Archive for October 7th, 2021

October 7, 2021

Wines news of France XII !!

And time again to talk about one of my favorite subjects, wines! It’s been a long time since I started my wine appreciation and the flame continues today as well as passed on to my sons. Let me tell you in this cloudy day in the Morbihan a bit more on the wines of France!!

After the Drouhin family and the Bouchard Père & Fils house, it was last May 2021 ,the turn of the Jacques Bollinger Company (SJB) , which notably brings together the brands Bollinger, Ayala, Chanson Père et Fils or Delamain to set its sights on the vineyards of Oregon in the United States announced the acquisition of the famous winery Ponzi Vineyards. A takeover in the strategic continuity of the SJB to strengthen the presence of its products on the American market, the world’s leading player in exports of Champagne, Burgundy and Cognac wines. The Bollinger family have just announced the arrival of Jean-Baptiste Rivail (Pommery, Hennessy and Newton Vineyard Napa). The latter will manage and develop the Ponzi Vineyards estate by occupying the position of CEO, from October 4. He will also be responsible for coordinating the development of the group’s brands on the American market.

We have observes with emotion the elite cider makers settled in Brittany, Normandy, Mayenne, Perche, the Basque Country and Switzerland, determined to shake up the art of drinking of their contemporaries. In mid-September, around twenty of these highly qualified craftsmen gathered at the Atelier de la crêpe, the international school of the crepe maker on Quai Duguay-Trouin, in Saint-Malo, to meet the general public, share their experience and talking about the future. Cider accounts for 1% of the drinks consumed in the world, and within this 1%, the cider makers who have imposed their bottles on the tables of trendy bistros and starred restaurants following Eric Bordelet (Mayenne), Cyril Zangs (Calvados) and Johanna Cécillon (Côtes-d ‘ Armor) represent another percent. For lovers of hand-made, one cannot imagine a more perfect luxury product. The movement is not as powerful as that of natural wines, but the philosophy is the same: to bring into the bottle the beauty of the gesture of artisans in love with their terroir and their plant material. This is to remind Bretons and Normans that cider does not only go with galette-sausage. Another time, it will be elsewhere. Yes indeed, its a whole dinner bottle try it!

Booming in France since 2013, Japanese sake has not only conquered the palates of food lovers, but also the hearts of adventurous brewers. Today, there are several cellar masters specializing in this Japanese alcohol. In Japanese, the word sake refers to any alcoholic drink made from rice. To stand out on the local market, the Japanese even speak of Nihonshu (Japanese alcohol) to designate this very special beverage. Over the past seven years, the consumption of Sake in France has literally tripled, well helped by the many passionate ambassadors of this Japanese nectar. To brew sake with local products, here was opted for Camargue rice and Île-de-France water. Today, many French-speaking brewers have gone to Japan to train with renowned tôji ,and return to France to open their brewery . But there is no uniformity in their approaches, with two approaches that stand out among French tôji (brewers) without being completely opposed: on the one hand, the purists, who advocate the tradition of Japanese masters, and the modernists who seek to play with recipes and create a “French sake”. More curiosities into the world of alcohol but me rather stick with wines or beers only.

And speaking of wines…! Tthe Head Sommelier-consultant and former director of the sommellerie of the Ritz Estelle Touzet, speaks of her beginnings and some recomm. It was a Burgundian pinot noir that will make her want to make it her profession, a Clos de La Roche 1996 from Domaine Dujac, Grand Cru of Morey-Saint-Denis. From Bristol to Ritz via Crillon and Meurice, voted Best Sommelier of the year in 2011 by the Academy of Culinary Arts and first woman in the world to reach the coveted position of Head Sommelier of a three-star Palace restaurant in 2010, Estelle Touzet has today behind her a journey to die for, which could make her a haughty woman, but which contrasts on the contrary with the softness of her blue lagoon eyes. Her favorites of the moment are: (prices in France).

Champagne Etienne Calsac – Les RevENTS Brut Nature “An abysmal purity” Avize Champagne Price: 84.95 € .An excellent blend of Pinot Blanc, Petit Meslier and Arbane, three emblematic grape varieties of Champagne, unfortunately practically disappeared.

