Archive for November 14th, 2022

November 14, 2022

Wines news of Spain II

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 ,again coming back at you my wines news of Spain II !!

I am cerfified on both commercial offices of France and Spain, on wine knowledge and expertise, and citizen of both countries … I did a previous posts on wine news so why not on Spain! An always exciting country for wine, for many years left in decay and from the last 20 or so slowly coming back out with its great potential. I love the Riberas, Rias, Riojas, Toro, Jumillas, sherries, and especially all of the Castillas with especial emphasis on Castilla La Mancha. Ok so that’s me bragging, now for the news!

Uclés (also famous for a great monastery see post) is a small denomination of Castellano-Manchega origin that seeks to be noted in a sea of bulk and table wines of low profitability. Conditions are not lacking, from its more than 800 meters of height to the continental climate with strong thermal differential, passing through the soils that both give quantity and, suitably cultivated, quality. Finca La Estacada, of the family Cantarero Rodríguez, started in 2001. A large family rooted in the Cuenca área of which some created Bodegas Fontana, a landmark renovator in its time; Others follow the trail with Finca La Estacada, which has its greatest achievement in this selection of varietals. They are part of a successful combination of grapes that bring their seal to the aromatic range laden with ripe fruit, which is adorned with spices and roasted oak, perhaps too present. Powerful, juicy, fresh and long wine, not surprising but convincing. Finca La Estacada. Tarancón (Cuenca) DO: Uclés Red Reserva, 14% Cabernet Sauvignon, Tempranillo,Merlot and Syrah. One of my best finds lately staying in this área of Castilla La Mancha. webpage:

Rigorous, restless, imaginative, convincing, Victoria Pariente and daughter Martina offer masterful elaborations with the Verdejo variety. And they do it in all forms: young crianzas, aged on lees, fermented in ovoid deposits of clay cement, fermented and bred in oak. And now they surprise with this farm wine that represents the culmination of a pioneer saga in the difficult task of dignifying the whites of Rueda when few believed it possible. For this they have chosen the grapes of a small vineyard in the plot Las Comas, where vegetative strains planted in 1910, have waited to have an exceptional vintage, and finally, fermented and bred with its lees in a barrel of 2,250 liters for 12 months. On a reverberating surface of gravel, ripe fleshy fruit covered by the fresh balsamic touch of the herbal fields, and enriched with subtle floral notes, in discreet wooden background suggesting toasted spices. Slender, soft, full, long. Jose Pariente La Seca (Valladolid) DO: White Rueda crianza, 13.5% Verdejo. webpage:

It began by opening the way of the Albariño, soon surpassed by the Verdejo, which now feels the breath of Godello. It is not surprising that the most dynamic wineries in Rioja, Ribera del Duero or Penedès have expanded their offer with wines from Rías Baixas, Rueda, Valdeorras and Bierzo. The last one to bet on Godello is Emilio Moro. They began buying vineyards and land in the highest area of Bierzo, then building the winery. They begin by enticing the terrain, with small productions, and two marks, The El Zarzal and the La Revelia. It is a white fermented in French oak barrels of 500 liters, aged on eight-month lees. Precise elaboration that achieves a cleanly varietal aroma, with the bone fruit wrapped in leaves and dry flower notes, and a citrus freshness in the shaded atmosphere of the smoked oak. Tasty, enveloping, leaves an elegant fruity memory. Emilio Moro. Pesquera de Duero (Valladolid) OD: Bierzo Blanco crianza, Godello 13.5%. Point apart. As above El Zarzal, Bodegas Emilio Moro, Castilla y León (Bierzo), 2017, White Godello, 13.50 º . Aromatically fine, with laurel, dried flowers and a stony background. Very greedy, powerful and with good persistence and texture. Notes of green figs. It will improve in bottle even more. Lovely tasted good. webpage:

The Ribera del Duero denomination of origin, which houses vineyards located in Castilla y León, has become one of the most vibrant Spanish wine regions. Each of these bottles can be purchased on the Internet for less than 10 euros, but it depends on your geographical region. Viña Sastre Roble 2017 14%. This emblematic winery of La Horra, founded by the Sastre family in 1992, is characterized by its traditional style, faithful to its terroir and vineyards. 45 hectares of property located at a certain altitude. Viña Sastre Roble is characterized by being 100% of the Tinta del Pais, the local name of the Tempranillo variety, and for its long ageing, of nine months in American and French oak casks, which gives the whole complexity. It is a wine of deep cherry color, of elegant nose of black wild forest with a touch roasted and of licorice; Deep and sensual in the mouth, of great fruitiness, fresh for its good acidity and balanced bitterness. Webpage:

Matarromera Melior Roble 2016  14%. Carlos Moro founded its Matarromera Winery in 1988, in the heart of La Ribera, in Valbuena de Duero. At present, there are 90 hectares of vineyards mainly of the Tempranillo variety, whose ripe bunches are harvested by hand to prevent their breakage and to express their best quality. The 2016 Melior Roble performs a six month ageing in oak casks, and its color is a deep dark cherry red color, fruit of its youth. On the nose displays seductive notes of red and black wild, blackberries and blueberries, and interacting touches with notes of quality. It is tasty, juicy and very fruity, with a medium, fresh-pitched body, very aromatic and fine; fluid, with volume and full of sensations, of elegant bitterness, very balanced, with a pleasant mineral finish. It is a very elegant, harmonious, round and balanced wine. Webpage:

Celeste 2017 14%. Celeste is the definitive bet of the Torres family, of the well-known bodega of Penedés, on the Ribera del Duero. Its winery, baptized as Pagos del Cielo  with vineyards located at high altitude, is located in Campos de Peñafiel(Valladolid). Celeste 2017 is made of fine red and a three month ageing in French and American oak casks. It has a deep dark cherry color of youth, and displays a fine aroma of blackberries with a floral touch of violets, and a pleasant end of cocoa and bitter chocolate. Greedy, with an attractive rusticity, half-bodied, with fine bitterness, fruity finish and pleasurable persistence. These characteristics make it a very balanced wine, and with a delicious final minerality. Webpage:

La Planta 2017, 14.5%. The La Planta is the oak wine of the famous Bodega ArzuagaNavarro, well known for its spectacular winery in the Golden Mile, between Peñafiel and Valladolid. The Arzuaga Family founded it in the early nineties, surrounded by a spectacular spot with vibrant native fauna and flora. Its vineyards, of which 150 hectares are owned, are located in the prestigious Valladolid region where the Tempranillo grape variety continues to dominate. The 2017 La Planta is made from vineyards located at an altitude of 900 meters and the grapes are macerated in cold, which then ferment at a controlled temperature of 25 º C (77F). Finally, the wine performs a 6 month ageing in American oak casks. To the eye it possesses the typical color of its youth, an intense cherry color and bruised. In the nose it displays pleasing notes of black wilds of forest, blackberries, currants, blueberries, with a pleasant toasted oak bottom. Meaty, of ample craving, with notes of vanilla of cast wood , being tasty, of ample fruitiness and with body. In short, a satisfying wine, with the final memory of the sweetness of vanilla. webpage:

Valtravieso Finca Santa María 2017 ,14%. Very close to Peñafiel, in one of the most stony and high moors of the Ribera del Duero at 915 meters, stands the Bodega Valtravieso. Founded in 1985, it has some 60 hectares of vineyards, where it not only cultivates the emblematic fine tinta del pais variety, but a small extension of the grapes of French Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. The peculiarity of its oak-type wine Valtravieso Finca Santa Maria is that the grapes come exclusively from this farm, where it intervenes in 95% of Tempranillo with a touch of 5% Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, and the final blend of wine makes a six month ageing in oak barrels. Its cherry color, very concentrated, makes you think of a wine with a body. Its aroma is of fresh fruit, with strawberries of forest and currants, and a touch of black plum, as well as balsamic country herbs. The entrance of the mouth is different from the other Riberas, by the French varieties, very potent, tannic and virile, with body and a vivid bitterness in equilibrium with its vibrant acidity, which brings freshness, and very marked end of currants. It is a very tasty wine, corporeal, powerful and balanced, long remembered. webpage:

The climate, the grape variety and the elaboration process are essential for the wine, yes. But so is the land where the vine is cultivated. As a general rule, the most suitable terrain should have a proportion of limestone, clay and silicon components so that the wine has finesse, potency, intensity, character and freshness. Having this in mind these wines selection below will tantalize your taste bugs as they were mines!

Navaherreros 2016 . San Martín de Valdeiglesias (Madrid). DO: Vinos de Madrid. Red Crianza, Garnacha 14.5%. Into from old Garnachas bred in French oak. Intense aroma, with candied notes of red wild, flower and spices. Tasty, fruity finish. webpage:

Teneguía Caletas 2015 . Fuencaliente (La Palma). DO: La PalmaCanary Islands. White Crianza, 13%.With local grapes Vijariego, Malvasia, Albillo, Sabro, Gual and Listán. Go back to my roots!. Achieved a combination of white varieties of free standing for an aromatic landscape of elegant fruity complexity, with floral notes and pastries souvenirs on a smoked background. Soft and greedy. Now you find the 2017. webpage:

From the Rioja wines to the Parmesan or Manchego cheese and the Spanish turrón from Jijona (nougat), the European products with denomination of origin must be protected. This was raised in statements to EFE agency by Massimo Vittori, director of OriGIn, a non-profit organization that from 2003 represents more than 500 associations of producers of goods with Denomination of Origin (DO) or Protected Geographical Indication (IGP), in forty countries. All appellations of origin must register as soon as possible as a mark in the UK , this was done to protect branding upon Brexit. webpage:

One last but not least and got to know them in 2019 is the Félix Solís Avantis who recently has been distinguished in the AWC Vienna 2022 contest, with the title of ‘Best Spanish Producer’. In addition to this award, the company has also been awarded thirty-eight medals for its wines, fourteen of them gold and twenty-four silver. These good results represent a new success, even more so in this year in which it celebrates its 70th anniversary. They are in Valdepeñas province of Ciudad Real, Autonomous Community f Castilla La Mancha. The Casa Albali, and Altos de Tamaron especially are worth seeking out. webpage:

There you go folks, a new horizon is on the go 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 !!!

November 14, 2022

Salons et Vins de Vannes !!!

One of the highlights of living in my beautiful Morbihan is that gastronomy and wines are tops, whether locally or folks coming in , we are serve the best of France, And that is saying a lot me think, We have jump on the wagon sort of speaking early on in our stay here,and participated in these events, One we go every year since 2014 is the Salon de vins et de la Gastronomie or its variants names over the years, Let me do a recap condensing older post with fresh text and links for you and I, Hope you enjoy it as I.

The Salon des vins et de la Gastronomie 2014 was held on November 28-30,and Dec 1st . 5€ adult admission, and on the wonderful Chorus expo center of the Parc du Golfe, exposition expo Hall A.  Hours were from 10h to 19h with Dec 1 to 18H.  Of course ,we grab our basque cheeses and cherry cakes, the Champagne for the end of year from Verzenay, near Reims ,Champagne Gdome pére et fils, and wines from our neighbors in the Loire at St Nicolas de Bourgueil, Vignobles de la Rodaie, , and of course our plate combination for the raclette!!!

We moved on to the Salon des Vins et de la Gastronomie 2017, again held at the Chorus, parc du Golfe of Vannes. And we visited Ets Radigue on pots and pans and utensils we purchase; one pot and one pan with cover all French made both for 140 euros. We found ouir steady supplier by now, the Maison Castellou from Saint Jean Pied du Port ,and we got it all, and gifts given to us too. Not to leave out the Les Saveurs Catalans for their wonderful sausages, the L’Oliveraie with its olives and tapenades , the local honeys and soaps from honey of the Miellerie de Huelgoat with 18 different kinds of honey! ,Atout Fruit Sec with all fruits in dry form or gelly , There were wine producers came from Alsace such as Domaine Fleischer, Beaujolais (where we met a wonderful couple of Le Bourlay Patrick and Odile) we purchase Juliénas and Brouilly. The big daddy Bordeaux from Chateau Dillon,and La Rose Pauillac, Chateau Mercier, etc , Champagne was here with some local producers such as Robert-Allait, and Godmé Sabine pére et fils; Charentes region with its cognacs, Languedoc-Roussillon with the Banyuls and Mas Amiel and many others. My favorite Sud-Ouest region with Domaine Lamothe wonderful Gaillac (we had on my wife’s father side home turf); the Vallée du Rhône had its many with the Condrieu and Côte Rotie of Domaine de Boisseyt-Chol,and the Châteauneuf du pape of Clos Val Seille. the Vallée de la Loire. You have the Vouvrays of the Caves Rougebec Vouvray , and Earl Bergers Fréres with the wonderful whites of Montlouis-sur-Loire ,and by now our friends of Earl Cousseau Boireau vignobles de la Roudaie and its Saint-Nicolas-de-Bourgueil reds and rosés!

