Archive for November 7th, 2022

November 7, 2022

Memories of my family travels !!!

 I will be get into a nostalgic task of writing and showing about some of the personal things that my dear late wife Martine and I collected over the years, These are most precious ,and they hang all over the house in my loving Pluvigner, Most write about far away lands we visit,  but seldom about the one we live in. I have lived in 5 countries and citizen of 4, having visited 81 so far and all have an impact on my life. Needless, to say the meaning of Pluvigner hangs big in my world.

First, you know if read my blog, that I am a wine enthusiast and drink on meals every day, I have diplomas from France and Spain on wine knowledge and have kept some souvenirs not in the bottle, The first one was a map route of Burgundy wines, a gift from my wife’s grandmother Fourré as she said I was her favorite ! It sits in my living room. Second is one gift from my wife on the cellar of famous wines, and lastly one I pickup from a wine shop Crown in Miami many years ago about the sacred monster wines of fame and price. Both sits in my cellar.

Burgundy wine historical map gift grandmere fourre c1991

Plu wine barrels cellar great wines of pedro c2000

Plu wine monstres sacrés in cellar c2006

While visiting Paris in September 1990 to get to know my then girlfriend we walked past the bouquinistes by the Seine near Notre Dame Cathedral and pick up two frames of the famous monuments of Paris, There were aquarelles, framed and still hang right in front of me in my computer !

Paris monuments from the Seine c1990

Paris pont alexandre III et monuments c1990

Visiting popular Rouen for us we pick up a dish of the Gros Horloge or big clock . The small dish on the left is from my wife’s older brother town of Caudry (Nord 59), both are in our kitchen, and we had a gift from a friend of my wife on the same,hangs on hallway way to basement.

Rouen grande cloche walking dish gift c2006

Rouen grande cloche painting gift to martine c2006

Another gift from a friend of my wife, circa 2006 gave her the Le Vieux Moulin de Vernon old windmill of Vernon , this painted by a friend painter from Vernon itself, Still hangs in my house going down to the basement

Vernon le vieux moulin de vernon gift c2005

There is one very sentimental to me as was woven by my dear late wife Martine before knowing me, She knitted by hand to do a garden scene of a girl and mother greeting her father, Very moving she did this because her father Pierre died in an auto accident between Lavaur (he was a native of) ,and Montans (his brother and wife’s uncle were living here) ,both town in dept 81 ,Tarn, when she was 10, It hangs in my living room.

Meaux knitting of martine self made c1988

From my dear Spain, where we went on our big vacation time in August, to my sentimental Castilla La Mancha , my dear late wife Martine always on the mood for shopping and decorating the house got us a clock with the hanging houses of Cuenca  that hangs now in our kitchen, A hand fan as souvenir from our trips to Toledo that hangs in our dining room, as well as a statue of Don Quijote purchase in Toledo as well,

Cuenca clock casas colgadas aug17

Toledo fan purchase by martine aug16

Toledo don quijote gift to martine aug16

There you go folks, I wanted to include these wonderful memories of mine in my blog for history’s sake and to share with the world, You have souvenirs of places you visited and brought back ? Let me hear about it ok.

Another historical town for us , already 9 years in the house of Pluvigner, the longest for me ever in one place, Life goes on and the town has been good, hard to tell the future but I have chosen to stay here until when,,, from here to the sea at Honfleur, Normandie as our family has. Hope you enjoy this kind of post, and do get to know me more and hopefully I will you too. Do read my many posts on Pluvigner in my blog ! Thanks,

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

November 7, 2022

My treasure watercolors of my belle France !!!, Part 1

The Aquarelles or Watercolor is a water color on paper., so they tell me,,, In French, we distinguish watercolor, transparent, from gouache, of identical composition, but opaque. The binder that attaches the pigments to the support fibers is almost always gum arabic. Watercolor or gouache colors consist of pigments, a water-soluble binder and additives to aid in application and storage. Watercolors can only be exhibited in suitable conditions, low light and protected by glass. Which is how I keep them for many years already,

I have many so just took some of my favorites out to show in my blog, Hope you enjoy this wonderful aquarelles or watercolors shots of wonderful monuments of my belle France as I.

