottle. Created in 1864 in homage to the Princes of Orange, this cuvée now blooms on the palate with vinosity and richness, complex, intense until the finish is long, fine, delicately tense, on red fruits.

EGLY-OURIET  Brut 1er Cru “ The Vines of Vrigny ”.A cuvée composed exclusively of old Pinot Meunier vines. At 1 g / l, it offers the eye an old gold color tinged with amber reflections streaked with ultra-fine bubbles. The aromas of pear and brioche precede the vinous palate enhanced with notes of persistent red fruits in an infinite length.

BOLLINGER  Cuvée PN VZ 15.  A brand new special cuvée: PN for Pinot Noir, VZ for Verzenay (dominant village), 15 as of 2015, the base vintage that makes up the wine imagined as the little sister of the priceless and miraculous cuvée Vieilles Vignes Françaises. Opulent, vinous, rich, elegant palate with a strong personality, an interminable finish. It will hold its own against a sweetbread.

LANSON  Blanc de Blancs.  A 100% pleasurable Chardonnay, very aromatic on the nose (pastry notes, frangipane) as well as on the palate that is initially soft. The smoothness is then offset by a nice acidity and notes of citrus zest for firmness, the candied lemon prevailing on the finish, pleasantly persistent.

BESSERAT DE BELLEFON  Cuvée des Moines Blanc de blancs.  An exquisite champagne whose signature is now BB and with which we enjoy from the beginning to the end of the tasting. Intense, iodized, floral (acacia) and fruity (citrus) on the nose, it opens up with width, full, round, petulant, with flavors of lemon candy, chalky and chiseled.

And I leave you with the extre brut, those wonderful bubblies with no sugar added. Straight we call it!!

BILLECART-SALMON  Les Rendez-vous N ° 1, Meunier Extra-Brut.  Very fresh, this sensual, airy, floral, fruity, tense and salivating wine has been aged on lees for five years. Ephemeral and confidential, the first cuvée of the new range already gives an appointment next year to discover N ° 2, another experiment carried out in the cellars of the house.

DRAPPIER  Brut Nature, No Added Sulfur.  This 100% Pinot Noir cuvée shines with its freshness and elegant flavor. A wine as close as possible to nature, pure, precise, unfiltered, without sulfur or added sugars and therefore without makeup. A vibrant and energetic experience in the mouth, harmonious, mineral, very long and salivating. We never tire.

LECLERC BRIANT  Premier Cru Extra-Brut. Dominated by red grape varieties (70% Pinot Noir and 15% Meunier), we are no longer surprised by the intensity of the wine on the nose as well as on the frank, long palate, on freshness without untimely acidity. Notes of citrus, salinity, good persistence. Low dosage (2 g / l) and grapes from the 2014 harvest.

Well, finally, the classics Champagne

GOSSET Brut 12 years in the cellar at least.  Cellar master Odilon de Varine has allowed this cuvée to age for twelve years on lees in the freshness and depth of the cellars in order to deliver a full and complex wine. An unprecedented cuvée blessed with a fine, abundant bubble, an astonishing freshness, a sacred tension and whose saline finish calls for iodized dishes

DEUTZ  Brut Classic.  A great elegant wine with undoubted charm, a sure bet in Champagne. It envelops and caresses the palate with its silky texture and its open, seductive aromas (brioche, ripe white fruits, almond paste). Expressive, it is also complex and smooth.

G.H. MUMM  Brut Cordon Rouge.  You have to rely on the blend of around 120 vintages to successfully develop this emblematic cuvée of the house. It will appeal to the greatest number, both lovers of Brut champagne without year and those of Brut Nature, because it is precisely balanced between fruity roundness, power and freshness.

DE TELMONT  Cuvée without added sulfur.  The grapes (90% chardonnay and 10% meunier) were vinified without sulfur, in oenodynamics (same principles as biodynamics applied to oenology). A myriad of bubbles sparkle delicately in the mouth, suave, elegant, fleshy and deliciously tight for this brut dosed at 5 g / liter!

PHILIPPE GONET  Brut Reserve.  The 7th generation at the head of this house presents its brand new Brut Réserve. On the power, the nose exudes pastry notes. A wine of character, supple, crunchy, easy to access, very long in the mouth. The chalky and spicy finish goes well with a carpaccio of sea bream or scallops.

And there you go folks, have yours, take a pick, go quickly this is Champagne time all over the world! And toast a bubbly , the real one of Champagne for your best moments. Wish I could be there but in consolation I bid you rememberance with these.

“Remember gentlemen, it’s not just France we are fighting for, it’s Champagne!”  Winston Churchill

“I only drink Champagne on two occasions, when I am in love and when I am not.” Coco Chanel

“Champagne is the only wine that leaves a woman beautiful after drinking it.”Madame de Pompadour

“I’ll drink your champagne. I’ll drink every drop of it, I don’t care if it kills me.”F. Scott Fitzgerald

And I leave you with another of this great men quote: “Champagne is the wine of civilization and the oil of government. Winston Churchill!

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

November 26, 2020

La Granja de San Ildefonso, Versailles in Spain!!!