And came back again with the Salon Vins et Gastronomie, 2018 and this year proves to be an even bigger success, this was the 26th edition. The Salon is open February 17-18-19 from 10h to 19h except Monday to 18h. Admission is 5€ or 4€ if purchase on the internet; once you receive and invitation from a producer is free as it is for us. All is held at the exposition center Chorus in the parc du golfe of Vannes. Right away we got into it as this was sadly the last came with my dear late wife Martine as she passed away from cancer on April 30 2018 19h never to forget my mamie bleu ! Of course with her we went into the sweets /sugar pastries shop by renown pâtissier or pastry maker Alain Chartier who has store in city center Vannes as wall as pastrychef school and teams up worldwide with many organisations as well as French chocolate maker  Valrhona (as in valley of the Rhône). We went to our regular of many years and even have visited in their locale, this is the Maison Gastellou originally from Saint Jean Pied de Port in French Basque country. Wonderful Bayonne hams, sausages, and ready made sandwiches of Bayonne ham and ewe milk cheese. Also , the famous basque cake and jellies. We got them all, We came back to see Christel and now his wife Claudine of  the Domaine Cousseau Boireau wonderful rose and red wines of Saint Nicolas de Bourgueil in the Loire valley : This are very good wines at affordable prices (who said French wine is expensive?) the wines here are from 5-8 euros per bottle all made from Cabernet Franc for the red and rosés. We stop by an old reliable Domaine de Lamothe, Gaillac red , whites, roses, moelleux etc . The story here is that on my wife’s father side they are cathars from this region, Lavaur, Toulouse, Gralheut, Montans, Gaillac, and the family used to sent us this wine to us back while living in Florida USA. We came to live permanently in France in 2003, and got this wine in the property with the owners directly that knew the family; now here at Vannes their daughter is send to showcase the wines of the property, wonderful tradition, We stopped by Domaine Sanzay, and were pleasantly surprise by their Domaine 2016 and Vielles Vignes reds of the appellation Saumur-Champigny. They were there with the owners Didier and Céline, and the property can be visited and tastings done on site as well. We try some saucissons of the Saveurs Catalanes on their stand for the good price and had them before here in Brittany ,in fact they have a depot by Rennes even if the family of the recipe is from Girona Catalonia Spain, We, also got some nice sticks of chocolates from the Le Comptoir du chocolat who are nearby at Quimper and were in the salon as well; great varieties on the tablets just delicious We got our dry fruits at the by now usual place who also have a store in Rocheport-en-Terre in the Morbihan 56 (our dept). L’Art Gourmand, and of course here we got a bushful and tastings galore,

And closing out last but not least we were in the Salon Vins et Gastronomie of 2019 held over this weekend again at the Chorus expo center in the Parc du Golfe.  the 27th in my area! The show was on March 9/10/11 from 10h to 19h with Monday to only 17h. Admission is 5€ adult but as I go often we get invitation for free from growers. There is free parking, lending of wheels caddy with proper personal ID, restaurant on site even to drink the bottles you purchase there, and tasting glasses with a deposit of 1€ (you can keep the glass or get the refund at end). I can recall the Domaine Fleischer of Alsace, Domaine des Gaudets Morgon of Beaujolais, Chateau Mercier of Bordeaux, La Rose Pauillac, Bordeaux, Domaine Fillon of Burgundy, Champagne Godmé Sabine pére et fils, Champagne Robert-Allait, Roxane et Cyrano, southwest France, Domaine des Sanzay, Valley of the Loire, also from the Loire, Domaine Hérault, Vignobles de la Rodaie(Cousseau-Boireau), Domaine des Liards Berger Fréres, Alain Chartier chocolatier from our area, le Nougat de MontségurLes Saveurs CatalanesMaison Gastellou, Miellerie de Huelgoat, and Coutellerie Moret.

Of course once again we loaded up with goodies and thank them for coming close to home, As it is over the years good rapport has been created and now they either ship to me at no freight cost or do deliveries in our areas on site or sometimes to our home ! All in the name of gastronomy and wines , the best in the world me think ; this is France,

There you go folks, my world, and you are welcome, This was a recap condensing some posts find repeated but keeping the wonderful history of them all, Hope you enjoy the post on fair of gastronomy and wines of Vannes as I.

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

November 14, 2022

Wines news of France XXXVI !!

Well, we are moving right into mid Fall season , and November 2022 ,is coming along fine, the temps are warmer so say the so call experts. Anyway, always good to bring the best of Wine news of France. First ,thanks to all my readers and/or followers! Oh yeah, the wines of France are just super simply awesome and a great tradition. Often imitated, some time equaled ,but never surpass! Let me give some news shall we; hope you enjoy it as I.

Present in many regions, new wines or nouveau vin come from a long tradition. Beaujolais Nouveau is coming ! The other new wines too. Overview. the release of Beaujolais Nouveau fixed, since 1985, on the third Thursday of November, i.e. the 17th of the month, this year. 55 million bottles will then flood the world, which represents about a third of the total production of Beaujolais. new wine has probably been celebrated since man discovered the fermentation of grapes. In Rome, the feast of the Meditrinalia, fixed for October 11, celebrated the end of the grape harvest at the same time as the medicinal virtues of the new wine. The second: even today, many new wines exist everywhere in France. They benefit, like Beaujolais, from the derogation to sell the wines of the year before December 15, In Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée (AOC), as for Beaujolais, the date is set for mid-November. In IGP, formerly vin de pays, it is mid-October. There are some in the Rhône Valley, in the Côtes du Rhône, in the Côteaux du Languedoc, in Touraine, in the Mâconnais, the Côtes du Roussillon, the Languedoc… In Gaillac, the Vin Nouveau IGP comes out every year, on the third Thursday October, this year on the 21st. In Bordeaux, the new wine festival took place this year on the 22nd and 23rd of October. In Saint-Pourçain, since 1987, a wine called La Ficelle, a fruity red produced by the Union des Vignerons, hits the market on the first Saturday in December. These new wine festivals also exist abroad. Since 1994, the Fiesta del Vino Joven takes place at the end of November, in the Born district of Barcelona. Two I can recommend from outside Beaujolais are the Domaine Plaimont Colombelle ; La Belle Vie, Sud Ouest region- Côtes de Gascogne ,and Domaine de Labarthe – Red and White Primeur new wine red or white Sud-Ouest region in Gaillac