Domaine Landron Chartier – Muscadet Le Ponceau 2018 “A magnificent touch of the mouth” Muscadet Coteaux de la Loire Loire Valley Price: 18.90 € .This cuvée has been aged on fine lees for 18 months, which gives it a magnificent touch of smooth and velvety on the palate, all guided by a mineral structure, elegant and chiseled.

Domaine Les Poëte – Guillaume Sorbe 2014 “A fine and elegant tannic structure” Reuilly Centre Loire Price: 25 € . An astonishing Pinot Noir from Berri! According to the sommelier, a wine capable of competing with the great Burgundy terroirs.

Domaine Chanterêve – Les Hautés 2019 “A star dancer of the Opera” Auxey-Duresses Bourgogne Price: 64 €. From a place called “Les Hautés”. “Straightness, elegance, depth, flavor … This wine swirls in the mouth like a star dancer of the Opera, with grace, fluidity and serenity. Nothing is left to chance, everything is perfectly mastered, leaving in the mouth a sublime sensation of perfection “.

Family reunion, business dinner or aperitif with friends: beware of blunders when sitting at the table. Especially when it comes to wine, from choice to service, paradise is sometimes paved with bad intentions… à la Française!!

5 smart tips: Choose the wine before the dish! Starting from the bottle will allow for a better pairing and it’s always easier in that sense. Respect a service order, from the youngest to the oldest. It is recommended to serve white wine before red wine, the lightest before the more tannic, the youngest first, to increase the intensity, both in terms of taste and emotion. Open the bottle and taste it beforehand. This double precaution will prevent you from ending up with a possible corky taste when serving and, moreover, you will be able to assess whether the wine needs a little aeration, in which case it will be good to decant it. Limit the number of wines served … and favor magnums when crowded! Better a few wines, but carefully chosen, than a string of insignificant bottles. Provide 2 bottles of the same wine. In case of a corky taste or deviance, it is always better to have a spare bottle.

5 mistakes to avoid: Serve reds at room temperature. Gone are the days when wine was “chambered” in rooms not heated to 13 °. Too hot, the red wine loses its flavor and precision. Do not exceed 16-17 ° (knowing that it will heat up quickly in the glass and throughout the meal); fruity reds can be served cooler, around 14-15 °. Do not have tasting glasses. The glass is essential because it reveals the aromas and texture of the wine. Reserve the champagne for dessert. Champagne and dessert rarely go hand in hand; and out of pity, avoid chocolate, the ultimate enemy of bubbles. Place the champagne at the start of the meal, or even throughout the meal, without skipping the cheese. Serve the reds on the cheese. The tannins of wine and cheese? Enemy brothers. Apart from rare exceptions (Saint-Nectaire for example), few cheeses go well with red wines. Change the model and think white. Your life will be wonderful now. Serve a Port or a pastis as an aperitif. It is a French tradition, but traditions are made to be debunked … A spirit, a powerful alcohol will numb your taste buds from the start. You may be in a good mood, but not sure that your palate will go away. remember. I am a drinker of red porto but do leave time done with the apéro before beginning the meal.

And on the realm of drinks, and you know it James Bond is back, see the latest and last of Daniel Craig with sulky Ana de Armas (Cuba/Spain).