And I continue my journey of black and white posts revising, updating and giving you the current links of the things and towns we traveled in the past This one was from our family trip to Spain in August 2016 to the royal town of La Granja de San Ildefonso!

On our way back from Segovia we came up the mountain of Navacerrada to see La Granja de San Ildefonso and its Palace. I have to say ,never been here, even if heard all about for it yeeears even from the time of living in Madrid, and coming down to Madrid several times a year. Been with the family and already at Segovia , I said ,this is the closest I will ever be so let’s give a visit. It is about 11 km from Segovia.


We arrive on time, but the palace was getting some facelift, and we did not go in , and believe or not ; I was not impressed. Maybe so used to the best castles/palaces in Europe , especially France and Spain, seen this one was a bit letdown. Nevertheless , the gardens are gorgeous and a brief visit while from Segovia will be good.  We were able to find parking just outside the property gates around the corner restaurant.  The we set out to walk inside. We saw the palace and the rénovations and proceeded to the gardens.

King Felipe V (who is the Grandson of King Louis XIV of France and was born at Versailles–1683) acquired the land and building of the Jeronimos in 1721. He wanted to re create the splendeur and ambiance of his native Versailles but really felled short.  Construction continues into the reign of king Carlos III.

The garden are the best part of it and are surrounded by several fountains with the best looking one the one call Fuente de Neptuno. The gardens have more than 12,000 trees in-line, 70,000 trees in total , and 30 km of lawn with 26 fountains It has a total area of 146 hectares and a high wall of 6 km around the encercle garden. The highest point is at the Ultimo Pino at 1325 meters high and the lowest point is at the Puerta del Vivero.

la granja de san ildefonso fountain gardens aug16

la granja de san ildefonso garden big fountain aug16

The work on the Palace of San Ildefonso, continues from 1725  to 1732,and the Patio de Coches (carriages) is built where today visitors entered the palace.  Next to the palace you see the Real Colegiata de la Santisima Trinidad Church where the tomb of Felipe V and his wife Isabel de Farnesio are laid.

Spanish history here is a bit intro: At this palace was the summer residence of the Bourbon kings and held the wedding of Carlos IV with Maria Luisa de Parma, the signing of the Treaty of San Ildefonso between Spain and France, the sargeants in the revolt obliges Maria Cristina de Nàpoles of proclaimed the Constitution of 1812.  Here too , was a place for receptions of embassies, births and baptism amongt them those of the Infanta Isabel (la Chata) and Don Juan (father of former King Juan Carlos I of Spain) Grandfather of the current one Felipe VI.

The tourist office of  Madrid on La Granja de San Ildefonso:

National Heritage of Spain on La Granja de San Ildefonso:

The tourist office of the Royal sites of Spain on the La Granja de San Ildefonso:

Yes , is a nice high mountain range, very regal but the palace is smallish even thus it was thought of as a little Versailles. Don’t they all try to match!!! Anyway for the architecture and especially the historical value it is worth the detour. Hope you enjoy it

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

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November 26, 2020

Always my dear Huete !!!

There this is my dear Huete passing by with the family on our road warrior trips. I have several posts on the town with plenty of more pictures. This is updating this older post in my blog. Hope you get to see the real Spain with towns such as Huete. And, of course, hope you enjoy this post as I

For reference, Huete is in the province of Cuenca, and Autonomous Community of Castilla La Mancha. To continue our story with our beloved Spain , we went by our own car on the roads of Castile=Castilla. We went to Huete to visit a cheese factory , and instead saw many more. I am a road warrior, I am telling you !  Going down to Huete and the manchego cheese factory we got in on time for the cucumber festival! There was a pepino de Huete festival on August 9th, and we had a blast with the cucumber tasting and local white wines, on a market ambiance festive (see post). We had time to wandered the streets of Huete and see its arquitecture richness for a small town, very good. The Antiguo monasterio de Santo Domingo de Guzmán founded in 1620.


The Casa Palacio de los Condes de Garcinarro; built mid 15C, here stayed the King Felipe III in 1604. There is a nice Torre del reloj (clock tower) build on the old city hall and done in 1795 ,right alongside the wall encircling the old town of Huete.



Once taste and see, we hit the road back to our home base in the Serrania de Cuenca at 1400 meters cool mountain air at Las Majadas (see posts). Ready to plan our next trail blazing outing in my dear Spain.

The tourist office of Huete

There you go folks, a quick overlook of  wonderful,memorable Huete, and will invite you to see my newer posts on them for detail on things to see. Hope you have enjoy my road warrior trails of my dear Spain.

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

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November 26, 2020

Alcalà de Henares, Cervantes was born here!

This is getting fun, love these posts of mine, bringing back beautiful memories of family travels in my beloved Spain! I like to take you now to Alcalà de Henares back in August 2016. Hope you enjoy it as I do writing it

And we arrive at the wonderful historical beautiful and educational Alcalà de Henares in the Community of Madrid. We arrive straight from our house in the mountains at Serrania de Cuenca, on the A40 then A3 towards Madrid where we took the M50 and A2 Zaragoza until the M300 and arriving at our parking in plaza de San Lucas underground and nice easy walk to all over the city.