The month of November is often perceived as the most melancholy, even the saddest month of the year. Indeed, the days are getting shorter, the weather is getting colder, more humid and windy. Admittedly, the flamboyant red colors of autumn are reminiscent of certain summer evenings, but it is no longer summer, holidays being nothing more than photos. At the beginning of the month, accompanied by chrysanthemums, we visit cemeteries. On the 11th, we celebrate the victory of millions of dead WWI), but Christmas is getting closer, although still quite far away. In short, in November, morale is not looking good. The second most famous wine appellation after champagne, Beaujolais owes its fame not to its quality for many detractors, but to the “Beaujolais Nouveau” operation which is a worldwide success every year. Nouveau or new, because the concept is recent and dates from an official note of November 13, 1951 through which the administration authorized the release of wines from the vats before mid-December without waiting for the following spring. From 1967, the date changes and is fixed at November 15 to finally be shifted from 1985 to the third Thursday of November. Last year 18 million bottles were sold worldwide, the equivalent of 133,000 hectoliters and 20% of the total sale of Beaujolais vineyards. In France, 9 million bottles found takers, in other words 70,000 hectolitres, including 40,000 in supermarkets. Exports with nearly 9 million bottles exported to more than 100 countries in 2021. After France, Japan remains the second market for Beaujolais Nouveau with 3.6 million bottles imported by the Land of the Rising Sun ! closely followed by United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Germany, Belgium, Australia and China. As for the quality, it is pleasing. There are similarities with the great vintages 2009, 2015, 2018 and 2020. 2022 will be a year of signature wines. This vintage will offer wines with very varied profiles: ample and structured, with a deep colour. They will be wines for laying down par excellence, as well as drinkable and fleshy wines, pleasant to drink. All that remains is to taste, and enjoy them !! webpage :

Here are 5 tips for choosing the right party wines for the coming Holidays: 1- Favor large formats, user-friendly par excellence, Rather than opening three or four bottles of champagne, think of two magnums. 2- Take care of the order in which the wines are served. In general, the wines are served from the youngest to the oldest. It is recommended to serve white wine before red wine, the lightest before the most tannic. 3- Decanting young wines, decanting old vintages, Decanting consists of separating the wine from the deposit present at the bottom of the bottle, which results from the decomposition of the tannins. Decanting is essentially intended for great wines, in great vintages, characterized by a strong tannic structure, a solid architecture and an opulent structure As for the carafe, it is better to have two kinds: a flared carafe with a wide bottom for allow significant oxygenation. It will be reserved for young, powerful and still closed wines, which have not yet developed their bouquet. A narrower carafe, vertical in shape where the exchange with the air will be less, for wines already at their optimum, old wines, or fresh and fruity white wines. 4- Natural sweet wines and chocolate: the perfect pairing Port, Banyuls, Maury, Rivesaltes… These natural sweet wines form an ideal match with chocolate dishes. 5- Associate cheeses and white wines, because of the tannins of red wine which are not at all suitable for lactose. Small exception: Saint-Nectaire. In all other cases, you do not risk much by associating a white wine and a cheese. Sauvignon and goat cheese, Chardonnay and cooked pressed cheeses, and especially sweet and blue cheese!

At the same time 5 mistakes to avoid so as not to risk ruining your holiday meal are: 1- Champagne and chocolate: enemy brothers. 2- Serve sweet wines for dessert! 3- Start with a port or a pastis! 4- Chamber your wines in advance, be sure to respect the serving temperature, i.e. bubbles around 10° C (about 50F) , whites between 10° C and 14° C depending on the age of the wine, and reds between 15° C and 18°C (about top 65F) ​​depending on their tannin content and vintage. 5- Wanting to impress with a wine that is too original Don’t try new experiences, go straight to the point with friendly wines, capable of satisfying everyone. The same for the meal: stick to tried-and-true pairings that will please everyone.Enjoy the end of year festivities and traditions.