The now famous maxim dictated by James Bond to bartenders “shaken, not stirred!” recalls that Agent 007 is first and foremost a cocktail lover, especially the dry martini. But is he content with this unique beverage? The favorite of his drinks is undoubtedly the dry martini, which James tastes with a very specific recipe that calls for the use of vodka ,combined with a dose of dry vermouth , and especially “shaken not stirred!” In other words, prepared in a shaker and not stirred with a spoon as usual.
James Bond will however deviate from his habits in Casino Royale by ordering a Vesper of which he delivers the precise recipe to the bartender: 3 measures of gin, one of vodka and half a measure of Kina Lillet. Obviously shaken! Note that it is very difficult today to be able to make a real Vesper since the Lillet house, producer of wine-based aperitifs, has long since stopped the production of this variant based on quinine. Also, he usually, more in the news, to serve a Whiskey & soda,(my Dad old favorite!) again with a preference for a particular spirit: bourbon. In some filmed episodes, Bond will be able to indulge in tasting local drinks such as Mojito (rum, mint, lime, sugar and sparkling water), Mint Julep (whiskey, angostura bitter, sugar, mint), rum soda/Cuba Libre or classic among the classics, the Americano (campari, red vermouth, sparkling water and orange or lemon zest) or the Old-fashioned ink (sugar, bitters, rye whiskey and orange zest) Finally, the agent 007 sometimes shows a weakness for bubbles, especially when he is in gallant company. Here again, Bond asserts a very precise taste: vintage cuvées from Dom Pérignon (in the first episodes) and the production of the Bollinger house, which has just celebrated 40 years of “kind” collaboration. An investigation by the very serious British Medical Journal in 2013 looked at all 14 of Ian Fleming’s novels and found that Agent 007 would consume 4 times more alcohol than the norm for an adult. Fortunately, all this is fortunately only cinema! Aha oh yeah!!! Nice going Agent 007!

The Fête des vendanges de Montmartre or Montmartre Harvest Festival returns from October 6 to 10, 2021,(now) after a 2020 edition canceled due to the pandemic. On the program: culinary discoveries, parade, live shows, but also discovery of the vines and tasting. Nearly 500,000 visitors are expected for this 88th edition of the Montmartre Harvest Festival, which is held close to the Sacré-Coeur. This 2021 edition is sponsored by musician Keren Ann and cartoonist Jul. Some of the classic events will be: Le Parcours du Goût: You can taste organic and local dishes and wines. Around the Sacré-Cœur, Azaïs, Saint-Eleuthère, Cardinal Guibert,strets and parvis de Sacré Coeur. Vineyard tours : An unprecedented discovery of the Clos Montmartre vines, protected heritage, in the companion of the historian and lecturer Jean-Manuel Gabert. On Rue des Saules. The Ban des Vendanges: This parade is the highlight of the Fête des vendanges. The opportunity to meet, among others, Alain Coquard, President of the Republic of Montmartre and Gilles Guillet, Grand Master of the Clos Montmartre brotherhood … On Rue des Saules. More info official webpage: https://www.fetedesvendangesdemontmartre.com/

There is an open-air laboratory, opposite the Institute of Vine and Wine Sciences (ISVV), is called “plot 52”, for these 31 red and 21 white grape varieties drawn from French and southern vineyards as well as the eastern Europe. The experiment is due to the notion that by 2050, Bordeaux could experience a climate of Seville (very hot). If we do nothing now on the grape varieties, we run a great risk of losing the typicity of our wines! 30 years ago, the wines came out at 11 ° / 11.5 ° degrees, today it is 13.5 ° / 14 ° . Since this year, they can integrate in small doses six new varieties including the Portuguese Touriga Nacional and Galician/Portuguese Alvarinho, selected from studies on “plot 52”.

Verzy belongs to the historic vintages of Maison Veuve Clicquot from which Philippe Clicquot founded the House in 1772. The House also has a Manor surrounded by a park within which it has just launched a major project presented to the press on September 28, 2021. A 2000 square meter vegetable garden planted following the principles of permaculture. A true collection, it already brings together more than 300 species and pretty curiosities. The project has also made it possible to create footbridges inside of the company. For the daily maintenance, the House calls on volunteer winegrowers, who often have their own vegetable gardens. They sometimes bring interesting varieties themselves and in return benefit from the expertise. This garden is for them a source of inspiration which could accompany the evolution of the cultivation practices of the House, which has just started certification a year ago. organic production of part of its vineyard ,La Maison uses the vegetable garden for the kitchens of the Hôtel du Marc, its guest house in Rémoise, and the rest for the Restos du cœur charitable organisation. The official Veuve Clicquot webpage : https://www.veuveclicquot.com/fr-fr/notre-maison/lexpertise-du-champagne/le-vignoble

There you go folks, another wonderful episode in my wine news of France, a continuing series, thanks for your readership over the years. Hope you enjoy this episode of wine, cocktails ,movies and more. And remember, happy travels, good health ,and many cheers to all!!!