The Notre Dame Cathedral of Chartres was founded to glorify Mary and faithful to its welcoming vocation, the cathedral opens its doors wide to visitors who come to discover or rediscover it, pray, attend celebrations, concerts, or simply stroll. The Cathedral is also a parish in the French department of Eure-et-Loir, no, 28 in the Centre-Val de Loire region. It was built in the early 13C, for the most part in thirty years, on the ruins of an earlier Romanesque cathedral, itself destroyed in a fire in 1194.

Chartres Cathedral Notre Dame

The Abbey Saint-Pierre of Moissac, a former 8C-15C abbey located in the town of Moissac, in the department of Tarn-et-Garonne no, 82 in the Occitanie region. The abbey, founded in the 8C, was attached in 1047 to the powerful Abbey of Cluny and became, in the 12C, the most eminent monastic center in southwestern France.

Moissac abbaye Saint-Pierre cloitre

The Romanesque Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Paray-le-Monial,since 1875, It gives a complete image, although of reduced dimensions, of what was Cluny ,this jewel of Romanesque art is the best preserved model of Cluniac architecture in Burgundy. The church was built in the 12C by Hugues de Semur, the most important of the abbots of Cluny. Located in the department of Saône-et-Loire, no 71 in the Bourgogne-Franche-Comté region.

Paray le Monial basilique Sacre Coeur

The royal castle of Amboise is a former residence of the kings of France overlooking the Loire river, in Amboise, in Indre-et-Loire dept 37 of the Centre Val de Loire region, Before being attached to the crown in 1434, the castle belonged, for more of four centuries, to the mighty house of Amboise. During the Renaissance, it served as the residence of several kings, notably Charles VIII, Louis XII and François I.

Amboise chateau up from the loire

The Mont-Saint-Michel is located in the department of Manche no, 50 in the Normandy region. It takes its name from the rocky islet dedicated to Saint Michael where the abbey of Mont-Saint-Michel stands today. The architecture of Mont-Saint-Michel and its bay make it the most visited tourist site in Normandy and one of the ten most visited in France.

Mont Saint Michel

The Ploumanac’h lighthouse, or officially the Mean Ruz lighthouse, is a building constructed of pink granite, which indicates the entrance to the pass leading to the port of Ploumanac’h, in the town of Perros-Guirec in the Côtes d’Armor no 22, of the region of my lovely Bretagne. Ploumanac’h’s first lighthouse dates from 1860. Destroyed by Nazis troops on August 4, 1944, it was replaced by the current lighthouse in 1946.

Ploumanach phare de Mean Ruz Finistére

The Pont du Gard is a three-level bridge intended for the passage of a Roman aqueduct. It is located in Vers-Pont-du-Gard between Uzès and Remoulins, not far from Nîmes, in the department of Gard no 30 and the Occitanie region. Probably built in the first half of the 1C, it ensured the continuity of the Roman aqueduct which carried water from Uzès to Nîmes. According to the latest research, it would have ceased to be used at the beginning of the 6C. Highest known aqueduct bridge in the Roman world, A road bridge was attached to it in 1743-1747.

Vers Pont du Gard Pont du Gard bet Uzès and Remoulins

The fountain of the Place de la Grande-Fontaine, in Saint-Paul-de-Vence, Alpes Maritimes no 06 of the region of Provence Alpes Côte d’Azur or PACA, It has been depicted by many painters and photographers. You can access the fountain by going up rue Grande after passing the Porte Royale. It was built in 1615 in the Provençal style. The water pours into the basin through 4 cannons.

Saint Paul de Vence place de la grande fontaine

The Notre-Dame Abbey of Sénanque a working Cistercian monastery located in the commune of Gordes, in the department of Vaucluse no 84 in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region. Founded in 1148, it became an abbey in 1150. Along with the Abbey of Silvacane and the Abbey of Le Thoronet, it is one of the “three Provençal sisters”, which testify to the great influence of the Cistercian order in Provence. Today the priory of Lérins Abbey, the monastery, located in the valley where the Sénancole flows, is still occupied by a community of 6 Cistercian monks from the Cistercian Congregation of the Immaculate Conception.

