Archive for ‘Food and Wine’

December 1, 2018

Cap Hispania and Batignolles! Paris of course!!!

In my continuing dangerous saga of places to shop and eat in my eternal Paris, I shall bring you to two favorites of many years and still going strong. The time is nice mild weather at 12C and not so cloudy in my neck of the woods Breton as well in Paris. Just a lovely Autumn sequence so far.

We love Spanish food as well, and I mean Spain, so  searching for one I look up Spanish food sections in restaurants and webpages dealing with the subject in France. Here I found one Cap Hispania in the 17éme arrondissement of Paris and went for it. It has been a find ,a jewel, a precious location for all that is good from Spain.

As I look around for a parking on street nearby, I was led past the Pont Cardinet and over the railroad tracks leading to the Gare Saint Lazare and into the Brochart area where I end up parking underground of the Batignolles covered market and voilà another wonderful find. This is Paris, the more you walk, drive it the more you will find wonders!

They have become my staple ever since those 2003-2004 times and up to now when in the city I look up them up and stock up on goodies not well found in my Morbihan Breton. Let me tell you a bit about them and maybe you too will have your find in eternal Paris.

The covered market or Marché couvert des Batignolles, at 96bis Rue Lemercier 17éme of Paris by metro line 13 Brochart as well as bus lines 54 and 74, is a wonderful example of glorious shopping in seldom visited areas of Paris. We go here once in a while and it is our area of dear shopping see below. The market, built on the ground floor of a residential complex of the 1970’s, is undoubtedly one of the most bobos in the capital. Customers often seem to know each other and really feel a neighborhood spirit. There are about fifteen traders and organic product stalls. This market is mainly food-centered with an excellent butcher at reasonably reasonable prices, a well-stocked grocer, Breton terroir products, Mediterranean products, Lebanese, Moroccan, African, a Portuguese rotisserie and a wine cellar. The place, you will have understood, is very popular with the locals. It is open Tuesdays to Fridays from 8h30 to 13h and from 15h30 to 20h, Saturdays from 8h30 to 20h and Sundays from 8h30 to 14h.

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Some webpages to help you find it and enjoy it fully are

City of Paris on the covered market of Batignolles

Tourist office of Paris on the Batignolles market

One of the biggest professionals at the same time wholesaler and retailer in the distribution of Iberian products since 1998.  Cap Hispania, our Spanish grocery store in Paris has approximately 180 references of duly selected savory and sweet gourmet products, including Iberian ham at a price-almost-friendly. The advice is second nature, conversations sometimes stretch, and we leave the arms charged with the latest goodies.

Cap Hispania, it is simply the paradise of lovers of Iberian charcuterie. You can go there to catch a sandwich at lunchtime, to buy ham at retail or wholesale, to fill up with tapas for the evening. Beautiful whole hams are hanging from the ceiling. And not just any of them.. The Serrano arrives directly from the Salamanca region and has been refined 12 to 14 months. The Pata Negra comes from a particular breed of pork, the Iberian pork, and patiently waited more than two years before joining the stalls of Cap Hispania.  When a Bellota, the rolls of hams, it is derived from pigs raised in the open air and exclusively fed to the acorns from autumn to spring. After more than 30 months of refinement, it is particularly tasty and melting.

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My dad at Cap Hispania

The stalls of Cap Hispania also abound with first-choice deli meats, like the lomo, made with pork loin, all kinds of chorizos, or the delicious Cecina de Leon, this meat of salted beef, dried, smoked and then refined . Besides, the Spanish cheeses, less well known, only asking  to be discovered, but do not overlook the Manchego from Castilla La Mancha Don Quijote quarters!. The right side of the store is reserved for the fine grocery section. Cap Hispania has brought quality gourmet products from Spain: Olive oil from Andalusia, Jerez vinegar, canned white tuna from Biscay or anchovies from the Cantabrian coast… this is a good way to revise your geography of Spain!  On the sweet side, one feasts of course of the Turrón (nougats), which some like hard and crunchy (that of Alicante), and that others prefer fondant and tender (that of Jijona), but also of marzipan or polvorones. The common point between all these sweets? The almonds!

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Cap Hispania, 23 rue Jouffroy d’Abbans, 17éme/ Metro line 3  Malsherbes, and  Wagram Open Monday  16h-19h, from Tuesday to Saturday 10h-14h and 16h-19h30. Tel. +33 (0) 1 46 22 11 60.

Official Cap Hispania Spanish groceries deli

Yelp reviews on Cap Hispania from my Blog Roll

And there you go two off the beaten path sights that will make your mouth watered and enjoy the culinary choices of my eternal Paris. After all, is it that one big reason you are here visiting or as me living lol! bon appetit!

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

November 30, 2018

My best 1-2 punch of restaurants in Paris! Gare and Paix!!!

So will go into uncharted waters here as usually just post in a general sense about places to eat in France. However, these two restaurants have a lot of history, mines too! They are my sentimental all time favorites places to drink and eat while in Paris for many years ,and still do stop by when visiting.

My fav in Paris , La Gare, this superb restaurant of the 16éme district or arrondissement of Paris, which was once the train station of Passy- la Muette running on the  Auteuil line and the Petite Ceinture.  It has been totally transformed and it is my favorite spot in Paris for a drink or eating; already taken many visitor friends here including those from defunct travel forum like VT. A wonderdul oasis in Paris in the chic 16 district near the Monet Marmottan museum.just behind it passing the jardin du Ranelagh. Bear in mind it is again under renovation to open later in 2018 see the link below.

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The beautiful staircases whose walls are gilded with gold leaf to access the spectacular room that hosts the restaurant. Giant columns, design glass chandeliers, light canopy, large brass mirrors and 18C wall decor of the Maison Zuber: The place is remarkable. The sensation of grandeur reminds us of the first function of this space an old train station of the Petite Ceinture.

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In a timeless place, come and ask yourself to have a coffee in the summer garden or to dine in the huge restaurant under canopy, extended with a beautiful terrace of 500 m2 of surface and 185 seats. Hallucinating of space, height of ceiling, walls in red brick, this is what makes the interest of this place to the clientele very 16éme-West Parisian!

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When you go down the stairs to get to the quays and now dining room!, the place reveals a huge restaurant of 1 000m2 , revisited in a colonial style with vintage furniture. One has the impression, going down the steps, to be aboard the Titanic and its huge restaurant less thinking of the sinking but rather the train. Chic and refined atmosphere, pretty mural paintings and period columns contribute to the displacement.

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At the bottom of the room, we discover a beautiful terrace in the quiet, which will make your happiness on the days of good weather. Regarding the menu, the restaurant offers French cuisine to the most famous revisited. Located at 19 chaussée de la Muette metro line 9 La Muette out and turn left you see the restaurant ahead of you. Open every day and a delicious all you can eat Brunch on Sundays.

More on this wonderful icon of Paris is on the following webpages as usual to help you plan your trip here…

Official Restaurant La Gare

Tourist office of Paris on La Gare

Yelp for reviews as in my blog roll

Another of my fav places in Paris is the  Cafe de la Paix in the quartier or neighborhood of Chaussée-d’Antin in the 9éme arrondissement or district of Paris. Close to the Opéra Garnier, it is located on the corner of the 5 Place de l’Opéra and the 12 Boulevard des Capucines. . The Café de la Paix opened its doors in 1862. It was then the Cafe restaurant of the Grand Hotel de la Paix. In 1896, film projections are organized. In 2002, the Café de la Paix is renovated.

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It was built in the purest Napoleon III style, on the ground floor of a luxurious Haussmann building, which now houses the InterContinental Paris le Grand Hotel (former Hotel de la Paix, then Grand Hotel). It is one of my previous job in Paris in management and always with fond memories of it, visit now for the old days sake and friends still there.

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The imperialists (emperor) gathered at the Café de la Paix, on the Boulevard des Capucines, which then received the nickname of Boulevard de l’île d’Elba.

One could not choose a more beautiful location, as a meeting place, than the Café de la Paix, in one of the splendid buildings built during the reign of Napoleon III, this property is decorated with a great luxury. Painted ceilings, moldings, elegant columns, superb chandeliers, huge glazes concealing the walls, it is a wonderful palace where everyone can enter. Beside rises the immense mass of the opera; Opposite, on the other side of the boulevard, you will open the Avenue de l’Opéra, which stops at the place du Théâtre-Français, and the Rue de la Paix, built by the leader of the Imperial dynasty. At the end of this road, place Vendôme. Where we can see the column of Austerlitz.. Everything in this neighborhood recalls the memories of the two empires; Instinctively as much as in taste, Napoleon’s friends and supporters will walk there, reminding of the great past and future hopes.

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One sees the Café de la Paix in the cartoon movie The Aristocats.

Again, some webpages to help you plan your trip here are

Official Café de la Paix

Tourist office of Paris on Café de la Paix

Yelp on reviews as in my Blog Roll

And, there you go ,if you come to Paris and want to experience the real Parisian feel in historical surrounding with great company and food, then by all means these two should be in your list. And not to worry about Michelin, these can beat any there in my opinion, there are just too refined for the list….. Cheers

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

November 14, 2018

Thanksgiving France 2018!

So once again another major celebration and out of the USA, and to boot this year won’t be even in France as will be on a trip to Asia during that week. Anyway, this is major and we will do away earlier as usual. It is not a Holiday in France so we usually go the weekend before or after out and on the day at home we had some leftovers or snacks and drinks. But it is mark in our calendar. I love the meaning and the festivities around it always since childhood.

I am talking about Thanksgiving, the big American tradition and traffic jams and airports loaded and even Amstrak trains lol!! The works all in one, but is repeated every year with love and tender family and friends gatherings all over. Here in my belle France, it is not well known but it is celebrated by the American community in major towns where it is available by restaurants or place that have the ingredients to do it. In my neck of the woods of Morbihan there is nothing.

I have done one blog post on it way back, little yes but heck so much abound can’t cover it all, I try ok. Here is the old blog post: Thanksgiving Americana in Paris

As to the Thanksgiving, well in 2018, Thanksgiving falls on Thursday November 22nd (always on the fourth Thursday of November). At this American holiday, it is customary to enjoy a turkey with the family. American expatriates compete with ingenuity to perpetuate the tradition of Thanksgiving abroad. A large number of Parisians as well have now converted and celebrate this Thanksgiving Day with family, friends, home or church.  We do our best to gather the ingredients or go if possible to a place that has setup the meal for the celebration.