October 7, 2021

My old stumping grounds in the USA!

I am kind of becoming nostalgic and try to remember places I have been in the USA but not lived. Well , if read my blog ,you know I lived in New Jersey and Florida for a total of 31 years…. Yes. Now let me update this old post with links especially as it brings a lot of memories of a time never forgotten, Sit back and enjoy my old stumping ground in the USA !

I was able to went out to other areas and can’t believe very little pictures or memories that can be recall now. These areas were Boston, Washington DC ,Pittsburgh, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Richmond/Midlothian, New York, and Omaha ,Lancaster,and Chicago. Then, from France, I did visit San Francisco for a week and again little pictures. These were older times before blogging and love of pictures. I used to collect post cards and have still over 1000 of them (from a high of 4K) from a high of 79 countries. Once, began to like photos ,and getting in online travel forums, stop collecting postcards. In the switch something got lost… Maybe the kind readers of my blog can help me remember some of these places. Just let it all out !!! I still kept some pictures…

I will start with Boston,MA ; I remember going to Brighton. It must have been many many years back, as one of my cousins was going to marry someone from there, (which eventually did not ,,,) We met the family,stayed in their home, and got a car tour of the city center, even to Harvard and MIT campuses. It is said that it was later had the area change to become Cambridge and the part of old Brighton became part of the city of Boston in 1874 as a neighborhood. Brighton/Allston (aka Brighton, MA and Allston, MA, 2 subdivisions of Boston proper) are known for their large population of students. Boston University and Boston College booked the Brighton/Allston neighborhood. Found out more about Brighton/Allstonhttps://www.bostonusa.com/plan/boston-neighborhoods/brighton-allston/

Then, it was Pittsburgh,PA; I remember staying in the Hilton by the water point across from Three Rivers stadium (now gone) as 3 rivers do meet at the point (Allegheny,Monongahela,and Ohio). We went up in a group of friends up to Liberty avenue and had a good time indeed…The hotel was tops first time staying in a fancy hotel it was an experience. There was the Three Rivers Park and then the Point Park with lush looks over the rivers. I believe the hotel name has been change from 1984, now is the Distrikt collection by Curio a Hilton brand: https://www.hilton.com/en/hotels/pitktqq-distrikt-hotel-pittsburgh/

I like to tell you about Omaha ,Nebraska. This was way back to around 1984/85 and believe me the city was pretty serious not much to do then watch an American football game, and of course go Cornhuskers! I remember was there on a sales seminar by  Mutual of Omaha insurance company !! but did not stayed with them lol! We stayed in a nice hotel ,can’t remember the name, and ate in fancy restaurant taken a taxi with a group of us but do not remember the restaurant name ,only was Italian cuisine lol!  Ok got one picture of the training class, hope somebody remembers me sorry. I should have taken the info for later use but in those days life was crazy lol !  I am front row 3rd from right!

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Chicago,IL, went part of the same training class as Omaha, it was the first test and we were put in an hotel by the waterfront can’t even remember the name; I believe it was the Hilton magnificent mile but not sure. We were just in the hotel for about 3 days with all day work, but again I can say I was there ! The Hilton webpage: https://www.hilton.com/en/hotels/ordmdhf-hilton-chicago-magnificent-mile-suites/

Washington DC was even older, it was a high school trip to see the Smithsonian Institute complex of museums, very nice air museum there is all I can remember. It was a bus tour for a day, and all I know we had a great time on the bus !!! I came back later with my mother to do some paperwork but also a roundtrip in one day. just can say, I was here !  The Smithsonian museum webpage : https://www.si.edu/visit

Going from high school in NJ to university in FL did it by bar cheapest and awesome ride along the I-95. Well my car a Chevrolet Monte Carlo 1977 had break problem from the factory, and I was left without breaks near Richmond VA. The tow truck from the highway took me to Martin Chevrolet in downtown Richmond and there was taken care by Sales Manager Ray Palmer. The part needed to be ordered from Petersburg down south a bit so needed an overnight stay. The gracious Mr Palmer took me to his house!! his older son was hunting in the VA mountain and slept in his room! played Atari games with the younger son , got dinner and breakfast with the family, got my car fix at no cost, not even for the tow truck; and went on my way. Amazing good Samaritan gesture, and I kept in touch with uncle Ray for many years. Even from France, he was 81 and retired, now handling his farm of 100 cows near Midlothian west of Richmond. I lost touch so sadly no news but he must be almost 95 if alive. Anyway I did not see much of Richmond other than the dealer. It was at Cowardin ave US301, and now I read is the Richmond Christian Center lol !!!