Sénanque Abbaye Notre-Dame de Sénanque et lavande

The Sainte-Radegonde Church is located in Talmont-sur-Gironde, in the department of Charente-Maritime no, 17 and the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region. Built on a cliff overlooking the Gironde estuary, this church is sometimes considered the archetype of the Saintonge Romanesque style. It was built from the 11C on the initiative of the Benedictines of the Abbey of Saint-Jean-d’Angély , which would have made the sanctuary a stopover on one of the Santiago de Compostela routes.

Talmont sur Gironde ch Sainte Radegonde rue de l'eglise across gironde

The Old Troyes, is surrounded by the Seine river, is made up of two districts: the Cité, an administrative, aristocratic and ecclesiastical town, and the Bourg, a commercial and bourgeois town. The oldest preserved sector in France, it is full of characteristic houses, with their half-timbered corbelled floors surmounted by pointed gables. In the wealthier residences, appears the Champagne apparatus, checkerboard of bricks and chalk rubble, the private mansions are, from the 16C onwards, built of stone. Shown is the Pl alexandre Israle to rue de mole.

Troyes Pl alexandre israle to rue de mole old town

There you go folks, now I have another nice personal touch to my blog, again. These have been kept for many years do not even remember exactly but goes back to early 2004-06, and they are still in good condition. Hope you enjoy the aquarelles as I, and thanks for stopping by as always.

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

November 7, 2022

Wines news of Spain I !!

As we are sitting in the middle of Fall 2022, and after many posts on wines, I decided to do one on my dear Spain, After all, way way back at the tender age of 8 my maternal grandmother Amparo from Pajara, Tenerife gave me a zip of my first wine, from Spain, It was a Rioja of Riscal and always nostalgic about it, It kept me going to love wines and even thus let go of Spanish wines for a while, lately they are doing a great job, Therefore, will try the monumental task of telling you about my favorites anecdotes and news of Spanish wines and hope to continue this series as my others with your blessing and likes. Here it is ,better late than never my wines news of Spain I !!

Again, the doom, climate change poses a new threat to wine production. The world production of wine is estimated, in 2022, at around 25,990 million liters (259.9 million hl), a figure 1% lower than that registered in 2021 wow! This year’s harvest has been characterized by extreme heat and a unprecedented drought that has accelerated the ripening of vineyards around the world. A report recently published by the World Drought Observatory indicated that almost two thirds of the European territory was in a state of drought or alert due to heat waves and low rainfall: it was the worst drought in the last 500 years ! And only 1% ? . An average production volume is expected in the EU, with positive results in Italy, France and Germany, which compensate for the low harvests expected in Spain and Greece, especially affected by the summer heat wave.

La Celestina, written in 1499, is a masterpiece of Spanish and universal literature. If you have revisited this book with more age and maturity, surely you have enjoyed the variety and symbolism of the different themes of La Celestina and you will have realized the important role that wine has in this literary work. Shall we rediscover this classic written by Fernando de Rojas, follow me !! In the 15C, the recurring themes in art were death, fate versus free will, and love. All these themes are reflected in the plot of La Celestina. Being a work written in the transition period between the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, some characteristics of the new times can already be glimpsed in the language and style of La Celestina. The moral approach of the play is also approaching the humanist postulates that will be developed in the 16C, such as individualism or the ability of the human being to influence his destiny. The plot advances around the impossible love story between young Calisto and Melibea. Death is one of the most recurring themes in the entire history of literature and in the historical period in which La Celestina takes place, it is one of the main plots. The characters are motivated mainly by the desire for money, especially those who belong to the lowest social strata, such as the servants Sempronio and Pármeno or Celestina herself. Greed will cause Celestina’s death at the hands of Calisto’s servants, since they refuses to share the gold received , The wine becomes another character at times, such as the banquet at Celestina’s house. It also serves to build the character of the bawd, who dedicates an entire monologue to glossing over the benefits of wine. In this banquet of food, wine and sex, Celestina uses wine as a symbol of the pleasures of life and its fleeting nature. This is also Celestina’s monologue in Act IX about her love of drinking wine and that it deserves worth rereading , I’ve told you enough now go read the book! Webpage biblioteca virtual Miguel de Cervantes  :