A bit of history I like

The first commemoration of Thanksgiving dates back to 1621. One year before that date, precisely on 26 November 1620, the separatist Pilgrim Fathers  landed in the Plymouth area of Massachusetts colony, fleeing the persecution of the bad King of England and the actions of the church in their country. When they arrived in the colony, their survival was quite complicated, as many of them ,more than half ,were attacked by scurvy and died. The survivors were saved only by the intervention of the Wampanoag, a local tribe. They agreed to a bilateral agreement where the native tribe taught visitors new cultures, fishing and hunting, and in return the Pilgrims fathers defended them from their assailants. This agreement bore a great deal of fruit, because in 1621 the first harvest was a very successful one. Governor William Bradford therefore decreed three days of thanksgiving to thank God, the land and the native Indians. It was historically the first Thanksgiving. It was in 1789, on October 3, that it was declared for the first time officially a United States National Day by first President George Washington.

The ingredients have not change much over time. On the table, we find the products of the season crops: corn, green beans ,squash, sweet potatoes, onions, green salad ,spinach , but also,  the cranberries, pecan nuts ham, not forgetting of course the traditional turkey. Many Americans also like to watch the Thanksgiving parade, on television or in town. Big stores in several major cities organize these parades. The best known is Macy’s in New York city which is huge and very famous for its magnificent chariots, huge flying balloons and celebrities.

Over the years while living in Versailles and working in Paris, I have attended many Thanksgiving there and have some of my favorite still going on below as well as some popular new ones not yet tested. Here are the essential addresses in Paris to get into the tradition of Thanksgiving USA!

 Joe Allen,  the oldest American brewery in Paris, opened in 1972, and one of my favorites spots. Since then,it has never ceased to be the home of many American Parisians or Parisians in love with the Big Apple.  At a rate of 50€, the special Thanksgiving menu includes pan-fried wild mushrooms, homemade duck terrine, roast turkey, marinated and grilled tuna steak, pumpkin pie, apple and cranberry crumble with vanilla ice cream.Still located at .30 Rue Pierre Lescot, 1éme. More here:. https://www.joeallenparis.com/

Hard Rock Café Paris , the famous institution invites all American culture fans to enjoy an authentic Thanksgiving dinner. On the menu: corn soup, turkey with cranberries sauce, pecan nut tart… Price: check for latest details, to be at a more festive party ambiance. Located at  14 Boulevard Montmartre, 9éme. More here: https://www.hardrock.com/cafes/paris/

The Harry’s Bar is the oldest American bar in Paris, it has recently celebrated its 100 years. As much to say that the atmosphere will be festive! A special Thanksgiving lunch is served usually need to check it out for 2018.I have come here for drinks and chat only. Usual Thanksgiving meal set up included  Pumpkin soup, club sandwich, cole slaw, pecan pie, brownies, drink and coffee. Located at 5 Rue Daunou, 2éme. More here :  https://www.yelp.com/biz/harrys-new-york-bar-paris-2

Le Drugstore, famous restaurant of the concept-store Publicis on the Avenue des Champs-Elysées, proposes to us on Thursday 22 November 2018. Again not here for the feast but nice place to be in  indeed. To honor this great American celebration, chef Eric Frechon has concocted a special menu for the occasion. On the menu that evening, corn fritters followed by  pumpkin soup  with chestnut chips and roasted hazelnuts to open our appetite. Next is the must-have stuffed farm turkey and roasted in casserole, accompanied by a sweet potato purée with foie gras, all sprinkled with the juice of the roast. The festivities would not be complete without the traditional Pecan Pie that finishes this hearty meal on a sweet note and a bit regressive. To water all this, the chef chose a selection of wines on the notes of a playlist “tribute to US Music” which will pace the atmosphere the time of this special and unique dinner .  At 19h ,60€ without drinks. More here: https://www.publicisdrugstore.com/fr/le-drugstore

And for the day after the feast: Breakfast in America, a very good address for breakfast and  American burgers, American owned.Locations at 17 rue des Écoles, Paris 6éme and at  4, rue Malher, 4éme. More here:  http://breakfast-in-america.com/thanksgiving-2018-reserve-now/?lang=en

Promenade Newyorkais , this is new place never visited but very popular with my Paris American friends nowdays.  The exiled Americans find themselves there… with the Parisians who want to have a good evening!  Located at 44 rue du Louvre,1éme. The Parisian hotel also offers authentic US spirit milkshakes and ice creams: everything to attract girls! And in the early evening, the restaurant is transformed into a bar and the music lounge goes up in fun. A young and trendy place to eat, have a drink  !More here:  https://www.yelp.com/biz/promenade-newyorkais-paris

Verjus , French-American Restaurant famous for its cuisine.  Again newer comer never visited but popular with the American community of Paris. Thanksgiving Dinner from Monday 20th to Friday November 24th. Two services every night.  The Thanksgiving tasting menu is at 68€.  Located at 47 Rue Montpensier, 1éme. More info here:  https://www.verjusparis.com/

The Real McCoy, 49 avenue Bosquet  7éme . One of my first encounters with buying American goodies in Paris way back then… Open every day from 10h to 20h. Turkeys done or not in pre ordering, cakes,  pecan pies, cheesecake etc …This is a small grocery store here for over 25 years. More here: https://www.yelp.fr/biz/the-real-mccoy-paris

La Grande Epicérie de Paris Passy ,16éme _at the 1st Floor (2nd Fl US); you can find small turkeys here on pre orders. Yes my dear late wife Martine purchase small turkeys here very juicy and nice for home cooking. Open Mondays to Saturdays from 8h30 to 21h. More here : https://www.lagrandeepicerie.com/en/rive-droite

Les Viandes du Champs de Mars, 122 Rue Saint-Dominique, 7éme . Butcher shop , open from 7h to 13h and from 16h to 19h30.  You can order your turkey right now and until November 22nd. You can also order a farce (classic or according to your own recipe and the desired ingredients).  A clientele of regulars has trusted Jean-Marie Boédec for years. My dear late wife Martine tried and it is good indeed!     https://www.yelp.com/biz/les-viandes-du-champ-de-mars-paris

Le Lafayette Gourmet , 40, boulevard Hausmann  9éme. Open from Mondays to Saturdays 9h30 to  20h – Night opening on Thursdays to 21h. Very nice stuff here but never purchase turkeys here. More here:. https://haussmann.galerieslafayette.com/en/food-shopping-at-lafayette-gourmet/

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Rachel’s Grocery, 20 rue du Pont aux Choux, 3éme. An American in Paris. Better known for sweets and cheescakes but also has ingredients for Thanksgiving. Also , at  72, quai de Jemmapes, Paris 10éme. More here :  https://www.yelp.com/biz/rachels-grocery-paris

American Church Paris  65 Quai d’Orsay, 7éme. Every year the Church offered persons in the neighborhood the opportunity to meet around a Thanksgiving meal. I have participated with the family here for Halloween as well over the years and visits , very nice place. The ticket for the table are sold on site for 20€ adults and 12€ children. More info here:  https://www.acparis.org/

For the nostalgic of Paris like me, the American grocery store Thanksgiving  was the place to find American products in Paris for yeears…including the Thanksgiving ingredients, however, unfortunately it has closed. It was the spot for the American community to get a piece of Americana while in Paris. It was located in the neighborhood of  Saint-Paul district 4 at  20 Rue Saint-Paul. Just for the memories ok.

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There you go, if in town you now know where to go, and if not, remember these places serve all year around à l’Americaine or Ricains lol! As Americans are known here nicely! Enjoy your Thanksgiving wherever you are and happy family times.

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

November 12, 2018

A bit on the wines of Saint Emilion!

So let me tell you a bit about Bordeaux wines! huh! wait the title says Saint Emilion !!!  Yes, a bit of French international confusion. The whole area around the city of Bordeaux which covers a huge area can be call Bordeaux wines in its genetic form. Then, you have areas that can use their respective names for the better wines according to INAO the French wine regulatory agency in charge of guarding this National heritage indeed! Official INAO webpage in English

I will tell a bit on the Saint Emilion wines (very appropiate for this time of the year) that are on the right bank of the Dordogne river.  The town of Saint Emilion is in the Gironde department 33 in the region of Nouvelle-Aquitaine. The oldest economic entity and very related to wines here is the Jurade , established in 1199 by Jean sans Terre, king of England. There were designated to delegates economic ,political, and judicial power, as well as nobles, and magistrates to guide the general administration of the town that was part of England at the time. In 1948, the winegrowers within the vineyards syndicate/union bring back the jurade in the form of a confrérie(brotherhood)  that becomes the ambassador of the wines of Saint Emilion in all the world. It is composed of 54 juras, it is administered by the Council of the Jurade which has 12 members including the 1st Jurat, the cleric, the great treasurer, the Great Baker, the Churchwarden ,who is the Master of Ceremonies.

Let me go now into what is happening there now, and I must confess I am a Bordeaux specialist if can say such a word with humility. I am diplomé on the wines of France and Spain, and have visited major houses in all major wine areas of the world, including some now never heard of like Yugoslavian and Cuban wines!  However, the Saint Emilion wines are not my favorite due to their over abundance of the Merlot (79%); even if also use the Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc (Bouchet here). Also, in minority of Malbec, petit Verdot and Carménère. The official site for the appellation is here: Official Wines of Saint Emilion

A bit on the explanation of Saint Emilion. It is dedicated to red wines, the vineyard of Saint-Émilion extends over 5200 hectares around the village of the same name, located some 40 km northeast of Bordeaux, on the right bank of the Dordogne river. The Saint-Émilion appellation is divided into two quality levels: the Saint-Émilions “Grand Cru” and the Simple Saint-Émilions. The latter can be produced throughout the territory of the appellation. They are simply subject to a quality label that is less demanding than the wines that aspire to the term “Grand cru”. In general, they are simpler wines and easier to access in their youth.   The term “Grand Cru” is considered to be a full-fledged appellation. The conditions for getting it are more stringent. Very heterogeneous in its production.

The ranking of Saint-Émilion was born a century after the historical ranking of the Médoc wines, in 1955. This nomenclature consists of three categories: first Grands crus classified “A”, first grands crus classified “B” and grands Crus classified. Contrary to the ranking of 1855, the Saint-Émilion is revisable every ten years, last in 2012 so next in 2022.

The ranking as of now are (in black those tasted by yours truly):  Premier Grand Cru Classé A : Château  ANGELUS ,Château AUSONE ,Château CHEVAL-BLANC, and Château PAVIE .