Back in around 1980, while in university got a tour of the Delta airlines facilities at Atlanta  Hartfield international airport and stayed at a Days Inn in Atlanta GA. The fun part was the bus and me waking up everybody at 6h when we needed to get out at 8h, I just fake the school guide voice over the phone and got everyone up earlier ,terrible feeling lol!! The Delta L-1011 airplane tour was cool. indeed. The hotel is shown with Wyndham webpage but I believe it was this one: https://www.wyndhamhotels.com/days-inn/college-park-georgia/days-inn-and-suite-college-park-atlanta-airport-west/overview

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I went several times with my father to Philadelphia, PA by 1975-76 as he had business there and I accompany him. We were on the road selling to grocery stores, discount,convenience stores and went in the city along Broad and Market Street that I can remember. I was still a teenager and later took my first car ride getting lost into the city, a State trooper police help me out get out lol! terrible times I know !!! We never stayed in hotels ,these were just in and out same day trips for a couple of years.

Then, it was New York, NY well this was across the street I mean the Hudson river, and my first going trip just fresh from my driver’s license was to see Yankee Stadium in the Bronx! well on the way back read above the end in Philadelphia along the Garden State Parkway!! Here went also by bus to Shea Stadium in the Queens borough and had a train ride on the old World Trade Center to see the Yankees again (there is a new one after the old one was destroyed by terrorists 9-11). Then, went several time for dance clubs and just plain ride even by car on those crazy young days always lots of fun . Went to Madison Square Garden to see the NY Knicks basketball and NY Rangers ice hockey lol! great times. And waited New Year’s in Time Square and skated in Rockefeller center , and did my walks in Central Park. I again help my father go into the meat market area around 14 street, and the Bronx Terminal Market for groceries for our store in NJ. This was tough wakeup at 4h (4 am) all day work…but it help my future face to reality in the real world.

Also, spent my high school senior class trip at the Rocky Horse Ranch Highland, NY in the mountains of New York State, with horse rides and wild pool activities which cannot mention here lol! Which I see now is an all inclusive resort of world renown wow!! Totally different from the country ambiance I remember back then, Picture I am the first from the right. The webpage: https://www.rockinghorseranch.com/

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Of course, if I drove to college (University) along I -95 I passed by many states, and several times stop for a night sleep at South Carolina or Georgia or Virginia. I passed from New Jersey to Delaware, Maryland, Washingon, DC, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida. The trip took from 17-20 hrs depending on the driving ::) did that twice in the summer and twice at Christmas every year for 4 years! In Virginia I stopped around Emporia, South Carolina around Santee, and Georgia around Savannah or Brunswick.

While coming and going from college, I did rode with a college buddy to drop him off at Lancaster, PA on the I-83 to York and then the US30 to Lancaster. I continue on the D30 to Downingtown to connect with the I-95 home north of Philadelphia. Those were the roaring days on the road. Or put your pedal to the metal and rock !!!

I even did a post here in my blog on the trip to San Francisco , from France, but no photos as well yikes !. I spent a week there at the Hotel Nikko and got around to Pier 39, the Golden Gate bridge, and Union square area, several places;road the tramway trolley cars, and ate at Café Bastille, and John’s Grill where the Maltese Falcon movie was filmed part of it. My hotel Nikko: https://www.hotelnikkosf.com/

So sad,could not kept pictures of those days, when my taste was more to postcards, Nowadays we keep things better with better technology, back them paper photos were shuffle in moves, and I do average one every 5.7 years ! so things gets lost or trip where a camera was not necessary as was thinking more postcards. Well you get the picture, any heads up on the places is appreciated for my memories of the good old days.

