Archive for January 17th, 2022

January 17, 2022

Wines news of France XIIII !!

This is a relatively new series I am doing as realise my blog was all about travels, sports but not about the food and wine we as a family enjoys so much. I am the wino in the group and have the last few years teaching my boys the art of wines, they are enthusiastically joining me! Proud of our traditions, and moving on in life. Therefore, here is my latest wines news of France!!

How do you know if a wine is good to drink? Well here are some tips from yours truly,
If a wine smells more of dust, cellar or floorcloth than fresh grapes, there is no doubt that it is corked. TCA (trichloroanisol), the molecule responsible for the famous “cork taste” interferes everywhere, from the cellar and contaminates the bottles. Only one solution: the sink. And do not keep it especially for a sauce, under penalty of making a double failure.
Yellow or even orange for a white wine, dull or brown for a red wine: as with fish, color can sometimes be a good indicator of freshness. A wine in great shape, even if it is a few years old, should be bright and with a clean complexion.
A mid-full or low-full bottle of wine is likely to lack freshness at best, in the worst case to be oxidized.
The cork is removed but there is a bad smell of mold and humidity. It’s a bad sign, but give the wine the benefit of the doubt and aerate it for a few minutes before writing a cross on it. If there is a cauliflower smell, it is probably a wine that has been altered by UV rays, a defect also called “light taste”.
You remove the lid, and there, bad surprise, the cork is damaged, oozing or on the contrary very dry, cracked. Worse: it crumbles as soon as you want to pierce it with your corkscrew. The specter of poor preservation then passes before your frightened eyes. Warning: in the case of an old bottle, the cork may be damaged, but the wine is sumptuous!

Keeping an open bottle of wine: Close it well, immediately after serving, If you have a pump to empty air the bottle, that’s ideal. Once the air is evacuated from the bottle, you will be able to keep it for two to three more days in the fridge. Place it in the refrigerator Cold preserves food, especially wine. Do not forget to take it out 30 minutes before serving so that it slowly rises to the desired temperature. Avoid any source of light, Recycle it into wine vinegar or in cooking,

So thinking of going into the wine trade ? I did it for a while but continue in finance later on after got two diplomas from France and Spain on wine connaisseur, Here is the trade,

Winemaker. He is a recognized agricultural craftsman in France. He differs from the winegrower, because he is a more complete worker. Indeed, the winemaker participates in all stages of the wine-growing activity, unlike the winegrower who is only present at the start of production. Generally, he is responsible for a plot of vines.
Oenology is the science of wine and therefore the oenologist is the expert. Like a sociologist or an economist, he/she will disseminate his science to make known and help understand his discipline.
The sommelier is the other wine professional and expert. He knows the name, the year and the glass to use for each bottle he/she opens.
The salesperson in wine is better. For anyone with a business background and a passion for this beverage, this is the perfect profession.
Closer to the average customer, the wine merchant is one of the people behind the events of your life: birthdays, retirement, parties, chill evenings…
Lawyer specializing in vine and wine law, Also called lawyer of the wine sector, he is the other expert in wine, but on the legislative aspect. This specialization implies that the lawyer likes or is interested in wine in general. Go for it!

The 2018 vintage is considered exceptional, especially in the prestigious Saint-Emilion appellation. Here are my favorites:
Château Fontenil, Fronsac, A carmine border underlines the black and opaque color of this pretty wine with a nose of raspberry and cherry. Ample, harmonious, the wine from the first sip immediately makes you want to come back with avidity. The lovely fruity, juicy, salivating acidity ardently compensates for the power and volume highlighted by fine, racy tannins. A delight.

Château Hostens- Picant Cuvée Lucullus 2018 Sainte Foy de Bordeaux , It offers itself to the eye in a dark cherry color, opaque with purple reflections. On the nose, warm, the fragrances of ripe and stewed black fruits prefigure the voluminous mouth, full of flesh and crunch, full-bodied, energized by a juicy, saline finish, relayed by cocoa notes after aeration. Decant it before enjoying it young.

A leading player in Burgundy with the Bouchard Père & Fils houses, in Chablis with William Fèvre, in Champagne with Henriot, but also in Oregon (USA) with the Beaux Frères estate, the Maisons et Domaines Henriot group still wants to draw the quality of its wines towards the top . Today, we see a growing interest in vintage champagnes, rare champagnes. There are arguably more gourmet consumers than party consumers than before. A trend ? Yes ,webpage :

The sister of five-time Ballon d’Or winner (football/soccer) Cristiano Ronaldo is to launch her brand of Champagne. The cuvée called “The 777 Goals” developed specifically in honor of this football star, pays tribute to his brother who celebrated the 777th goal of his professional career in May 2021, This cuvée was produced by the Clément Victor Champagne house in Janvry, near Reims. It is made from a blend of equal parts Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from the 2016 vintage. A very luxurious cuvée in a limited series numbered from 1 to 777, i.e. 777 bottles. The precious bottle delivered in its tin case is paid for at the golden price of 1777 euros…oh yeah !! webpage :