Premier Grand Cru Classé B : Château BEAUSÉJOUR (DUFFAU-LAGARROSSE) , Château BEAU-SÉJOUR BÉCOT,Château BELAIR-MONANGE,Château CANON,Château CANON-LA-GAFFELIÈRE ,Château FIGEAC ,Clos FOURTET ,Château LA GAFFELIÈRE ,Château LARCIS-DUCASSE ,Château LA MONDOTTE,Château PAVIE-MACQUIN,Château TROPLONG-MONDOT ,Château TROTTEVIELLE, and Château VALANDRAUD

Grand cru classé :
Château L’ARROSÉE Château BALESTARD-LA-TONNELLE   Château BARDE-HAUT ,Château BELLEFONT-BELCIER Château BELLEVUE Château BERLIQUET ,Château CADET-BON Château CAPDEMOURLIN Château LE CHÂTELET ,Château CLOS DE SARPE ,Château LA CLOTTE ,,Château LA COMMANDERIE Château CORBIN Château CÔTE DE BALEAU  ,Château LA COUSPAUDE   Château COUVENT DES JACOBINS Château DASSAULT,Château DESTIEUX,,Château LA DOMINIQUE ,Château FAUGÈRES Château FAURIE DE SOUCHARD,,Château DE FERRAND ,Château FLEUR-CARDINALE Château LA FLEUR MORANGE,Château FOMBRAUGE ,Château FONPLÉGADE ,Château FONROQUE ,Château FRANC-MAYNE ,Château GRAND CORBIN,Château GRAND CORBIN-DESPAGNE,Château GRAND-MAYNE,Château LES GRANDES MURAILLES,Château GRAND-PONTET ,Château GUADET, Château HAUT-SARPE ,Clos des JACOBINS ,Château JEAN FAURE ,Château LANIOTE ,Château LARMANDE,Château LAROQUE,Château LAROZE, Clos la MADELEINE
Château LA MARZELLE Château MONBOUSQUET; Château MOULIN DU CADET
Clos de L’ORATOIRE,Château PAVIE-DECESSE,Château PEBY-FAUGÈRES Château PETIT-FAURIE-DE-SOUTARD ,Château de PRESSAC , Château LE PRIEURÉ ,Château QUINAULT L’ENCLOS ,Château RIPEAU ;Château ROCHEBELLE Château SAINT-GEORGES-CÔTE-PAVIE,Clos SAINT-MARTIN,Château SANSONNET ,Château La SERRE ,Château SOUTARD
Château TERTRE-DAUGAY ,Château LA TOUR-FIGEAC ,Château VILLEMAURINE
Château YON-FIGEAC.

And what is going on in the vineyards of France lately and especially in Saint Emilion, well many buys and sells going on and even by foreigners. Therefore, watch out the landscape of French wines are blending well to the world; after all the world simply copy our grapes, production methods, vinification, and marketing lol!

Olivier Decelle and his wife, Anne. This leader of the frozen supermarkets Picard fell into the wine into his 40’s. He first uncovers Maury, in the Pyrénées-Orientales, where he buys the mythical Mas Amiel, with his sweet wines that sell as well as two-seater coffins… before falling under the spell of Jean Faure, a neighboring Cheval Blanc and La Dominique , located at a stream of grape cluster from Pétrus. They purchase them in 2004 and,2006.

Peter Kwok, who buys properties like we put on beads. By becoming the owner of Château Bellefont-Belcier at the end of 2017, he is even the only Hong Kong businessman to head a cru classé of Saint-Emilion.   His first purchase dates from 1997 with the Château Haut-Brisson in Saint-Emilion. Then his acquisitions accelerated in 2012 with the Château La Tache (Pomerol) and the Château Tour Saint Christophe . Then, in 2015, the Château Tourans , and finally in 2016 Le Château le Rey (Castillon-Côtes-de-Bordeaux).

Denise and Stephen Adams also gave in to the sirens of the right bank by becoming owners in 2004 of the Château Fonplégade, they who also own the Château l’Enclos (Pomerol) and a vineyard in the Napa Valley.

Stephan von Neipperg, born of the nobility of the Holy Roman Empire, resides in Saint-Emilion since 1983 to manage its vineyard domains like Château Canon la Gaffelière, la Mondotte, Château d’Aiguilhe, Clos de l’Oratoire.etc .

Jean-François Quenin, former executive officer of Darty, at the head of a small jackpot following an LBO on the company, arrives in the Libourne with his wife, Dominique, from the region. In 1994, they first bought Pavillon Bel-Air, in Lalande-de-Pomerol, before buying the Château de Pressac in 1997. Even Jean-François Quenin still end up as president of the Saint-Emilion Wine Council.

Gérard Perse, in 1993, this self-taught businessman, head of four supermarkets and a hyper in the Parisian region, wine enthusiast, decides to buy the Château Montbousquet. The shocker was in 1998 when he was offered the Château Pavie ,   a mythical domain but somewhat neglected by its owners. To ensure its management, he moved permanently to Saint-Emilion with his wife and daughter. He has, in the meantime, added to his hunting table Pavie-Decesse, Bellevue-Mondotte and Le Clos-Lunelle.

Today, on a parcel of half a hectare downgraded from their Château La Gaffelière, the first Grand Cru classified B of the AOC Saint-Emilion, the Malet Roquefort family pays homage to the perfect square promoted by the poet. Fombrauge, the largest domain among the classified crus of the appellation with its 58.7 hectares of vineyards while the average of the prestigious properties on the AOC is close to 8 hectares.

Bérangère de Malet Roquefort-Petgesun is preparing long on a building with ticketing, cloakroom, shop, 3d projection room to share this archaeological treasure with the public. An ambitious project that would be part of the valorisation of the Domaine de Gaffelière undertaken for fifteen years.

It is Alain Vauthier , Château Canon and its vineyards enclosed with walls that bask in the sunset: 34 hectares of a single holding, 75% of Merlot, 25% of cabernet, roots anchored in the rock. It is the plateau pure and hard. It is the limestone that brings freshness, minerality and tension to wines of great sophistication. He has been dubbed “El Gaucho de Saint-Emilion” since his return from Argentina where he spent ten years commissioned by Pierre Lurton to launch in orbit Cheval des Andes. A marriage between the prestigious first Cru classé A of Saint-Emilion and Terrazas de los Andes, owned by Moët-Hennessy. A success for the handsome of the vineyards then recruited by the House Chanel to direct Château Canon and Château Berliquet, another grand Cru of the AOC. While watching over Rauzan-Ségla in Margaux.

Jean-Valmy Nicolas, co-manager of the Château Conseillante, emblematic family property of 12 hectares directly adjacent to Pétrus on the appellation Pomerol. Its has the peculiarity to be managed for fifteen years by a family council on the mode of an PME (small company legal setup in France) with reporting, newsletter, meeting every four months, decisions explained and taken together attests its president, himself finance person in Paris. A professionalism doubled in a sense of the family business which it is worth to have been called by Marie-France Manoncourt and her four daughters at the bedside of Château Figeac, first Grand Cru classified as early as 1955 of the AOC Saint-Émilion in their family since 1892. Figeac is one of the historic properties of Saint-Emilion. Fifty-four hectares of which 41 devoted to the vineyard planted in large part of Cabernet on three hills of alluvial and serious sand. But Figeac these are also 13 hectares of a Centennial Park considered as a room of the house by Blandine and Hortense Manoncourt.

Jean-Luc Thunevin, one of the most atypical personalities of the AOC. While he knew nothing about the vineyard, he went into debt in 1989 to 100% to buy 60 ares in a Valley which he baptized Château Valandraud. Val for Valley, Andraud in honor of his wife, Murielle Andraud. Today, Château Valandraud is 8.88 hectares. Thunevin lives in Saint-Emilion, a village he adores. He owns his office, his house, I don’t know how many wine shops there.

In five years, 25% of the 82 Crus Classés from Saint-Emilion have changed hands. Nearly 180 million euros were reported to have been disbursed in July 2017 by the Scor Reinsurance Group for Château Troplong-Mondot, a first classified grand Cru.!

See the overall side on Bordeaux wines about Saint Emilion in English: Official Bordeaux wines on Saint Emilion

And yes, Saint Emilion is a town with its own city /town hall as here: City of Saint Emilion on its wines

Enjoy Bordeaux, simply the best, the one all others still follow and try to imitate. However, take a look at the niche in Saint Emilion. Cheers

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

 

 

 

October 26, 2018

More wine news from France!

And once again I gather some efforts to write about one of my favorite hobbies yet seldom write on it. This is wines of course, if you read my blog you know about my qualifications and experiences so rather than repeat let me tell you the latest wine news from France! Simply the best ::) End of discussion!

Well is the 2018 harvest coming along? From my ins to the wine growing region near me in the Loire the 2018 should be very good and now from the experts of my fav Bordeaux it is confirmed. Bordeaux had another great vintage in 2018 – at least, those who managed to ward off the mildew did.

Jean-Basile Roland of Château Rauzan-Ségla says, “it was impossible to run from plot to plot because of the configuration of our plots. But we reduced the impact. It could have been worse. We did a drastic crop reduction in August, and we have lower volume, but we’re very, very happy with the quality and with our selection in the vineyard.

In Pessac-Léognan,Château Malartic-Lagraviére, not organic but with some organic and biodynamic plots, had little damage. “They’re small plots, two and four hectares,” says Jean-Jacques Bonnie.

At Château Grand-Puy-Lacoste in Pauillac, Emmeline Borie says “we had no mildew. Somebody came looking for it, and found just one berry in the vineyard with mildew.”

Philippe Casteja of the Domaines of Borie-Manoux says that for some people, “le pont” caused problems. The pont is the bridge to “le weekend”, taking it easy on Fridays, in other words. “There would be three days dry, then three days rain. If you were not very careful and on the spot, you had problems. It’s a matter of the politics in each estate.”

But the good news is that the wines in the vats are looking good.  Sauternes is still being picked, and the botrytis is spreading nicely. There was some evaporation of water from the grapes before the botrytis set in, reports Fabrice Dubordieu of Château Doisy-Daëne, and hail hit parts of Sauternes but not Barsac; he’s expecting a good year.

At Domaine de Chevalier, M. Bernard likes the look of his Cabernet Sauvignon, “It was the driest September for the last 60 years”, he says. “To say so early that this will be one of the best vintages in Bordeaux; but we are sure. Sometimes we have some doubt, but this year we are quite sure.” Generally the quantity is good, too, he says, in spite of the worst that mildew and hail could do.

at Château Rauzan-Ségla, M Roland says “the Merlot is splendid, and the Petit Verdot amazing; the first Cabernet Sauvignon from the vats is quite impressive.” M Borie of Château Grand Puy Lacoste adds that “the quality of ’18 is crazy”.