In this its 40th anniversary of its foundation (the DO), these riverside lands of Castilla y León include quality wines produced in the provinces of Burgos (60 towns), Valladolid (19), Segovia (4) and Soria (19). It is one of the most important in Spain , Jumilla wines are one of the hallmarks of Albacete and the region of Murcia. A vintage next to the Mediterranean and a unique opportunity to get to know the kingdom of Monastrell, a grape with which these forceful, intensely colored, tasty, meaty, aromatic and complex reds are created. In Galicia there are four appellations of origin (Rías Baixas, Valdeorras, Ribeiro and Monterrei) that can be the target of a top-level oenological tour. The Vinalopó region, known for being one of the producers of Alicante D.O wine, whose regulatory council is one of the oldest in Spain.

And one of my old time favorite still drinking it ,and this one is a dandy, the Tinto Pesquera Reserva 2018, Tempranillo grape, DO Ribera del Duero of the Fernández Rivera family. Tinto Pesquera ,heads the list of Ribera’s historical reserves since its inception. Made from vineyards located in Pesquera de Duero, it remains for a minimum of 14 months in American oak barrels. Expressive and complex, aromas of ripe black fruit, spices, smoked, roasted licorice are perceived. Full-bodied on the palate, tasty, fresh, creamy on the palate, with fine tannins and a complex finish. Sublime ! Webpage :

Another dandy is Bodegas Riojanas ,a family project that has accumulated 132 years of experience with an innovative vocation without losing sight of the point of origin: the vineyard, the beginning and end of a success story in constant evolution. The Frías-Artacho family, who know that they were inaugurating the newly built Bodegas Riojanas encouraged by the success of their wine at the Barcelona Universal Exposition in 1889. They also know that the family’s wine tradition goes back at least another century, as we It recalls the stone door that in 1799 allowed access to the family vineyards and that today is preserved at the entrance to the Cenicero winery. The winery has started from the origin, that is, from the vineyard. They control 1,700 plots totaling 800 hectares, 200 of which they own and the rest from wine growers with whom they have been working for generations, including some vineyards over 120 years old that have allowed them to launch the new Monte Real project. It is a concept of Limited Editions that represents a drive towards the future of Monte Real and an innovation based on the timeless value of the vineyard. It started in 2020 with Monte Real Cuvée, in 2021 Monte Real Garnacha and Monte Real Tempranillo Blanco were joined, and this year Monte Real Cepas Viejas has arrived, a wine that transfers the terroir to the glass on a trip to the past starting from old vineyards with a clear vision of the future like the one envisioned by Larrendant, the winemaker who produced the first wine under the Monte Real brand: tradition as a tool for innovation. As if that were not enough, in 2019 they created the first Viticulturists School to value the work of viticulturists in the quality of wines. Presentations, debates and activities are held to publicize the new challenges of viticulture and provide innovative solutions to the problems of viticulturists, Bodegas Riojanas ,Avda. Dr. Ricardo Ruiz Azcárraga, Cenicero (La Rioja) Webpage :

And more, as never in Ribera del Duero has there been a winery project in which wine and the fine art of horsemanship have been found in a bottle. Bodegas Virtus has taken the step, but it has done so out of respect for the area and for roots that have always looked to the vineyard, If you take the VA-223 road that begins in Cuéllar (Segovia) and ends when you reach Peñafiel from the south (Valladolid), few things will surprise you today, The Íñigo López de la Osa Escribano is the owner of Bodegas Virtus, he is above all the custodian of a beautiful legacy based on viticulture and horse riding. While his grandfather Mariano Escribano was linked his entire professional life to the world of horses, his mother, Paloma Escribano, had the courage to crystallize in the middle of the eighties of the last century her own winery project as a result of the family wine tradition of the family, Íñigo, the youngest of five brothers, born in Sweden due to the vicissitudes of life and nicknamed among his older brothers as El Sueco (the swede), an affectionate name with which the Crianza of the family was baptized, whose label once again resorts to the image of the horse. Some fresher batches are added that come from the old vineyard that they control in different parts of the Ribera and with which they make Virtus, their Gran Reserva. From Villálvaro, the aromatic power; de Sotillo, structure and volume; and from Moradillo, freshness. With this scheme, the winery’s red icon is built, with which they are opening international markets as important as Mexico, Switzerland, the United States, Sweden, Denmark, France, Italy, Portugal or Poland. Today we can already find El Sueco Blanco 2020 with a nice drawing of nuances framed in a well thought-out aging. But while waiting for it to refine in the bottle, Virtus Albillo Mayor 2020 is yet to come, in which work is being done to develop aromatic registers of greater complexity and aging capacity, as well as a high level of volume and sapidity that are well balanced with each other. Bodegas Virtus Pago de la Fuentecilla, S/N , Aldeyuso (Valladolid) Webpage :