Hope you enjoy this recap of my stumping grounds in the USA ! I had a great time writing it again for you and me, Thanks for reading me since November 2010 in my blog ! And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all !!!

October 7, 2021

PAHS Soccer!!

Ok you know who you are PAHS yes I have written several posts on it and great to have in my blog. However, need to tell you about the wonderful experience of being part of the soccer/football team of Perth Amboy High School (PAHS)!. Therefore , here is a bit more and some old old pictures for my memories and hopefully your enjoyment to read/see this post. Thanks

Known as the “City by the Bay,” Perth Amboy is made up of four and ½ square miles on the eastern border of Middlesex County. With a population of approximately 50K+, the town is a residential, blue-collar community situated on the Raritan Bay, approximately 30 miles (about 48 km)  southwest of Manhattan.  Perth Amboy features a historic, recently revitalized waterfront area and a bustling downtown business district.

Perth Amboy High School ( PAHS) is a four-year comprehensive community public high school which serves students in ninth through twelfth grades from Perth Amboy in Middlesex County, New Jersey. The current Perth Amboy High School was built in 1971, to replace an earlier building that opened in 1881 (and this older building became the William McGinnis Middle School which I attended before! ) .The school mascot is a panther!! Go Panthers!

The Perth Amboy schools have it on the High School (lycée):  https://www.paps.net/perth-amboy-high-school.aspx

The Perth Amboy High School Panthers compete in the Greater Middlesex Conference, (GMC) which is comprised of public and private high schools in the Middlesex County area and operates under the supervision of the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA). The school was classified by the NJSIAA as Group IV for most athletic competition purposes.

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perth amboy me in away perth amboy hs soccer unif in my house 106 State 1977

The NJSIAA webpage on Perth Amboy:  https://www.njsiaa.org/schools/perth-amboy-high-school

Some trivia of PAHS : Led by Brian Taylor, the 1968 boys basketball team won the Group IV state championship, defeating Neptune High School by a score of 72-70 in the tournament final at Atlantic City’s Convention Hall . And the Middlesex County tournament could have been name the Perth Amboy county tournament as we won it on many occasions! Dating back to 1927, Perth Amboy has had a Thanksgiving Day football (American) rivalry with Carteret High School that was listed at 8th on NJ.com’s 2017 list “Ranking the 31 fiercest rivalries in N.J. HS football”. Yes indeed a big game even if we were that good in the sport.

The Soccer program had some success around the 1971 year and then went dormant until revive again in 1975 of course when I played on the teams thru 1977 central defender and we were ranked 1st in Middlesex County by the local News Journal newspaper, and as high as 6th in the NJ state ranking of the Newark Star-Ledger (NJ) newspaper.

The old Star Ledger newspaper New Jersey now on High School soccer news: https://www.nj.com/highschoolsports/2021/09/boys-soccer-live-updates-results-and-featured-coverage-for-tuesday-sept-14.html

My Central New Jersey newspaper (old news journal) on high school soccer: https://eu.mycentraljersey.com/story/sports/high-school/soccer/2021/09/08/boys-soccer-daily-updates-highlights-2021-season/5779454001/

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perth amboy me HS soccer action perth amboy sliding tackle center

In the off season, summers; we played at Rudyk Park complex underneath the Outerbridge to Staten Island, NYC, which was used by many to play summer league soccer/football sometimes with as many as 40 nationalities playing! I believe the park still there but not much soccer news from it. The playing here was the highlight of my playing time there and many friends some still with me in touch!

perth amboy soccer team yearbook photo 1977

The Perth Amboy local Guardian newspaper: http://www.amboyguardian.com/

The city of Perth Amboy; https://www.perthamboynj.org/

Lots of flashes and memory fading but still a Panther, after all they say is for life! Very happy to still have school friends with me today after 44 years gone by and almost as much without seeing each other!!! Life is beautiful and I thank them all!!! Perth Amboy will be with me forever after all I writing to you in English thanks to the schooling there!!! Hope you enjoy the post and my younger pictures!

And we keep in touch in Facebook with the “I went to Perth Amboy High School” group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/2204418579/about

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

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