And you know who these names are don’t you!

A surprise, do not like it but it is doing great marketing and coming up very nicely here in France, especially those that shop in supermarket for wine, which I don’t.

Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte: Today, the Union of Cooperatives located in Chouilly (Marne) Associates 4 500 winegrowers for a surface of 2 100 hectares and 10.4 million of bottles produced. Which puts the mark, in terms of volume, just behind Moët & Chandon and Veuve Clicquot.

Today, 40% of our volumes are destined for the international market. They would like to achieve parity with the French market, i.e. 6 million bottles sold in France and 6 million elsewhere, and that’s within five years.  They have great margins of progress in the United States, where they are imported and distributed by the group Ste Michelle. They benefit from its network. In addition, they have signed a three-year partnership with the Canadian company Cirque du Soleil last May. We are now their official supplier in the US and Canada.

They are already the preferred brand of the French, as confirmed by several studies carried out by the Nielsen group.

And the complexities of Burgundy continues.

Nothing so surprising about these Cistercian lands overlooking the three villages of Aloxe-Corton, Ladoix-Serrigny and Pernand-Vergelesses, in Côte-d’Or. The 66 hectares planted with ash trees, beech, oak and chestnut trees culminate at 388 meters and style one of the most famous wine-growing hills in the world, whose flanks include 167 hectares of vineyards classified as Grands Crus, from which are derived Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from the Corton and Corton-Charlemagne appellations.

Among the many owners, the Maison Louis Latour alone has about twenty hectares, a continent on the scale of Burgundy. Aubert de Villaine, also co-owner of the Domaine de la Romanée-Conti in Vosne-Romanée, has invested heavily in recent years, with three parcels and a closing contract, for a total of about 6 hectares. The Burgundian family Méo-Camuzet is also present today in Corton, like the Freys who bought the château of Corton-Andre, renamed Corton C, Patrick Landanger of the Domaine Pousse d’Or and others. Thus, 20% of the Corton-Charlemagne appellation has changed hands over the last twenty years.

The Hill’s wine rating is at its highest, and the price of the land rises to heaven. In a generation, the value of the land has quintupled, however, compared to the Côte de Nuits, almost untouchable, the hill of Corton proves to be an excellent quality-price ratio for investors. This situation makes the premises very sensitive to new transactions that are emerging.

Like the climate, the territory becomes a quasi-philosophical concept when the Burgundians take ownership of it. Burgundy is a very fragmented region. Subjects of biodiversity cannot be apprehended in any other way than collectively. The environment needs to be managed in common. That is how they have been able to fight land erosion. This is also how they distributed to everyone honey plants and reimplanted hives

In other words, some accuse the Latour and Villaine of wanting to freeze the hill of Corton for the benefit of the historic owners who “play the Rent”. Burgundy cannot be frozen because it is an economic entity that lives, makes wine and sells it. The idea is not to freeze, but to evolve within the framework of a tradition. Of course, they are not going to evolve from a geographical point of view because they are stuck between the Morvan and the Saône plain. But they are progressing in the know-how, in technological knowledge, in Biodynamics.   ”

The hill of Corton in figures: 1 000 hectares of which 550 ha of Vine and 167 ha of Grands Crus in the name of Corton and Corton-Charlemagne.   3 communes Aloxe-Corton, Pernand-Vergelesses and Ladoix-Serrigny share the hill. 2015 year of the inscription of Corton Hill on the Unesco heritage list.

Well not really wine news but indirectly it is, the tourist business in France. Record revenues on tourism for France 2018 it will  be more than the record in 2014 of 54B euros. According to the Bank of France (Banque de France). For the 12 months running ending Aug 2018 France had already 56,8B euros. All the main 6 country visitors had an increase in revenues with the British on top with 1,9B and then the Belgians Japan is in 10th place just behind China. The USA is in 4th place without telling the amount. On the contrary, French vacationing outside total 39,5B euros as a whole worldwide.

Among the great villages of the Côte de Nuits, Morey-Saint-Denis is undoubtedly the most unknown or even the most misunderstood of the wine aficionados. The story explains much of this disaffection: until the 1960’s, the wines of Morey-Saint-Denis were bought by the traders of Côte de Nuit and Beaune to assemble them with wines of Chambolle-Musigny or Gevrey-Chambertin, better known and easier to market.

Another significant element, the absence in the village of Morey-Saint-Denis of large historical family property, pioneer of bottling at the Morey-Saint-Denis estates has taken on its neighbors a delay of notoriety that the town still behind .

All of these considerations deserve to be reviewed. Modest in area with 133.53 hectares of vines, the name of Morey-Saint-Denis is not lacking in advantages thanks to five Grands crus: Clos de Tart, Clos de la Roche, (which has added its names to that of the town), Clos des Lambrays, and Bonnes-Mares, mainly located on Chambolle-Musigny, but a small part of it is included in Morey-Saint-Denis. These five Grands Crus pass through the town, from the south to the north, glorious succession of exceptional terroirs in the middle of the hill.Therefore, try them more and you will be delighted.

And here is a map to show you where Morey Saint Denis is in Burgundy, from LRVDF

Morey Saint Denis

Morey saint denis LARVF credit

The French vineyards  will produce even more than expected, confirming  2018 as a good vintage, with a production up 27% compared to the catastrophic harvest of 2017, according to figures revised by the Ministry of Agriculture. With an estimate of 46.7 million hectolitres (against an estimate of 46.1 million at the end of August), the services of Agreste, the department’s statistical body, even consider that production 2018 should be 6% higher than the five year average ,as told to the Press by the specialist wine Council of FranceAgriMer. The Department’s Services have revised the estimates upwards from the sunshine and have also better estimated the losses related to downy mildew and drought, there have been strong attacks of downy mildew, with very heterogeneous consequences.

If vineyards such as Champagne or Burgundy-Beaujolais seem to be able to count on remarkable yields (respectively + 39% and + 20% compared to the average of previous years), the basins of Languedoc-Roussillon (-2%), Southeast (-11%) and Corsica (-5%) have, as announced in the first estimates, all experienced a setback compared to the average of the last five years.

In Bordeaux, although some areas have been severely affected by hail and downy mildew, harvesters have regained normal production levels, an increase of 9% from the average including the nightmarish harvest of 2017. On the stock side and in particular the VCI (individual complementary volumes), intended to help producers in the bad years, customs have unsurprisingly unveiled figures in sharp decline,  a fairly logical evolution compared to the disappointing harvest of 2017 , the most modest of the post-war. In the aggregate, stocks destined for trade and production, at 47.8 million hectolitres, fall by 11%. The VCI’s fell by almost 70%, but will skyrocket in some vineyards after this year’s beautiful harvest. They were able to support French exports, which remained in volume (+ 1.6% to 14,680,000 hectolitres) from August 2017 to July 2018 and even experienced a sustained increase in value to + 6.3%, reaching record turnover over the period of 9.35 billion euros!

The  bio-driving of Château Lafon-Rochet has stopped. They made the decision in February of this year according to Basile Tesseron, head of the property at Saint-Estèphe since 2007, operates a turn at 180 degrees for the 41 hectares of the family estate. The bio is not sustainable in Bordeaux today according to him. Copper treatments leave residues in soils that do not disappear, the multiplication of passages leads to over-consumption of fuel for machine gears that wear out much faster, which generates a grey energy, explains him. We must take into account the globality of the elements and find other solutions, such as accept the mushrooms we are fighting today and a certain rate of harvest loss. This is the price to pay to leave a sustainable world to our children.

The city of Dijon, a stage privileged by many Chinese tourists travelling between Paris and Geneva, aims to become a destination in its own right for these wealthy visitors, betting on its gastronomy and the famous wines of Burgundy. The entry door of the route of the Grands Crus of Burgundy, Dijon put on the Chinese tourists. The city benefits from a double inscription by UNESCO, for the “gastronomic meals of the French” and for its “climates” (name given to the terroirs in Burgundy). It will inaugurate in 2020 an international city of gastronomy.

In Dijon in 2017, Chinese visitors represented the first foreign nationality and totaled almost 95,000 hotel nights out of a total of 3.4 million accounted for by INSEE (French govt. statistical office) throughout the French territory. The capital of Burgundy receives some 2 million tourists a year and is ranked ninth city of France in the number of hotel nights for international visitors. This summer they have had a 20% increase in Asian tourism including Chinese in Dijon , and these visitors are increasingly a high-end clientele, seeking cultural offers and authentic experiences related to gastronomy and wine.

A promotional program designed to conquer a high-end Chinese clientele, through the strengthening of links with Chinese tourism professionals as well as campaigns on social networks. The young generation of Chinese travelers  are looking for different experiences. They also spend more and more on gastronomy and wines, and less in luxury brands and shopping. Some 2.2 million Chinese tourists are expected in 2018 in France. Their attendance had jumped 19% last year, after a gap following the terror attacks of 2015. The average Chinese spending basket per stay (excluding transport) is evaluated by the Banque de France (Bank of France) at 1,647 euros per visitor.

The Reds look beautiful in silky tannins, aromatic whites and drinkable, the  2018 vintage is something to delight the winegrowers of the northern Rhone Valley even if they had to juggle the spring rains and the Summer heatwave. In 2018, the winegrowers of the North Rhone are happy  with volumes on whites and phenolic maturity arrived faster with fine balances. It cannot be denied that the situation was difficult until the beginning of June with the rains that caused a high pressure of downy mildew but contained thanks to the always vented and airy hillsides. The risks are of course stronger in bio, hence the importance of preventive treatments. The beautiful weather on the changes climats and until the harvest was particularly pleasant for the cellar as well as for the harvesters. It’s a dream vintage that allowed them to choose the right moment for each parcel without the need for arbitration, which rarely happens. This will not necessarily be a very long-guarded wine, but it will take at least 15 years.

On the Reds, they climbed to 13.5-15 ° on some vats, which had not happened since more than 20 years except in 2003. The acidity is low but not catastrophic with silky tannins and no aromas burned as in 2003. The big harvest allowed to avoid overconcentration and to keep the typicality on blackcurrants, gooseberry and fresh fruits with a nice finesse of tannins even if this year it will still have a southern style. Finally, the vine, especially when it is not totally weeded, is resistant to excessive heat, which would not have been the case 10-15 years ago.

