Archive for ‘Food and Wine’

October 11, 2019

A bit of beers and lots of Wines of France!

So back to you with another of my beloved subject posts. Well a basic kind of guy on beer and wines will do. According to the place, food , and occasion. Let me tell you a bit more about it ok. My simple title A bit of beers and lots of Wines of France!

Wine is in any case a subject that interests the French! Yes!!! The level of knowledge of our countrymen increases year by year. Thus, according to the barometer SOWINE / DYNATA, and for the first time in ten years, the share of the French declaring themselves neophytes passes below 50% while the share of the French declaring themselves amateurs progresses and reaches 46%.  Who says because French you should know about wines! This trend is even more marked among young people, who clearly want to learn about the subject and consult more websites and social networks than their elders to find out more. 70% of our countrymen think it is important to be inform before buying wine or spirits, with as a privileged source the entourage or family for 53% of them. The recommendation of family or friends takes precedence in front of the council of professionals 42%. Yes we get a lot exchanges with the family on wines and properties. More in French here: Sowine Dynata on wine in France

More on the saga of Bordeaux wines !! At the Chateaux Grand Launay and Haut Lorettes in the south-west of France, pruning shears and machines are running at full speed for the harvesting of the reds. Most are reporting will make a great vintage, thanks to a very hot summer. We are, in France, one of the regions that has evolved the most technical and environmental in the last ten years, and the range of 5-15 euros, Bordeaux is unbeatable in quality . But we have no clear message ! vis-à-vis the consumer, lamenting the image hyper traditional Bordeaux. Indeed there are lots of properties in Bordeaux little known or hard to know that produces top wines at affordable prices!

In Bordeaux, spared this summer by diseases, winemakers take the time to harvest to obtain a perfect maturity. Recent rains have made it possible to develop the noble rot, which is essential for the sweet wines whose harvest should start next week mid October in Sauternes. They could also increase yields. Over the whole of Bordeaux, inter profession expects a return in the decennial average of 5.1 million hectoliters. The rain would also dilute sugars and acids, very concentrated in the berries this year and source of high alcoholic degrees, as for whites whose harvest ends with average or even low yields. In contrast, other winemakers do not know where to put the new crop, their cellars are still full as the sales of Bordeaux are at half-mast with extremely low prices for bulk. The image of a cru bourgeois wine, which discourages some consumers over the issue of rating and classification confusion remedy this coming 2020, but also the disaffection of China who turns to Australia and Chile, countries with which it has made customs agreements: the winegrower draws a state of affairs that is very serious. Those who do get away are the great wines and small innovative owners. It will be ok by next year ruling changes see my previous post on wines.  Source. Le Figaro

Now I am not a cyclist practionner but this innovation should do a lot of good and I might even try it. 143 km of cycle route in the vineyards of Alsace!. This is the proposal of the region of north-east of France to cross its typical landscapes and the many vineyards that are on this long way, between Marlenheim and Thann. This road labeled “vineyards and discoveries” is drawn in parallel with the Wine Route of Alsace.

At the Saint-Pierre brewery, between Obernai and Barr, visitors can participate in brewing workshops based on hops from the region, pure malts barley, water St. Peter and explore the taste of many craft beers. In addition to the five breweries Fischer, Heineken, Karlsbrau, Kronenbourg, and Meteor, which produce half of the national beer production, the micro-breweries are also on the Route d’Alsace road, as for example that of Jean-Jacques Hupfel, known for its organic beers, including pissenlit (dandelion). The Saint-Alphonse brewery (Vogelgrun) promises to reveal all the secrets of manufacturing this foamy beverage, from its production to bottling.