A visit, tasting or a wedding as one of my friends did a while back and now even better, The Château Marquis de Terme offers 2 rooms: the cellar room which can hold 150 people with a view of the barrels or the Parc room with 50 seats with its pretty light and view of the castle. Château Marquis de Terme en Margaux is a Grand Cru Classé 1855, located at 3 route de Rauzan – 33460 Margaux – Cantenac

More than 1,100 hectares in production, a wide range of wine which is sold both abroad and in France, substantial stocks of Armagnac, the eau-de-vie which is making a comeback… Despite the bad weather, the Domaine Tariquet estate is doing well. An up and coming wine n our house for apéritifs nice, Another success to the credit of the Grassa family, located two km from Eauze, in the Gers. The Tariquet range includes around ten white cuvées, two rosé cuvées, and one sparkling cuvée. Today, Tariquet has 1,125 ha in production, i.e. an average of 9 million bottles bottled each year (for a turnover of 35 million euros) without purchasing grapes outside. Webpage :

It all started with Auguste, the great-grandfather of Jean-Claude Mas. In 1892, he bought his first vineyard: 9 hectares of vines located not far from Saint-Pons-de-Mauchiens, in the heart of the Hérault department. He established, without knowing it, a line that would lead, nearly 110 years later, to the creation of Domaines Paul Mas. It took off really by 2000, on the 35 hectares developed the family estate. In 1992, Jean Claude met Giorgio Grai, one of the greatest Italian oenologists, who taught him the art of blending. A decisive encounter for what followed , From a trader, he moved on to a manipulative trader to master the entire production chain, then he started buying vineyards, The Domaines Paul Mas now represent 850 hectares in ownership, spread over 15 estates, 30% of which are organic. They extend from the Gard department to Perpignan, in the Pyrénées-Orientales. Added to this are 1,500 hectares of vineyards in partnership with winegrowers, In Montagnac he created On the Côté Mas, a large sales cellar, a gourmet restaurant and two comfortable suites, One of the wines I am following lately, very good value/quality wise, webpage :

Two great losses I have followed over the years have passed away RIP

Claude Taittinger died last Monday at the age of 94. Managing Director of the family business from 1960 to 2005, he was able through his vision to support the prodigious development of the brand internationally for nearly half a century. the son of Pierre Taittinger, founder of the House of Tattinger, webpage !

The death of Ricardo Bofill on Friday, January 14 2022 at the age of 82 following complications linked to Covid-19, has left the international community of architects in mourning. He was one of the first to bring design into the universe of great wines, by designing the underground cellar of Château Lafite Rothschild in 1987. The whole is an impressive sanctuary of 4000 m2 that can accommodate up to 2200 barrels. The tour de force is all the more remarkable in that the cellar was dug under the vines and not seen from the outside, Any “spectacular signature”, thus being part of the culture of discretion dear to Lafite Rothschild. Inaugurated in 1987, this cellar paved the way for many Bordeaux properties which have since called on other renowned architects to design and dress their technical installations. Webpage on Mr Bofill profile ;

webpage of Lafite Rothschild :

There you go folks, a wonderful page on the wines of France. Sorry and my condolences to the families of Mr Tattinger and Mr Bofil, knew the first one in person at a salon in Paris in the Palais Brongniart. Hope you enjoy the post, even better the wines with moderation; this is a tradition….

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

January 17, 2022

Artsy curiosities of Le Mans!

Let me tell you about a wonderful city of Le Mans in the Sarthe dept 72 of the region of Pays de la Loire! I come by car, and it is about 3 hrs from me avoiding tolls which do not like if can avoided, why paid more taxes… We have made it here several times and have plenty in my blog, however, there are some buildings worth mentioning for when we have more time, we enjoy them and hope you do too.

Let me tell you a bit more on the wonderful theater and cinema complex in the Place des Jacobins of Le MansThe Place des Jacobins is the second main square in Le Mans, located south of the ramparts of old Mans and dominated by the cathedral ,the Quinconces des Jacobins and the cinema-theater complex.

The municipal theater of Le Mans, or theater of the Jacobins, is a performance hall present, in different forms, since 1842. The creation of a theater was envisaged from the first quarter of the 19C in order to compensate for the lack of space in the Hall concerts, dating from 1776. The theater built in 1842, was designed as a classical theater with three superimposed orders with Doric or Ionic columns accompanied by Corinthian pilasters. At the time of its construction, the Place des Jacobins was the heart of local social life. The theater is an important rallying point , originally, the large hall can accommodate around 900 people. Until 2008, it hosted theatrical performances, ballets and operas. The main novelties are the abandonment of the classic superposition and the addition of a portico preceded by a large parallelepipedic mass.


On Tuesday 22 August 1944, that is to say two weeks after the liberation of Le Mans, General de Gaulle addressed the local population meeting on the Place des Jacobins from the balconies of the municipal theater.