The harvest took place from August 28 to September 22  without discontinuing and under an intense sun and homogeneity of maturity, on all the northern appellations, has forced to harvest all at once, the Crozes-Hermitage but also the Côte-Rôti, the Saint Joseph and the Hermitage. Of course, it was the viogniers on Condrieu and the marsannes that were the priority. The parcels of La Landonne in the  Côte-Rôti, and Les Bessards in Hermitage were picked on the same day of Sept 13th with a very good maturity and natural degrees of around  14 °. Everywhere, the acidity is weak, but not a major concern. On the occasion of the first tastings, the quality of this vintage 2018 is remarkable with a tannic frame at the same time dense and velvety and a beautiful sucrose.

One example from one of my fav producer over the years.  Christelle Accosta, technical director and Clément Bartyschi, cellarmaster of Maison Chapoutier:

“We accumulate the beautiful vintages since 2015 and 2018 will be very pretty despite a complicated and intense start of the season to fight against the fungal pressure. But we passed through downy mildew, except for a few small impacts on St. Péray. The plots in altitude of Cornas and Côte Rôti will give exceptional qualities and more homogeneous, which is not always the case contrary to the always regular Hermitage. Saint Joseph should produce full maturity wines with pretty balances. For Crozes-Hermitage, it was necessary to know how to harvest at the right time especially in the plain where the degrees are quickly rising after the rains of September. It will be a beautiful year at Syrah with wines flourished with pretty silky tannins and without hardness.”

There you go from the world of wines and yours truly with the cooperation of my LRVDF magazine, and official government sources as above.

And remember, happy travels , good health, and many cheers to all!!! As well as En Vino Veritas!

 

 

 

October 5, 2018

My new hotel / restaurant finds of Mexico!

And on a rainy cloudy day in Mexico city I started this post from my hotel room in Insurgentes Sur. I want to tell you at my latest adventures on the lands of CDMX but rather than mix with views of other places will indulge on a more mundane tour of hotels and restaurants in CDMX or Mexico City. And see my other posts on my latest trip to Mexico city and Merida.

I have to say I came here from Nantes airport, than Paris CDG than Mexico Benito Juarez airport and then a private ride to my hotel  ,the City Express Insurgentes Sur next to the wonderful Teatro Insurgentes. I am back from a glorious (again) 11 days in Mexico! Coming from 30C at Merida to 13C here was a big change indeed. If interested in the theater that had no time to see on this trip, info in Spanish is here,now playing hello Dolly! Program at Teatro Insurgentes

mexico

mexico

I will try to break down the trip into parts, starting with putting together the Hotels and Restaurant I patronised on the trip ,except the part in Merida where no hotel, I stayed with family living there for several years.

Like I said, the trip after cancelling my flight thru Amsterdam, I was put in a flight on Aeromexico from Paris to Mexico City. This was done same day and just an hour different. I arrived same day in Mexico. Initially went straight to my first hotel the City Express Plus at Insurgentes Sur and Mercaderes streets.  In addition to been across the street from the wonderful Teatro Insurgentes, this one has restaurants next to it and a nearby great supermarket LaComer (Comercial Mexicana) with great stuff to buy of great quality price ratio. More here: City Express Plus Hotel Insurgentes

As I was visiting business clients and needed out, when back in the city at the before mentioned hotel was booked so got me into the nearby City Express Patio Universidad at Av. Popocatépetl 546, and it was another property that I rented on previous trip too. This one is closed basically across the street from Shopping center Plaza Universidad and has plenty of stores and restaurant right on the same building as the hotel as well. More here: City Express Plus Hotel Av. Popocatépetl

mexico

Finally, the initial hotel was available and as closer to the things I needed to do, change back to City Express Plus at Insurgentes Sur lol!!! The above hotels are nice, centrally located to nice areas and shopping eating etc, the only drawback, the storage closet space is very small and for visiting on leisure might be a disadvantage. This was just about the hotels tasted this time here; the rest is on Restaurants.

Well , there is so much choice difficult to tell just a few but here they are, the restaurants!

I had a wonderful breakfast leaving Merida with my cousin, and it was just like the old days in America. IHOP is tops and you should try them anywhere! I had the sausage omelette, toasted bread, pancakes nature with strawberry sauce just wonderful. More here: IHOP Altabrisas Merida

 

We had wonderful drinks with nice modelo negra beer at Distrito Gourmet Bar upper level of La Isla shopping in Merida. Cold ones and relaxed ambiance while watching American football, and baseball at the same time on separate screens TV’s. Here is more on it! Distrito Gourmet at La Isla Shopping

Merida

While at it, we started actually at street level of La Isla shopping center and try some pints at McCarthy’s Irish Pub with some fries on cheddar cheese delicious, only we needed to go as the electricity went out lol! More here: McCarthy’s Irish Pub at La Isla shopping ctr

merida

merida

While indulging on the nice beers of the District Gourmet above, we ordered paella from the Tasca Brava just across and it was rather nice dish with good portions and wonderful views and company of my cousins. So new not yet in the directory but is there alright. More here: Tasca Brava not on directory of La Isla

merida

Back in Mexico city , I like the simple pleasant friendly nice typical local food of the VIPS cafeteria chain, the one at Insurgentes Sur 1581 and Mercaderes st is very nice indeed. I ate there several times lunch and dinner. More here: VIPS insurgente sur

And the site above can take you to the VIPS Polanco as well across from Plaza Polanco, where more local goodies were taken in, including the traditional chili en nogada shown. Enjoy it.

Moving right alone… a nice oldie but good that I just had no time but took a picture anyway to remind of last time believe did not take ,this is the Wing Stop Sports in Insurgentes Sur 2375. More here: Wing Stop Sports at Insurgentes Sur

mexico

i had to try one of all time favorite and my hangout when visiting the USA, this one is in Mexico City at the airport terminal 1 lol! great nachos and bohemia oscura (dark) beer as well as mashed potatoes chili’s . Oh yes the chain is Chili’s of course. More here: Chili’s Mexico

And we arrive at some dandy find, The Gran Leon de Oro restaurant on calle Mercaderes off Insurgentes Sur is wonderful, very business like and refine, service superb and the food delicious, great tacos con lechon (roast pig) and Victoria beer. More at El Gran Leon de Oro on Yelp

And I had to have some old world taste while in Mexico, yes the choices are unlimited as I told you earlier. I had a couple one lunch and one dinner at the Le Pain Quotidien Belgian chain at Insurgentes Sur.  The Roast Beef platter and a Bohemia oscura beer did the trick as well as tartines later on;; more here:  Le Pain Quotidien at Insurgentes Sur

Next I went back to the Americas with the popular Italian food chain restaurants of the Olive Garden in the CC Patio Universidad. Nice pepperoni pizza my all time favorite were indulge here with a nice XX Dos Equis beer/ More here: Olive Garden at Patio Universidad

I did tried one cafeteria chain dear to me as they were once customers of my company on electronics ,the days I used to come to Mexico almost every month for years. This time went for lunch at the Centro Insurgentes Sanborn’s cafeteria.  Nice local dish and beer that I do not even recall now lol!!! bear with me pleasee! At Avenida de los Insurgentes Sur 1605 .More on the Sanborns here: Sanborns in centro insurgentes

And I end this post with one of my all time favorites in the USA, Spain and Mexico, a chain but so many good memories with friends and family, this is TGIF or Thanks God is Friday restaurant chain. At the Patio Universidad shopping center there is a nice one with full of screen tv’s showing sporting events. A nice glazed burger and a 2X1 Corona beer special did the trick this time! More here: TGIF at Patio Universidad

 

I hope you enjoy my latest culinary hunts in Mexico lindo y querido, and do try the different cuisines here National and International, lot of fun,and if with company much better. Until next time.

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

 

September 20, 2018

The wines of Île de France region,Paris!

So I am back of a luscious subject for me wines.  Not to repeat myself if you have been reading my posts in my blog you know the time and diplomas I have on the subject over the years and still going strong. adg.

However, who in the right mind will talk about the wines of the Paris region! ïle de France! Well, me ::) ; I will try to give you a brief introduction as there is tastings coming up and I do had drank the ones from Suresnes ,not bad at all.

The vineyards in the region of Île de France:

From the arrival of the Romans to the great decline of the Paris region (Francilienne) vine at the end of the 19C, it was even, at the end of the 18C, the largest French vineyard!  Imagine: In 1789, 45 000 ha grown. At the end of the Middle Ages, we talked about the “wine belt” of the capital!  King Charles VII even paid the balance of his army thanks to the vines of what is now the petite couronne (small crown zone closest to Paris). In fact, we find it very early at the table of kings. In the 12C, for example, we served wine from Argenteuil (Val-d’oise) and Bagneux (Hauts-de-Seine) to the sovereign. It is necessary to realise that the Ile-de-France, it is fifteen centuries of history of remarkable wines.

It was at the end of the 18C. The decline begins in the 19C. What happened?

It is the combination of several factors. Historically, the region produced a lot of white wines and red light (Reds whose color draws towards rosé). In the 19C, for commercial reasons, we started planting grapes producing a lot but of poor quality. To sum up, we have replaced honest quality white wine with the big red stain. At the same time, the development of transport, by the river and then by the train, brought to the Parisian region wines that were better and not more expensive. Vine diseases and urban growth have done the rest. In 1920, there were practically no winegrowers in Ile-de-France. Source the book: (Histoire du grand vignoble d’Ile-de-France, de la Gaule à nos jours) History of the Great vineyard of Ile-de-France, from Gaul to the present day. (Printing press of Valmy). For those who can read French, the book can be purchase here: Vineyards of France books

The brotherhoods (confreries) will clash in Bagneux on October 20, 2018 at the 14th symposium of the vineyards of Ile-de-France, in Bagneux (Hauts-de-Seine 92). In competition, the vintages 2016 and 2017. More here:  Brotherhoods of winegrowers in Ile de France

Let me tell you about some that will be there and the event.

The contest of the wines of Ile-de-France and the Oise organized by Le Parisien newspaper has delivered its verdict.  The blind tasting started with the coffee early  and ended with that of the aperitif. Between the two marched fourteen nectars of Ile-de-France and the Oise sifted through a jury. The methodology of the operation organized in the La Canteen du Troquet, the bistronomique table of Christian Etchebest in Dupleix ,15éme arrondissement of Paris. More here: La Canteen du Troquet at Dupleix

In order to determine which were the two best wines of Ile-de-France, it was done in collaboration with the magazine La Revue du Vin de France. (see below blogroll for link). The start was with the whites, the majority in the selection. By 12h40, it’s a start for the Reds as there are fewer of them.