And this is the time of year where they are best and serve all over on the Holidays, I love it ! The oyster is a refined seafood product, generally served alone as a starter. There are different species, different sizes, the color that will go best with oysters is white wine, by far! Champagne and other sparkling wines are a very interesting alternative to still white wines. I recommend rather wines with very little dosage (without added sugar) which will allow the oyster to express itself well in the mouth. It is difficult to propose an agreement between a red wine and oysters, but if you feel like it, don’t hold it back! The Brittany oysters of the famous Belon flat oyster aged three years raised in deep waters with a first refining in Carantec, then a second for two months in the Bélon river near me in Finistére dept 29. It has a very crunchy characteristic nutty flavor and is fleshy. In the mouth, the Belon offers flavors of hazelnut with a slight hint of sugar on the foot. Whether or not to accompany your oyster with lemon is specific to each person. The acidity of the lemon makes it possible to attenuate the iodized side of the oyster, There are different labels: Oysters Label Rouge, oysters under IGP, CCP as well as regional labels. This guarantees the traceability of the product, as well as the conditions in which the shellfish was raised, in compliance with the various European standards. The size of an oyster is defined from 0 to 5 for cupped oysters, and from 000 to 6 for flat oysters. You should know that the smaller the number, the greater the size of the oyster. For the flat oyster, the size is calculated according to the weight for 100 oysters (ex: for size 000, one hundred oysters total 10 or 12kg. For size 6, one hundred oysters total only 2kg). The closer the size is to zero, the more time the oyster has spent at sea. Its taste will be more pronounced, it will be very fleshy and you will have more flesh. To check the freshness of an oyster, simply prick the eyelashes (black part of the flesh) which must automatically retract. If not, it is dead and unfit for consumption. If in doubt, throw the oyster away to avoid any risk. Enjoy it fully without moderation !! webpage:

The denomination “Vin De France” or VDF is taking more and more place alongside wines with protected designation of origin (AOP) and protected geographical indication (IGP). The name “VDF” has succeeded beyond all expectations: 341 million bottles stamped VDF were produced in 2021 in France, including 249 million sold for export. That is 23% of the wine volumes produced in the country and 15% of our exports of still wines. The success of a François Lurton perfectly illustrates the appeal of the “VDF” designation. Owner of the Les Fumées Blanches estate in Gondrin, in the Gers, François Lurton produces a 100% Sauvignon in IGP Côtes de Gascogne. With its 80,000 bottles a year, this producer historically focused on world markets has always struggled to meet demand The wine is still vinified in the Sud-Ouest, but the Sauvignons selected by François Lurton and his teams now come from the whole south of France and even beyond. Stamped VDF, the white wine, orange wine and gray Sauvignon of the Les Fumées Blanches brand are now a worldwide hit: François Lurton sells 10 million bottles a year! Webpage Lurton :

The VDF Vins de France webpage :

And what has become of me, well a fierce loyal customer of the Médoc of France. Been around, visit and tasted on site many of the world best known and some unknown wine areas, but after my mind takes me always to the Médoc. Oh yeah, many call it Bordeaux, but this is just a city, in which many varieties and areas can be call as such. My pinpoint concentration takes me to simply the Médoc.  Oh yes, need to tell you, the best in the world, the rest just tries to imitates. Now let me tell you about two properties that have been with me for many years, tasted, drank, purchase, and aged them some of my favorites of them all.

Bruno-Eugène Borie evolves the Domaine Ducru-Beaucaillou at Saint Julien, Médoc. This is his story. ‘ It is a wine of gourmand, as can be the greatest crus of Bordeaux (Médoc), and gluttony is universal. Behind Ducru, the name of the owner in the 19C, and Beaucaillou, a reference to the thrusted rocks by the Gironde giving its specificity to the terroir, here is a beverage of character, full of aromas and flavors, which does not forget to remain light, aerial like a 1995 (my first bottle of Ducru-Beaucaillou!) , excessively fresh, but very present, vibrant even, a rich, aromatic, fragrant cuvée that caused the American critics to succumb to it. Or the 2005, combining finesse and power, a lesson of balance derived from worthy grapes, it is said, of the most beautiful manuals of Ampélographie, these books dedicated to the study of the vine and often accompanied by superb illustrations. Or a 2009, a 2010, with your eyes closed. The 2011, with the garnet dress, with spicy and floral flavors, is not lacking in charm, and the 2012 is a sublime sweet. 2013, difficult year, shows solar and sympathetic, closer to an Italian sangiovese than a Bordeaux… The last harvest gave very nice cuvées. As such, 2018 is very promising.