Located in front of the Place des Jacobins, located behind it the Quinconces des Jacobins where there is a park and a car park. The destruction of the theater, made it possible to exhume a number of corpses of Chouans, (fought the French revolution) buried after the first Battle of Le Mans. The old theater was dismantled from November 30, before being definitively destroyed on December 17, 2009. Major building in the city for a century and a half was gone, The new theater was commissioned in 2013, the new theater is therefore the third building housing the municipal theater. It has 822 places, a rehearsal room of 300 m2, a multipurpose space of 305 m2, an exhibition space of equivalent surface and an underground car park with 610 places. Next to it, but in a separate building is a cinema and a restaurant.

The official Théatre des Quinconces

The city of Le Mans on the theater

The Cinema Pathé has 11 rooms for 1854 seats, On the image side, the Pathé Le Mans is the first Pathé cinema to offer 4K projection in all theaters. It provides twice the resolution of conventional digital projection and guarantees exceptional color intensity. On the sound side and for the first time in the region, the largest room offers the possibility of watching films in Dolby Atmos , The Pathé Gaumont cinemas is a subsidiary of the Pathé group and is France’s leading cinema circuit with 78 cinemas, The restaurant L’Avant Premiére is located on top of the Cinéma Pathé of Le Mans , For lunch or dinner, the brasserie restaurant has a room and a terrace in summer that can accommodate 100 persons each. The lounge-bar area has 30 seats, allowing you to relax in peace. Also come and enjoy the terrace to sip your syrup or enjoy your ice cream in the shade of the parasols.


The official Pathé Gaumont cinemas on the cinema Pathé of Le Mans :

The official cinéma Pathé top L’Avant Premiére restaurant :

For general info, the Le Mans tourist office:

there you go folks, hoping you enjoy the brief instroduction to the theater and cinema of Le Mans. A wonderful square with plenty to see and do in addition to the above. Hope you enjoy the post as I.

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

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January 17, 2022

Curiosities of Laval!

And here I go again, bringing new pictures and stories from my vault.  Wonderful memories indeed and glad we came to Laval. I have several times past and used the train station here and then took the family several times for visits. Here are some of the latest curiosities of Laval, the city hall and train station. Enjoy the post, Laval is worth the detour. 

This is Laval in the dept 53 of Mayenne and in the Pays de la Loire region. Family trips have been by car and I parked by the parking of des remparts just behind the Hôtel de Ville on Rue Souchu Servinière. fyi !

The City/Town Hall or Hôtel de Ville of Laval is a building housing the municipal council and the administrative services of the town. It is located on the Place du 11-Novembre, in the city center. The city hall had been located since the 18C on the site of the current post office at Place du 11-Novembre. The works took place from 1826 to 1831 and the Place du 11-Novembre (then place de la Mairie) also dates from this period and is on the same axis. The City/Town Hall is therefore located in a completely new and monumental space, which supports its official character.


The City/Town Hall is neoclassical in style. Its main facade is in limestone and the rest is mainly built in coated rubble. It is formed by a central body with five bays punctuated by Doric columns on the ground floor and Ionic columns on the first floor. the three central bays are opened by semi-circular doors and windows.  The two remaining bays accommodate niches decorated with statues representing agriculture and commerce. The central bay is surmounted by a clock. The whole rests on a granite base.

The city of Laval and its city hall

The Laval tourist office on the city hall

The Laval train station or Gare de Laval is on the Paris-Montparnasse line to Brest, located near the city center. It is connected to the old town by avenue Robert-Buron, which allows in particular to reach the rue de la Peace, one of the main shopping axes of the center. Laval Castle is about a km away. It is located halfway between Rennes and Le Mans but also halfway between Brest and Paris.


It was put into service in 1855. After its destruction by bombardments during WWII, it was rebuilt in 1956. The passenger building is typical of that of stations in small French towns. It is made up of a single-story main building topped by a clock as well as two single-story side wings. The passage of the railway in Laval also required the construction of a viaduct crossing the Mayenne river. Located to the west of the train station, this 25-meter-high viaduct was completed in 1856. After the repairs from WWII, it resumes its original silhouette with a central body surrounded by two low wings. These wings are also extended by two two-story buildings. The openings in the central building repeat the semicircular arches that characterized the first station. It is also surmounted by a pediment and a clock. The station was renovated for the first time in 1985, then in 2007, a new square as well as an underground car park were inaugurated.

The Bretagne-Pays de la Loire LGV, high speed line opened to traffic in July 2017, It allows TGVs to stop at Laval train station. Since then, the city is only 1h10 from Paris and 24 minutes from Rennes and Le Mans. A new footbridge connecting the station forecourt to the Pommeraies district and allowing access to the various platforms was opened in December 2017. In May 2018, the new bus station was opened, replacing the one previously located in city center,

The Gare de Laval train station

The SNCF TER train station of Laval

Again, this is perhaps an off the beaten path city of my belle France, that needs more time, and we have, encourage you to do the same for Laval.

The Mayenne dept 53 tourist office on Laval

There you go folks, a nice walking tour and you can see these two, in lovely Laval. The city hall is a nice building and the train station is modern and comfortable. Hope you enjoy the post as I

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

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