The white wine of Suresnes and the red wine of the Coteaux de Saint-Prix were the two wines to have been selected by the jury as winners.

But Saint-Prix (Val-d’Oise 95) does not have to blush: The coup de coeur of the jurors addressed to this Cuvée 2016 100% Pinot noir is well at the level of its white counterpart. It has a pink tile dress , grilled notes, a side cooked fruit, a light red that one can appreciate fresh, almost like a rosé. More here: Saint Prix history of vineyards

The winery of Suresnes (Hauts de Seine 92) produces 4000 bottles per year. From the rows of vineyards, and the view over Paris. A cuvée 2016 from Suresnes, a white compose of 85% Chardonnay and 15% sauvignon. You really feel the fruit, it has a slightly granular side that gives it a taste of coming back according to the jurors. And the wine I am most familiar with as tasted over several years and worked in the town. More info here:  Association du Clos du Pas Saint-Maurice 4, rue du Pas Saint-Maurice Tél.. : 01 42 04 96 75 / 01 40 99 13 17/mob  06 72 00 11 16. Webpage :  Wines of Suresnes

Suresnes

Rueil 2017 (sauvignon). Aromatic but monolithic nose, with a very high sulfur dose, we have a little grapefruit,. It’s okay. It deserves the average. The identity of the grape is not found.  More here: Rueil wines of Buzenval

Bagneux 2017 (sauvignon, sémillon). Honey spiced aromas. The nose lacks sharpness, final note dries and lasts. Very marked by sulfur, very lime in the mouth, More here: Bagneux wines

Sucy en Brie 2017 (sauvignon, sémilllon). Colour straw pulling on gold, in the nose, we find notes white fruits characteristic of the sémillon, a little brioche, confituré. Apple’s note in the oven that translates a touch of oxidation, but greedy. Pronounced acidity that has difficulty integrating. More here: Brotherhood of Sucy wines

Combs-la-Ville 2017 (sauvignon, chardonnay, sémillon). The nose is charming with exotic notes, baked apple and cereals,. But pity, the mouth stops net this momentum, with an imbalance on the acidity. The finale is drying out. No gluttony. More here: Combs la Ville wines

Nogent sur Marne 2017 (chardonnay, riesling).  Here, a color that’s already golden. A little early for a 2017. Oxidation to the nose, too bad because it has more flesh in its mouth. The mouth is thin, based on a biting acidity. Not sharp nose. More here: Brotherhoods of Nogent wines

Clairoix 2017 (chardonnay).  A strong smell of dregs comes out in the nose, with an alcoholic character, sulphited and not ripe. You can smell a lot of apple in your nose! More here: Wines of Clairoix

Yerres 2017 (chardonnay). Visually, a sustained yellow. The first nose looks more mature than the average. This material is found in a sour mouth but of good consistency. level odors, it reminds of wax and cooked fruit’, a  souring acidity. More here: wines of Yerres

Rosny 2016 (sauvignon). No glaring defect but lack of maturity, with less sulfur, that would be good. The hard-boiled egg dominates the nose. Tight mouth. But it’s a place where there’s a way to do something. More here: Brotherhood of the Feronne Haute

Issy 2016 (chardonnay, pinot beurot).  The wine is struggling to open but there is more volume than most of the previous wines. It’s right… but soft. It must be left with air but it will not blush at the table with a beautiful fish. More here: Brotherhood of Issy

Sannois 2017 (pinot gris vendanges tardives). A wine focused on the fruit, pleasant, with a slight sucrose that is well integrated. Sulphites at full nose, the fruit is not very precise, between pear and white fruit.But that’s okay. More here: city of Sannois and its wines

Paris 2017 (gamay, pinot noir, others). “Expressive, crunchy, not a great subject but the wine is honest, the Ruby’s very pretty shiny violin of its body. Notes of red fruit, a pleasant nose, a flattering wine but with a marked acidity. More on the vineyards of Paris from the tourist office here: Tourist office of Paris on vineyards

Le Pecq Saint-Germain 2016 (pinot noir). The wine seems already evolved in the nose. In the mouth, the alcohol carries with a drying impression. Interesting”, but pity that the final note is bitter. More here: The vineyards of St Germain and Le Pecq 78

Hope you have enjoy this brief introduction and remember ,France has plenty to share so therefore, try them all!! And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

 

September 19, 2018

Some news from France CXCXII

Well so much news to tell on my belle France, and little time. I am leaving to the Americas Friday,and then back and then out to Spain again lol! This is getting good, I am back traveling, life even if sad must go on!

Let me tell you a bit on the glamour, chic, caché side of my belle France, after all that is one reason folks makes it the No 1 most visited country in the world, UN WTO sources.

The Château Ancy-le-Franc , gem of the Renaissance, located between Tonnerre and Montbard, in the heart of Burgundy, built between 1542 and 1550 ,was in dismal condition, it was raining inside and the decorations painted by hand, originals dating for some of the first school of Fontainebleau, were very degraded. The acquisition, in 1999 of the Castle and its 50 hectares of park by a private company   might have save it.

Starting with the Cour d’honneur, a perfect quadrilateral, which later served as a model for the square courtyard of the Louvre, with its Roman arches, fluted double pilasters and aureoles niches of scallops, one of the symbols of the Renaissance. Then comes the tour of the murals like that of the gallery of Pharsalus, a cameoed ochre of breathtaking beauty that represents the famous battle between the troops of Caesar and those of Pompey in 48 BC. The sumptuous room of Diane, so named in honor of Diane de Poitiers, favorite of King Henry II and sister-in-law of Antoine III of Clermont-Tallard, who built the castle.

In 2012, it all began restoring the gardens, the sumptuous flowerbed composed of four paintings of flowers installed since last year in front of the wing is at the bottom of the perspective, a circular basin of 17 meters in diameter, inspired by the original plane, perfect all with its jet vertically aligned to the symmetry axis of the castle.

Next to these regular gardens like the west parterre, recreated a year earlier by following the same approach to restore the banks of the water room that stretches facing the south wing of the castle, with its madness, small octagonal building built on an islet. Planting twelve bald cypress trees, from six weeping willows and marsh flower mats, to the range of colors chosen to create a perspective, will restore luster to the romantic part of the park, arranged in the 18C by one of the descendants of Louvois , Minister of War of Louis XIV, who had acquired the estate in 1684. You need to see it indeed in a lovely area of France… ,more info here: official Chateau Ancy le Franc

The Dordogne valley, the Château de Montal in the Lot, is known for having hosted in WWII, the painting of Leonardo da Vinci, the Mona Lisa, threatened in Paris by the Nazi advance. What is less known is Auguste Rodin’s share of the restoration of this Renaissance masterpiece, which he visited several times. Everything starts in 1908 built by Jeanne de Balsac around 1519, Montal celebrates the humanist virtues of its time by a subtle iconography. Maurice Fenaille gathers sculptures and friezes scattered around and in 1913, he donated his castle to the State, subject to a usufruct for him and his children.

As part of the exhibition entitled “Rodin, Fenaille, Matruchot, Portrait of a Renaissance” (from November 12 2018 to June 16, 2019) The Rodin Museum, which is rare, has agreed to lend eight works by Rodin including a bust of Madame Fenaille. An ensemble to which is added a portrait of the sculptor by Camille Claudel. Château de Montal. Saint – Jean – Lespinasse . Tel.: 05.65.38.13.72 . More at: official Chateau de Montal

More on the tourist office of the Lot dept 46 region of Occitanie: Tourist office of the Lot dept 46 on Montal

At Cognac, the rebirth of the Monnet cellars illustrates this contemporary reflection. At 50 Avenue Paul-Firino-Martell, adjacent to the Martell Foundation, the monumental gate of low walls has not changed. But it now opens to a 5-star hotel, where a famous cognac distillery was built in 1838. It has known several owners. But history has retained only one name: Jean-Gabriel Monnet, the father of the fierce craftsman of European union. Born in Cognac, Jean Monnet began his career in the family business and made a fortune in Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon by selling the burnt wine to American smugglers during Prohibition (1920’s). The Monnet kept it until 1962. Then the distillery was sold to the German firm Scharlachberg, before entering the bosom of Hennessy, who in turn ceded it to the municipality of Cognac. It was in 2004 and no more than a drop of hot water came out.   In July 2016, an investor spent 60 million euros to invent a luxury hotel such that it does not exist in Cognac. The Hotel Chais Monnet which is due to officially open on October 1st, honors this heritage.

A primer from Le Figaro: To the left of the double-revolution staircase that enfolds the cylindrical elevator at the entrance, Angélique Café sets the tone for a place that is dreaming in the hexagonal embassy of know-how and living. On the counter of this tea room in the name of an emblematic plant of the Poitevin swamps, candy jars contain the regressive pleasure of the tastes of our childhood. In the 92 rooms and suites, the decor is of a homogeneous elegance, while sober with a furniture of light wood placed on a parquet and amber fabrics, tobacco, brown, blond, evoking the nuances of cognac.

The minibar is made up of French specialties with retro packaging, such as the French popcorn of the Maison Gramm’s and the crunch with the Fleur de sel and cognac XO. The most interesting are the 52 rooms housed in the cellars. All open on a patio or on a balcony, you can feel the soul of the place. And the most beautiful ones are upstairs: the original beams give them a crazy charm. The CEP is its name, it also houses a spa, an indoor and outdoor swimming pool where you can walk everywhere, a conference room and a cinema. A Jazz Bar so British,the 1838, occupies the old cooperage. But the heart of the hotel beats in the old cathedral of the distillery, the great cellar of the lightning of a huge barrel of wine with the dizzying nine meters under ceiling. The brewery is nestled under a part of the roofs. But where the space has not been truncated, the gourmet restaurant reveals itself as a treasure. The 34 seatings   will open on October 15th. The Hotel Chais Monnet, 5-star luxury discreet, is already a member of the Leading Hotels of the World. Hotel Chais Monnet, 50, Avenue Paul-Firino-Martell, Cognac (Charente dept 16). From 250 euros a night with breakfast. Breakfast at the brasserie from 22€, Gastronomic meals from 59€, tel +33 (0)5.17.223.223. More here: official Chais Monnet Hotel

This is the hotel event of this year, entry in the 8éme arrondissement. We had always known since 1886, the Maison Fauchon, at 16 Place de la Madeleine (and so many times walked by it and shop on way to my work!!!). Here is now, on the other side of the Church de la Madeleine, a hotel Fauchon. Except here, at number 11 in the famous place de la Madeleine, we enter through the little door. The big entry, the one that opens on the reception, is located at 4, Boulevard Malesherbes.