In the near future, the production of quality wines from my dear La Mancha could turn much more towards organic wines, the consumption of which has a growing trend in many international markets. Yes already seen quite a bit of them in Castilla – La Mancha which leads organic viticulture in Spain, as the world’s leading power in organic wine with a hopeful future The figures alone reflect this with nearly 450,000 hectares of organic agricultural land, of which 63,000 hectares are devoted to vineyards, with 7,000 farmers with organic plots. What is organic farming ? Well , it is a production method whose objective is to obtain food using natural substances and processes, yes all from Mother Earth, As witnessed by the passage of the first civilizations, with the Roman legacy and subsequent development of the Middle Ages, viticulture became an important hallmark of La Mancha’s past, with the Golden Age, as its writers already reflected, with distinguished works Like El Quijote, the wines of La Mancha enjoyed great popularity and demand in the surroundings of the Spanish Court and the capital of Madrid. By extension, the La Mancha plain comprises a vast territory in the altiplano, without great slopes, with an average altitude above the 700 meters above sea level.We speak, therefore, of a strongly continentalized inland Mediterranean climate with thermal features and a level of rainfall that sometimes brings it closer to steppe features. Winters in La Mancha are harsh and extreme with minimums that temperatures can reach -15 C (5 F) in the coldest months, temperatures that contrast with the very harsh summers that reach maximums of 45 degrees Celsius( 113 F) in the heat of the heat. Uniformity in the climatology also results in a geological level with a homogeneity of the soils in La Mancha. All of this defines the most optimal natural conditions for growing vines, where the presence of limestone soils makes it possible to obtain wines (especially red ones) with great structure, body and alcohol content, optimal for consumption as young wines, with great aromatic potential or subsequent aging in wood. And, also the reasons to go Organic, In some foreign markets that value the ECO label in agri-food products, such as Germany and Japan, precisely two of the main clients of La Mancha wineries (first and third, respectively, with 4,698,795 bottles and 1,433.70 bottles in 2021). In a certain way, La Mancha is situated in the ideal framework to comply with the EU action plan that aims to achieve the objective of the European Green Deal by allocating 25% of agricultural land in the EU to organic farming to 2030. One that I know well and visited is Bodegas Finca Antigua, at Los Hinojosos,about 130 km ( 81 mi) from Cuenca Webpage :

The Regulatory Council of La Mancha wines:

The Feria del Caballo or Horse Fair and the celebration of Vinoble, the sherry wine fair, can be the perfect excuses to get to know this unique city, the cradle of flamenco and one of the most famous wines in the world. Jérez de la Frontera, When visiting this City, we cannot go without going to the Monumental Ensemble of the Alcázar de Jérez and the Càmara Oscura or Dark Camera, which houses a mosque, the parade ground, the gardens, some Arab baths, the San Fernando patio and the Villavicencio Palace. In the historic quarter, the palace-houses stand out, such as the Domecq Palace and the Pérez Luna House, both from the end of the 18C, and the Cathedral Church of San Salvador, built on the original Great Mosque of Jerez, as well as the Cartuja de Santa María de la Defensión from the 15C, Of the Cartuja, its façade and the Renaissance-style Chapel of Santa María, the work of Andrés de Ribera, stand out. Also not to be missed is a visit to the Royal Andalusian School of Equestrian Art where the world-famous show “How Andalusian Horses Dance” is performed. Jerez is also known worldwide for its wine, Sherry, although we should better speak of fortified wines, which have their annual appointment in the framework of Vinoble, especially its chalky-clay soils, whitish in color called albarizas (from alba, white in Latin ) make it possible to produce this unique wine in the world. The albariza rock is a white and organic loam formed by the sedimentation of the waters of an inland sea that covered the region. It is rich in calcium carbonate, clay and silica. It retains a lot of moisture, storing the winter rains and then feeding the vines during the long summer period. Jerez winegrowers have traditionally divided the land into pagos, understanding these as small lands that are homogeneous in soil, climate and vineyards. Some pagos are famous like those of Carrascal, Macharnudo, Añina and Balbain. The Regulatory Council of Jerez, the oldest in Spain created in 1933, has approved the varieties of Palomino, the majority in the area, Pedro Ximénez and Moscatel. Due to their light, fresh and delicate character, Fino or Manzanilla Sherry wines should be consumed within months of bottling, Amontillados can last for weeks and Oloroso, Pale Cream or PX can be kept intact for years. And to accompany them at the table, Fino and Manzanilla are by definition the aperitif wines and go well with tapas, shellfish, soft cheeses and white fish. Amontillado goes well with soups and consommés, white meats or heavy blue meat, while Oloroso goes well with red meats and game. The slightly cold Pale Cream must be accompanied by foie gras and fresh fruit, the Pale Cream and the P.X. (Pedro Ximénez) They are more suitable for confectionery. Some of my favorite wineries are Bodegas Emilio Lustau, Bodegas Sánchez Romate, Tío Pepe (González Byass), Bodegas Sandeman, Bodegas Hidalgo, Bodegas Alvaro Domecq, and Bodegas Díez Mé The Jerez Regulatory Council :

5 Wine tourism destinations in Spain within the Top 50 World’s Best Vineyards 2022, In 2nd place we find another classic in this ranking of wine tourism destinations in our country, since we are talking about the Bodega de los Herederos de Marqués de Riscal,(my first taste of Spanish wines by grandma Amparo) in Rioja, In the 29th position we find the wine tourism offer of Abadía Retuerta in the Ribera del Duero area. In 6th place we find a fundamental wine tourism destination in our country in the area specifically of Jerez, such as the one offered by the González Byass winery. In 34th place we find the wine tourism experience offered by the Torres Family in the Penedès area. Bodegas Vivanco appears in 44th place, a benchmark in the world of wine tourism in La Rioja. The Top 50 world’s best vineyards 2022 ranking webpage :

2 Spanish wines among the best in the world aged in barrels in 2022 for Wine Enthusiast within its ranking Top 100 Cellar Selections of 2022. In this way we find ourselves in 11th place,the wine Marqués de Murrieta 2011 Castillo Ygay Gran Reserva Special (Rioja), with 97 rating points, produced by the Marqués de Murrieta winery. This wine in its previous vintage was considered the best in the world last year. In 75th place we find the wine Sierra Cantabria 2016 Amancio (Rioja), produced by Bodegas y Viñedos Sierra Cantabria, with a score of 95 points. Wine Enthusiast magazine on Murrieta :

The Spanish winery reaches the highest international distinction of the World Network of Great Wine Capitals, Marqués de Murrieta has received the “Best Of 2023” international award, which places it as the best winery in the world , Recently, one of the winery’s wines, Castillo Ygay Gran Reserva, was named the best wine in the world by one of the most respected media in the sector, Wine Spectator, the first time that a Spanish wine has reached this milestone. At the beginning of 2022, its technical director, María Vargas, was also chosen “Best winemaker in the world” at the Wine & Spirits Awards. The most recent milestone for the winery took place this summer, when Marqués de Murrieta managed to gain access to the international the famous Parker points, awarded by the Wine Advocate guide, owned by the Michelin Guide. This fact has placed it in the world top 10 of wineries with more than 100 Parker points, being the first Spanish winery to enter this select group of wineries of the highest international level. Marqués de Murrieta has inaugurated this year its new winery, at the forefront of the sector worldwide. The new project encompasses a complex of buildings of more than 25,000 square meters for the production and aging of wines, surrounded by more than 50,000 square meters of new parks and gardens. Marqués de Murrieta webpage :

The World Network of Great Wine Capitals on Murrieta:

There you go folks, a new horizon is set to begin in my blog, Hoping for a long lasting memories of my dear Spain and its wine news, An up and coming area already shining for several years, and getting better me think, Hope you enjoy the new series of wines news from Spain as I

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

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