The use of only new barrels while looking for the most neutral wood possible, which does not mark. Wood is not a stylistic factor in his domaines. They want a robust wine but not a carpenter. As a general rule, they do not want the new entrants to shape our cuvées. They seek precision, and want to find the purity of the original grape in the wine. For this, the selected grains do not support any disadvantaged. The matter must be impeccable. Hygiene helps to strive towards this, especially when one goes further and further in the extraction. Mr Borie presides over the Executive Board of the company that manages the Pôle Saint-Julien of the family vineyards with Château Ducru-Beaucaillou, Château Lalande-Borie, (this was my contact with the house, back in 1992! )also in Saint-Julien, and Château Ducluzeau, in Listrac.   Fifty pairs of hands follow each other on their bottles. Wine is an addition of manipulations, know-how, hours of sunshine. In the end, it is an accumulation of care and details that make a great cuvee. The place of the machines increased during the arrival of the harvest, in order to improve the sorting. So their yard lines are longer. Here, the most sophisticated technology to refine the work of the vine. They now have several weather stations. Tools allow them to know the thickness of the moisture layer on the sheets, and all this is viewable from a smartphone. They are also looking to use less significant products for the plant and the environment. This means that it is necessary to use treatments with a reduced lifespan-mainly sulphur and copper. A culture which is worth the property of an esteemed certification ISO 14001 high environmental value level 3! Today they are too often in dogma. He would like to go towards more pragmatism and above all towards more benevolence. They must both have faith in man and believe in the genius of science. A form of positivism adapted to contemporary viticulture.They have gone from about 16 000 cases of first cru wine per year (192 000 bottles) to 8 000 now. This corresponds to a general evolution of Bordeaux, to a process that they may have pushed a little further than others. He noted in passing that he is proud and fan of what he see today in their vineyard, where the owners are driven by the pleasure of doing well and protecting their environment, whatever some think.    Because Mr. Borie is one of those rare Médoc growers who live in their vineyards, summer and winter!. Inactivity does not seem to be problematic for the one who was a great international nomad. After having travelled a lot and enjoyed this, in the United States, he consider that we make good wine when you are in its vineyards, in the midst of its teams. Nobody harvest in an airport lounge. You have to agree to make yourself available to nature. Maybe at one time we thought the opposite.

Since 2005, theLa Croix Ducru-Beaucaillou, a former second wine of the property, constitutes a full-fledged Cru, while the Le Petit Caillou, born in 2007, now takes the place of second wine. It is concocted from the lots that were not retained for the other two cuvees. They offer each year a collection of 21 different formats of Ducru-Beaucaillou, customisable. Good to see that 90% of the first wine is destined for export, and Asia accounts for about half of these volumes, with Hong Kong, China, Taiwan, Singapore and Macau on top. The Chinese love to banquet, drink and eat, celebrate the good bottles. The Americans are different, very tasters but perhaps less enjoyers. And those who take the time to take a break in Saint-Julien taste the cuvées in the best conditions. Today ,it is the wife Monique Borie still occupies her apartments in the north wing of the castle, not far from those of her son, Bruno-Eugène.

The official Château Ducru-Beaucaillou:

A century already that the Cordier family owns the Château Talbot. In the adjacent tasting room at the château, a long topped white table gathers a remarkable vintage of every decade for a hundred years: 1919, 1926, 1934, 1945, 1955, 1962, 1975, 1986, 1995, 2005 and the very young 2010. The silence welcomes the bottle of 1919. It is the minimum of respect that one owes to the elders. The wine should not be shaken by too many wrist turns; It must oxidize smoothly. The taster must understand their relationship to the air that wakes them smoothly. The years 1926, 1934 and 1945 followed this first anniversary. Ah, 1945! As if the wine had kept in him the hot breath of the cannons, recalled by deep smoky notes, a minerality that draws on oil and which leaves room for a mouth still ample to the final peppery and ironstone. 1955 is very different, charming, the fruit is riper and dominates the spices by scents of strawberry filled with rose and sandalwood. The mouth is dense, sensual, held by an acid weft, spine of the wines of Château Talbot.

The vintage 1962 follows the 1975, very refined, with an Earth profile, pronounced aromas of pepper and a great dynamism. It is the one that performs best its final, of an astonishing length and elegance. The character of the 1986, (my first bottle of Château Talbot) ,the blood side of the 1996, the musculature of the 2005 and the finesse of the 2010, while juicy and spiced with a beautiful bite at the end of the mouth, are held. If the production techniques used in the past century were very different from those which are today, the wines retain an air of family. The imprint of the terroir gives them a pronounced minerality, an invigorating acid weft, a flax grain and a peppery finale.  Mr Désiré-Nicolas Cordier purchased the fourth Grand Cru Classé de Saint-Julien in 1918. In 1934, then mayor of the town, he organized the “Feast of longevity” in the presence of the President of the French Republic Albert Lebrun. If the longevity celebrated is that of the inhabitants, the diners drank with the centenary vintage 1834. Désiré Cordier, the man and his wife Nancy Bignon-Cordier are today the attentive guardians of Château Talbot, whom they gradually transmit to their three children; Philippine, Marguerite and Gustave, the fifth generation. The succession is assured.