Finely facade and wrought iron balconies, this is one of those splendid Haussmann buildings, typical of the beautiful Parisian districts. The hotel does not occupy one but two six-story buildings, gathered for the occasion, and reconfigured inside eleven levels. The historical architecture houses a resolutely contemporary universe, all of white, black, pink and gilded: the colors reap inside, in the 54 rooms and suites, the walls are systematically white and black floors from the parquet burnt in point of Hungary. While the Pink or Fushia, Candy or Powder and the gilded matt are laid in touches, used for cushions, armchairs, sofas, headboards, sconces, carpet designs… Guests can also choose between two atmospheres: “Powder” and “Rock”, this one more black and white with a bathroom in grey marble and the first more pink including small round armchairs like macaroons with a bathroom in beige marble.

It is the Gourmet Bar, a very nice piece of furniture of a sweet pink not too farting, designed by Sacha Lakic and specially edited by Roche-Bobois for Fauchon. Let’s also point out that half of the rooms have a balcony or a bow window. They all overlook the Place de la Madeleine or the Boulevard Malesherbes.   The upper floors often offer the view of one or more monuments of the capital. But the bathrooms, including those of the suites, are relatively small for a hotel of 5-star rating. Six categories are proposed, from the “classic” Room of 23 m² (from 400 to 1 250 € per night) to the suite “Prestige” of 60 m² (1 250 to 3 000 €). As for the common areas, they consist of a reception, an adjoining library reserved for the hosts, a small spa Carita two cabins of care and Hamman open to the external clientele. and two restaurants: the Jardin des Thés (Garden of teas), under the interior canopy and, superbly, the Grand Café with its pink counter, its bay windows and its terrace, at the corner of the Plaza de la Madeleine and the boulevard Malesherbes. It is open from 7h to 23h. Our favorite goes to the Grand Café, very Parisian, very open and much less intimidating than a palace table. More here:official hotel Fauchon

It’s a new form of conviviality. Chalk slates, high stools, zinc plates and relaxed atmosphere… For a glass and much more affinities. Glorious Paris !

Where we mingle at the bar in marble and mosaic, in a relative comfort with no tables or chairs, but which undoubtedly participates in the energy of the place. And its New!!!  Déviant. 39, rue des Petites-Écuries (10éme). Tél. +33 (0) 1 48 24 66 79. Every evenings except Sundays and Mondays . Menu Carte: 20-40 €. A webpage to be built up; Deviant Paris

From the three Avant-Comptoirs of Yves Camdeborde, chef from the Béarn region and small prince of Germain des Prés area , here is my favorite! and a great area to be in too. More smiley than that of the marché Saint-Germain, cuter than that of the de la Mer, located next door, the first front-counter of the name is not explained: it lives! In this kind of greedy den, and that’s why I love it, you have to play elbows, often, raise the tone, sometimes, beg the bread to his neighbor, to steer the tourists astray… In short, quietly blend into the ambiance. L’Avant-Comptoir. 3, carrefour de l’Odéon (6éme). Tél. +33 (0) 1 44 27 07 50. Open every day menu carte 20€-40€. More info: L’Avant Comptoir Odéon

Romain Tischenko was the first winner of “Top Chef”, one of the most singular candidates of the culinary crochet. Water sank under the bridges and Roman now sees double on the side of place Sainte-Marthe. Besides his Néobistrot Galopin, he animates this little piece of cellar to eat all that is more family and festive. La Cave à Michel. 36, rue Sainte-Marthe (10éme). Tél. +33 (0)1 42 45 94 47. Open every day except Monday and Tuesday ;menu carte : 20-30€. More info :La Cave Saint Michel

Hurried to acquire this room right next to his Admiral’s Pub, when the latter was started three years ago. Seven seats at the counter, four on the side and a dozen still, a little glued-tight, along the walls. A microlocation but a real identity. La Cave du Paul-Bert. 16, rue Paul-Bert (11éme). Tél. +33 (0)1 58 53 50 92.From Thursdays evenings to Mondays evenings, menu carte 25-35€. More here: La Cave du Paul Bert

For the Parisians, the trattorias of Big Mamma are already part of the classics. East mamma, Ober Mamma, BigLove Caffè, Mamma primi, Pink mamma, Pizzeria Popolare, La Felicità… the restos XXL (3500 m2 and 1000 m2 of terrace for the Felicità, Paris 13éme), with always successful scenery and Italian cuisine that speaks with hands, generous, wheedling, benevolent like..a mamma. A success story continues to be more beautiful with a first opening in the province, in Lille, at the end of September. The future osteria tradizionale will be called La Bellezza and nest at 126 rue Esquermoise , the most popular street in the capital of Flanders. 150 seats, two floors, an opening 7 days a week and dishes and recipes that should be well done. La Bellezza. 126, rue Esquermoise, 59000 Lille. Opening September 29, 2018. More soon in their official webpage ,you heard it first here : Big Mamma La Bellezza at Lille

A neighbour like any other, Philippe Starck lives in Paris 16éme arrondissement , and for a long time exalts the codes of his style with elegance. With a restaurant, a sports club and a pastry shop, the Brach should attract both Parisians and travelers alike. The Evok group (already owner of the Nolinski at the opera and soon of the Sinner in the Marais) had the ambition to transform them into a 5-star (59 rooms and suites, from 500 to 3000€) chic and fashionable, with its vegetable garden on the roof, in a rather indolent neighborhood of the 16éme. You do not enter a hotel but in a place of life. A lounge but no lobby for check-in ,relegated to the first floor (2nd US) . Then a restaurant with large widths, with a long counter distributing a pastry, a bar, the kitchens and a wine cellar. All open on the 130 covered seats room. The club, open to all and accommodating 1000 members (2220€ annual subscription), is equipped with a 22 meters long swimming pool and a heated water pool for yoga classes or aquatic Watsu. It takes at least that to melt the sugars of gluttony! Hotel Brach. 1-7, rue Jean-Richepin (16éme). Tel.+33 (0) 1 44 30 10 00. Opening on September 25, 2018. More info on group webpage here:Evok hotels group Hotel Brach

The soon to be expanded official webpage of Hotel Brach here: official Hotel Brach Paris

There you go something to think about more about Paris , it is really eternal you know! And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

September 16, 2018

The wines of Muscadet and more!

So, how are you? this is a nice cool sunny Sunday. We had done some cleaning lots of it. All well done. Now we had a good meal with Belgian and American beers and we are wondering, where we were yesterday another world, in wine country of the Loire!

The wines of muscadet are less known me think  unfortunately they deserve more credit. I will do my five cents here. It covers a large area and amazingly, not only are the muscadet grapes allowed but others too.

This area is less than 2 hours drive from my house so I have been a lot ,just hard to pick areas to show you in my belle France we are loaded ::) Here is a bit on the  Muscadet and my latest road warrior trip.

The Muscadet is a dry white wine of AOC (appellation d’Origine Controllée) mainly in the Loire-Atlantique dept 44, south of Nantes, and partially overflowing on the Maine-et-Loire dept 49 and the Vendée dept 85 ,all in Pays de la Loire region. This wine from the Loire Valley vineyards comes from a unique grape variety, the melon of Burgundy (Melon de Bourgogne) . This appellation has been classified AOC since 1936.  The Muscadet vineyards has several appellations: the Muscadet-Sèvre-et-Maine, the Muscadet -côtes-de-Grandlieu, the Muscadet-coteaux-de-la-Loire and the Muscadet without any particular denomination.

A bit of history I like

In the 17C, under pressure from Dutch brokers, looking for small wines for the still wine market .The vineyard will experience a great development: until the French Revolution . Brittany/Bretagne was one of the reputed foreign provinces (with the Guyenne , Saintonge, Languedoc, Provence, Dauphiné, Lyon, Flanders and Artois) so that the trade (taxes on goods) is lifted at its borders, in particular at the Ingrand barrier on the Loire river. Thus, the wines of the wealthy country are mainly converted into spirits, which are exported from the port of Nantes to the countries of northern Europe. Until the French revolution, the majority of the grape varieties of the wealthy country is therefore the Gros Plant, a grape well adapted to this production .

In 1635, the word ,Muscadet is attested in another document from the village of Gorges for the first time. It is claimed that this grape, now known as the Melon of Burgundy because of its origin, would have better resisted the terrible winter of 1709 than the other grape varieties including the Gros Plant and that, as a result, it would then become widespread in the countryside of Nantes

The late 19C saw the affluent vineyard (Muscadet and Gros-Plant) touched by the phylloxera like most of the French vineyards. This aphid accidentally imported from America in 1864 bites the roots of the vine and causes the death of the plant. At this time that the melon of Burgundy (Muscadet) will impose itself as a majority grape in the vineyards of Nantes.  This vineyard in AOC comprises 13 000 hectares, exclusively used in white wine. It is located mainly in the southern part of the Loire-Atlantique, and in some communes of Vendée and Maine-et-Loire. The Muscadet-Sèvre-and-Maine appellation is the most notable and most productive of the Muscadet vineyards, generating just over two-thirds of the total production of Muscadet. It takes its name from the two rivers, the Sèvre Nantes and Maine which water this territory forming essentially the Nantes vineyard.

It is comprise as such with only my favorite towns (highlighted the tops) vineyards (there are a lot more): The Muscadet-Sévre-et-Maine denomination that is.

In the  Loire-Atlantique department 44  are:  Aigrefeuille-sur-Maine, Basse-Goulaine, the Chapelle-Basse-Mer, La Chapelle-Heulin, Chateau-Thébaud, Clisson, Gorges, the L’Haie-Fouassière, Haute-Goulaine, the Landreau, the Loroux-Bottereau, Maisdon-sur-Sèvre, Monnières, Mouzillon, the Pallet, the Regrippière, Saint-Friacre-sur-Maine, Saint-Julien-de-Concelles, Saint-Lumine-de-Clisson, Vallet, and Vertou. As well as two towns in Maine-et-Loire department 49: Saint-Crespin-sur-Monk and Tillières. It is, also, available as the dénomination Clisson  in the towns of the Loire-Atlantique dept 44 in : Aigrefeuille-sur-Maine, Château-Thébaud, Clisson, Gorges, Maisdon- sur-Sèvre, Saint-Lumine-de-Clisson,and one town in Maine-et-Loire dept 49: Saint-Crespin-sur-Moine. Also, as dénomination Gorges  in the Loire-Atlantique dept 44 at   Clisson, Gorges, Monnières, Mouzillon ; and dénomination Le Pallet in two towns of the Loire-Atlantique dept 44 such as La Chapelle-Heulin, and Le Pallet.