From Via Complutense we set out on foot to see the city. You have wonderful Arch of San Bernardo and into the parque O’Donnell park , and right into Plaza de Cervantes. Here you have the wonderful music kiosk and the statue to Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra the Creator of Don Quijote ,the utmost story of the Spanish language and a native of the city (b.1547 d.1616).


Right around it is Calle Mayor and we went looking frantically for his House Museum Cervantes at no. 48 ,opened to the public since 1956. You come in for free!!! and right into the courtyard or patio.  You take the walk tour into the surgery room, from his father’s trade; then the dining room, kitchen, ladies’ drawing room, a puppet show of the novel Don Quijote, his bedroom, bathroom private parlour, children room,and exhibition hall. More info here:


Then, we headed for the Cathedral or Catedral Magistral de los Santos Justo y Pastor, children martyrs of the faith. This was a great Church and wonderful belltower that you climb 140 steps right from the spot where the children Justo and Pastor were massacred and became Saint Justus and Saint Pastor. It offers a spectacular view of the city after climbing the helicoidal staircase.  You will see wonderful chapels and the tomb of Cardinal Cisneros that together with Queen Isabel I the Catholic were instrumental in Columbus discovery of new lands in America.  The cloister also has a nice collection of statues and stones found in the area. More info here:


You will do well to visit the Church Santa Maria la Mayor ,this one has a wonderful belltower overlooking the plaza de Cervantes and  inside has spectacular altar to the Virgin as well as a beautiful Chapel.  You see wonderful architecture such as the City Hall (Palacio Consistorial b.1870), and the Convento de las Clarisas de San Diego.  The great University of Alcalà de Henares ,the University: founded in 1499 by Cardinal Cisneros.

Coming out from the Cathedral I saw this quant Church and decided to take a closer look, the Ermita de Santa Lucia: This is a barroque Hermitage from the 17C that has its origins in a medieval Church from the 12C where the city Council convene to discussed business. In 1515,on this site Cardenal Cisneros called for the concordat of Santa Lucia to resolve conflicts between the nobility and the people. Inside there is a chapel that welcomes all the Polish immigrants to the city and the thriving community today.


By Calle Mayor, you have the Hospital de Antezana, in the old Jewish quarters. This hospital is one of the oldest in Europe and continues to functions for the elderly. Here San Ignacio de Loyola, founder of the Jesuits and maybe too, Rodrigo, father of Miguel de Cervantes. Previously it was called the Hospital de Nuestra Señora de la Misericordia, founded in 1483 by Luis de Antezana; and the new one took his name.

Right around the Plaza Cervantes, do not missed the free admission the Interpration Centre, The Universes of Cervantes (previously the building was the hermitage San Juan de los Caballeros where the nobility were buried and those in prison paid their penalties as well as a burial for the cavalery.  This is now an eye opener into the life and times of Cervantes where you can even see the baptismal vase where he was baptised on the wishes of his father Rodrigo and mother Leonor.

The Monasterio de San Bernardo and the Palacio Episcopal are two other great architecture buildings to see while walking in this area. These we just passed by taking a picture and move on. Another we did came in and it’s a must is the Museo Archeologico Regional (archeological museum) ,also, free admission.  It is house in the old convent of the dominicans Mother of God (convento de frailes dominicos de la Madre de Dios) built in 1565. It is opened since 1999 and the permanent collection opened in 2003. You have nine themes from the entrance garden of antiquities to the patio of glass (patio de los cristales) to areas of knowing and not inventing, Madrid and the Courts, medieval Madrid, hispano roman history, agriculture, early towns, before humanity and another section on temp exhibition call the Los Escipiones: Rome conquest Hispania. (Scipios). Many artifacts and statues, stones, drawings Tools of the time of the Romans in Spain. Again, this is a must visit.


Oh yes , we did eat of course lol!  We left the mornings with breakfast at home and come back in the evenings for dinner at home, the way to go with large families, and for lunch we eat out local, nothing touristic, so we headed for one right smack in tourist lane yet it was great!!! Go figure it/ The resto tapas bar La Gitana Loca is just across from the Cathedral. An umpretentious place that look more like a bar than a restaurant but the service was very friendly and the food sublime and cheap, tapas for one euro and beer for 50 centimes attack attack, (last was at 70 cents!!) and we came out for about 7 euros per person full bellies and delicious Spanish fares. See the picture for the glorious menu. Well it seems the branch in Alcalà de Henares is no longer but the chain webpage is here for the memories:

And yes at the end of the day it was time to head back home and quickly get on the A3 then A40 flowlessly back to Cuenca , always little or no traffic at all especially on the A40. We arrive home late time for the Mahou cinco estrellas cold beer and ibericos, manchegos and chorizos and listening to our neighbors heavy metal music practice, yes a band lol! Our boys were in heaven, and I am dead lol!!!

The tourist office of Alcalà de Henares

Again hope you enjoy the ride into wonderful Alcalà de Henares!! And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!

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