The official Château Talbot:

There you go folks, another wine episode of my belle France! The wines of France that is, superbe, sublime, wonderful, gorgeous, enjoy without moderation but accompanying a meal, family table just perfect. See you in the vineyards of France.

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

November 14, 2022

Aix les Bains !

Several years back while visiting my belle France, took a ride to Annecy. Not so strict on routing took a turn and came upon Aix les Bains, not into thermes but just walk a bit to get a glimpse. Not back since but left a nice impression of what would later be my country, France. I found some older pictures and would like to show it in my blog for the memories of mine and hopefully encourage others to visit Aix Les Bains. Hope you enjoy the post as I.

Aix-les-Bains is located in the Savoie department 73 in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region. Considered one of the oldest cities in Savoy, born from its hot springs, this water city is one of the important French thermal towns. about ten km from Chambery, prefecture of the department, and less than 30 km from Annecy, prefecture of Haute-Savoie(74). It is 83 km from Lyon, regional prefecture and 60 km from Geneva, Located in a corridor between Mont Revard, the first natural rampart of the Bauges massif, to the east and Lac du Bourget, the largest natural lake in France.

Aix-les-Bains is located on the major axis of communication between Chambery and Annecy. The northern branch of the A41 highway/motorway passes by the city, allowing direct access to Annecy then further afield by the continuity of the A40, to the city of Geneva. Two exits (13 and 14) serve the town, one to the south, the other to the north.  Aix-les-Bains is also accessible by train. It was one of the first European towns to host a rail network on its territory, when it was administered by the Dukes of Savoy .Today, the city is connected to Chambery as well as to Annecy and Culoz Aix-les-Bains train station is at boulevard du President-Wilson,and the  Aix-les-Bains-Le Revard station is served by a TGV line, which puts the town about three hours from Paris . The Chambéry–Savoie airport in the town de Voglans, just a few dozen meters from the south shore of Lac du Bourget. 

Some of the things to see here are, me think:

The Notre-Dame Church, Place du Cardinal Garrone. In a Roman-Byzantine style, it was inaugurated in 1899.
The Casino Grand Cercle constitutes a major architectural ensemble in Savoie .The Château de la Roche du Roi is a 20C castle, located on the heights of Aix-les-Bains, built on the side of a hill, the castle dominates a good part of the city and overlooks, among other things, the racecourse and the golf course. It was built in 1900. The Faure Museum was founded in 1949. In the beginning, it was to house the legacy of Doctor Jean Faure. The museum is present in a Genoese-style villa . The current city/town hall of Aix-les-Bains,was originally a residence of Conrad the Pacific, then the former castle of the marquis of Aix from the 15C to the 17C. The oldest part dates from the 12C, the house dates from the end of the 13C. At the end of the 16C the beautiful main staircase was erected with a stone banister to lead to a small chapel on the second floor.

Aix les Bains

Aix les Bains

Aix les Bains

A bit of history I like

Indeed, since antiquity the exploitation of hot springs has never been totally forgotten. We bathed in Aix in the Middle Ages182 and until the end of the eighteenth century, either in the only Roman swimming pool still existing, in the open air, or at the inhabitant’s where we had the thermal water brought by carrier.  It is to the Duke of Chablais, son of King Victor Amédée III, that Aix owes its rebirth, because it was he who, after having tasted the benefits of the springs and finding himself poorly housed there, suggested to the king the construction of a thermal establishment . This was built from 1779 to 1783.  In 1792, the thermal baths were requisitioned by the armies of the Republic (under the French revolution) , who sent wounded soldiers there to convalesce. With the First Empire, hydrotherapy again became important in the spa town. It was during this period that world personalities came to Aix-les-Bains such as the Bonaparte family.  In October 1816, Alphonse de Lamartine‘s first stay in the spa town was one of the founding elements of the Romanticism artistic movement. Back in Aix-les-Bains the following year, he would drown his loneliness by writing the first lines of the poem Le Lac.  The negotiations concerning the independence of Morocco in 1956 took place in Aix-les-Bains.

The City of Aix Les Bains on its heritage :

The Aix Les Bains Rivera des Alpes tourist office on its heritage :

There you go folks, another spot in my world map or rather France’s map. Glad to have found the pictures to give credit to Aix les Bains in my blog; good for the memories of always. Hope you enjoy the post and do visit and tell as I.

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

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