The Muscadet-côtes-de-Grandlieu: this vineyard derives its originality from the microclimate of Lake Grandlieu. It is in 17 towns of the Loire-Atlantique dept 44 such as   Bouguenais, La Chevrolière,Legé, La Limouzinière, Pont-Saint-Martin, Port-Saint-Pere, Saint-Aignan-de-Grand-place, Saint-Colomban, Saint-Léger-les-Vignes, Saint-Philbert-de-Grand-Lieu, and Touvois. As well as two towns in the Vendée dept 85 such as Rocheservière ,and Saint-Philbert-de-Bouaine.

The Muscadet-Coteaux-de-la-Loire is in 16 –towns of the Loire-Atlantique dept 44 again my favorites are only in Ancenis, Anetz, lingné, Mauves-sur-Loire, Saint-Sébastien-sur-Loire, Thouaré-sur-Loire and Varades; as well as 8 towns in Maine-et-Loire dept 49 such as my favorites only Bouzillé, Champtoceaux, La Chapelle-Saint-Florent, Liré, Saint-Florent-le-Veil and La Varenne.

The Muscadet without denomination or simply Muscadet on the bottle is in 74 towns of the Loire Atlantique dept 44 ,however, my favorites here are only in Ancenis, Basse-Goulaine, Carquefou, La Chapelle-Heulin, Château-Thebaud, Clisson, Haute-Goulaine, Ligné, Le Loroux-Bottereau, Mauves-sur-Loire, Le Pallet, Saint-Fiacre-sur-Maine, Saint-Aignan-Grandlieu, Saint –Colomban, Saint-Hillaire-de-Clisson, Saint-Léger-les-Vignes, and Saint-Philbert-de-Grand-Lieu. And these towns from Maine-et-Loire dept 49 such as Champtoceaux, La Chapelle-Saint-Florent, Liré, Saint-Florent-le-Veil, and La Varenne. Also, from the Vendée dept 85 we have Saint-Hillaire-de-Loulay.

Some of the other grapes you may find wines here are the Folle Blanche, Cabernet Franc, Gamay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Chenin Blanc, Pinot Gris, Grolleau, Negrette. As well as some more genuinely locals such as the Berligou, Egiodola, etc.

Some webpages to help you visit these wonderful denominations and towns are

Assoc Vignobles Nantais wines

Wines of the Loire pdf map see Nantes

I have been coming and going to the Vignobles Marchais lately, this is at La Blandiniére hamlet in the town of Thouare-sur-Loire, and it has been a pleasant find. We first met at the village vignerons of Guérande a couple months back and since been to their property twice.

thouare sur loire

thouare sur loire

This time was to celebrate the harvest for 2018 in which with the heritage days going on in France this weekend, they did a vineyards festival or fête des Vendanges in their property , very nice. We were only a small group of 13 which was ideal. We arrive punctual at 11h while they were getting ready to host a wedding at 15h lol!

Our event started shortly after the owner Philippe Marchais arrived. He is trying to export more and I am helping out with some information on the USA market. First, was a brieg explanation on the terroir, Philippe is a firm believer in this , and so am I. All sort of information on the land and stones on the soil was given in a brief format. The stones here have lots of schist. We went on to the vineyards!

Well it was a harvest time the next day so we were the first one to pick up grapes of the Melon of Burgundy(melon de Bourgogne) great to be able to use our cutter and get the nice chunks of grapes off into a bucket first and then a huge wooden cart!!! Very nice and on a friendly fun group of people. Once we finish , we came in to the chai or cellars to taste the grapes and determine their acidity, taste, and aromas as well as the maturity of them. We try three different plot of land from same grape and all taste and smell different, that is the terroir…

thouare sur loire

thouare sur loire

After, of course, we taste the real wines from the previous year 2017, and were nicely impressed with the Grand Clos du moulin de Pé muscadet of course. And the refreshing Domaine de Bois Biot white. This was accompagny by salmon and sardines cold meat or paté, terrines, and pork paté from Brittany! Very liberal serving and nice conversation around my favorite subject lifewise!

thouare sur loire

thouare sur loire

We were ready for the lunch, a bit late as we were surprise by  a visit by radio chain France Bleu and the owner Philippe was interviewed right in front of us. I was one of the ones chosen to be spoken to and hopefully will be on the air soon!!!  radio chain here: France Bleu Océan

thouare sur loire

All during the interview , we were at the table and then we all join the visitor for a chat on wines and good food of the Loire, and the Nantes vineyards! The food oh my God, well we got a huge chunk of baby milk pork and a large slab of dauphiné potatoes all going down with a nice surprise wine Egiodola red wine a grape originally from the Basque country but now planted here and producing a fruity pleasant red wine with lots of blackberry !! delicious we purchase a carton of  6 bottles! afterward.

Thouare sur loire

thouare sur loire

The ending was an apple tart homemade with grape fermented juice done on premises! Which we got 4 bottles for free!!! We indeed continue chatting with the owner and his wife Violette that joined us at the table sitting next to me so lots of conversation.  At the end we did something nice.

They have a very nice building; the basement is the production site for bottling about 200K bottles of their own production. The street level is the cellar, tastings and boutique, and the first floor (2nd US) is a reception area (where the wedding was held) also good for business meetings and other events, all hook up with video equipment and large screens. The have about 9 persons working mostly family members. What they do is they have other families cousins etc who are also winemakers in other regions of France. They bring their wines to the cellar boutique and sells them ,so therefore we purchase a Morgon from the Beaujolais, and two Margaux from Bordeaux region from 2011 at good prices,not a good vintage year but the producers are guaranteed good and that is the main point here.

Thouare sur loire

Thouare sur loire

In all, it was a wonderful experience. Next month they are hooking up on a project with a local brewery to do a beer with wine grapes that we will be tasting in October !!! Stay tune.

The property webpage in English is here: Vignobles Marchais

Enjoy it nothing better than a good wine and if French much better, simply the best! Remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

 

Ps wait!!! as we are multi talented, on our way back in full control, we found a memorable hypermarket from our times in the Versailles, The Auchan hypermarket of Saint Sebastian sur Loire was on our way on the N844 so we stopped and did our groceries!!! Cheers ::) Oh webpage of store is here: Auchan at St Sebastian sur Loire

St Sebastian sur Loire

st sebastian sur loire

 

 

 

 

 

September 11, 2018

The wines of the Béarn: Jurançon!

 

So let me bring you back to my other hobby, wines! Not wanting to repeat myself, will just go into an area dear to me of many trips and holidays,and always enjoying their wines since at least 1990. I have written before on the popular wine cooperative of Gan  and here it is :

Caves de Gan, Jurançon

I passed by here many times on my way to Spain, always using it as a rest stop either at Pau or around Gan. As time went on, we spent more time here and finally several days. And of course, not only did we drank the wines from the area but visited a very nice enclave at the Caves de Jurançon at Gan.

gan

We had always friendly welcome and sharing here and I am on their mailing list so if not stopping by ,get my wines by domestic transport to my house.  Let’s get a bit more on the aroma ::)

A cooperative in the heart of the vineyards: the cellar of  Jurançon at Gan plays a major role in the Jurançon and Béarn AOC, bringing together nearly 300 winegrowers. Located a few steps from Pau, this cooperative is committed and respectful of its terroirs. Founded in 1949, it has become a landmark in the Béarn. The wine of the Jurançon: a good wine is made with good grapes, sun, rain and foehn. Its most famous grape varieties are the small and the big Manseng (petit et gros manseng). On the vineyard of the piedmont Pyrenean, the vines are planted in the direction of the slope and are oriented to the South in order to be sheltered from the West wind. Harvest by hand, sort with love, vinify patiently… so many steps necessary to the quality of the wines of the Jurançon.

Gan

Gan

Gan

Some webpages to help you enjoy this wine

Official webpage of cave de jurançon

Webpage on Jurançon wines in English: http://www.vins-jurancon.fr/an_enchanting_setting.php?id_ligne=23&niv=1

YouTube video presentation on the cellars or cave de Jurançon here

 

But wait, this is more than wines, there is a town name  Gan! lovely place quant cosy, we love it

Gan is located in the Pyrénées-Atlantiques department 64 in the Nouvelle Aquitaine region (even thus fiercily keeping the old habits of the Béarn) . 9 km south of Pau. The municipality is crossed by the national road 134(N134), as well as by the departmental roads D 134, 217 and 230. Gan train station is located on the Pau-Canfranc line. It is served by the TER Nouvelle-Aquitaine between Pau and Oloron-Sainte-Marie (changing here for Canfranc in Spain). Gan is a bastide founded in 1335 by Gaston II de Foix-Béarn. He gave it this name, the namesake of Ghent (Gan) in Belgium, in memory of the campaign of Flanders to which he participated.

Some things to see other than wineries are

The prison gate (porte de la prison) dates from 1335; the Roman Baths from 1748 (with iron and sulphur waters); The House of Bazirus (Rue Ossau); The House of Ergashali (on the road to Lasseube); The houses of Arrac (1548), of Aldoins (1593) and the Château Marca prior to 1600 birthplace of Pierre de Marca. Church of Saint. Barthélémy was rebuilt near the ancient church of St. Jean, which was restored in several phases between 1811 and 1930. The Church of St. Peter (Saint Pierre) dates from 1838. The Saint-Pierre Church is well before 1838, since traces are found in the parish archives in 1759 (baptisms, marriages, burials).

gan

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are

Bastides or fortified towns of the Pyrénées Atlantiques 64 on Gan : https://bastides64.org/bastides/gan/

Tourist office of Pau on Gan: https://www.pau-pyrenees.com/gan/cave-des-producteurs-de-jurancon/tabid/315/offreid/0a3cc7e0-f457-4e1f-a157-512050c2ab74

Region tourist office of old Béarn on Gan and its other wines. http://www.bearn-basquecountry.com/bearn-pyrenees/gourmet/wines-vineyards/

City of Gan on many walkers heavens and jurançon wines: http://www.villedegan.fr/spip.php?article80#.W401a84zbIU

A lovely area indeed, and need to be visited more by all. The choices for nature lovers is immense and the gastronomic/wines alternatives unlimited. Enjoy it.

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

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