The route also stops at the wine trail of Soultz-Wuenheim which leads to a teaching ground to learn the ampelography, relating to the study of the vine, grape varieties and grapes. A stopover in Ostheim, in the area of 12 hectares of vineyards of the family Froehlich, awarded the Grand Jury Prize at Pinot Gris Late Harvest 2016, at the Competition of the Great White Wines of the World 2019, last April 2019, may prove highly instructive. In another register, the parenthesis “Initiation to the tasting” invites to the discovery of Grands Crus d’Alsace in the area of Pierre Adam, before going to a restaurant for a lunch of tasty food and wine pairings. Finally, the unusual side, in the vicinity of Kientzheim, a winegrower combines, for two hours, tastings and Qi Gong sessions, a way to combine wine experience and well-being.

The above with more info at official webpage (in English): Cycling in Alsace

Do you know the wines of Tavel? Many years ago were my introduction to French rose wines! They were qualified at the time of kings of roses, a reputation that still precedes them today, as its wines astonish by their richness and complexity. It is a magnificent, powerful and generous wine, deep pink, revealed by the typicality of its terroir and the variety of grape varieties, from which it draws its floral and fruity aromas on the palate. With age, it develops shades of red fruits, grilled almonds and spices, far from the usual simplicity of the rosés of our aperitifs. You can try them by booking with participating institutions directly in the Facebook page here:

Other information on Tavel is the official Tavel wine appellation group here!

And the Rhône wines region info on the Tavel here:

And there you a wonderful combination of open air countryside rides with great beers and wines, wonderful. Hope you enjoy it with moderation of course.

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




October 10, 2019

Château de Pommard!

Well I do not think need to put more into the title! Even thus my tastes have change over the years there is some properties that are on my cellar still. One of them is from the Château de Pommard in old Burgundy. As I have written several posts on my other passion that is wines, need to tell you about this one in particular.

We /I are long time clients of the property and have visited as well of course. Even if we are far I still look for them , and why not a repeat visit is in the plans for 2020. The Château de Pommard is unique and will tell you a bit of its history and wines.

The Château de Pommard is an 18C castle. The estate includes a 20-hectare Château de Pommard, French gardens and a vineyard and wine museum  less than 5 km from Beaune on the Grands Crus Route of the Burgundy vineyards in Pommard in Côte-d’Or dept 21 of the region of Burgundy-Franche-Comté. It is accessed from the RD 973 road by an alley closed by a portal framed by two pavilions built in the 18C; exactly at 15, rue Marey-Monge, 21630 Pommard.


A bit of history I like

In 1726 Vivant Micault (squire and secretary of King Louis XV, descendant of Philibert Micault, captain of Pommard in 1451) built a castle in Regency style and its outbuildings. Indeed, King Louis XVI and his court were lovers of wines from this region, known to be tannic and bitter in their youth. The Chateau Micault, erected from 1726 to 1750, occupies one of the sides of a paved courtyard closed by the vines with vocation viti-vinicole. Later the castle was to passed to several hands first in 1763 , and then onwards. The Emperor Napoleon I made it one of its high places of holiday in the 19C. He resides in the blue room, on the floor of the main castle, which overlooks the main courtyard. The castle was sold again in  1932, at the same time as the Clos-de-Tart. The castle then continues changing hands until  September 2014,when it was purchased by  Silicon Valley’s American entrepreneur Michael Baum seduced by this Côte-d’Or enotourist locomotive. He is the current owner.

A bit on the wine property I like

The Domaine de Château de Pommard is today the largest private vineyard in Burgundy  with a  closures of 20 hectares of vineyards in one piece in Pinot Noir. The Château de Pommard produces a great wine from Château de Pommard and Clos du Château, a complex assemblage of the different parcels of the domaine. The Château also makes a second blend to create a Pommard Village appellation wine. The estate sells in particular the wine of its domaine such as the Château de Pommard and as above , but also Burgundy wines of Chassagne-Montrachet, Meursault, Puligny-Montrachet, Volnay, Gevrey-Chambertin, Pernand-Vergelesses, Auxey-Duresses, Ladoix-Serrigny, Nuits-Saint-Georges (AOC) … In the vaulted cellars of the 18C you can see the  casks come from the forest of Tronçais, in the Allier region.


In 2006 the Château de Pommard created a museum of the vine and the wine. The kitchen, completely restored, has the particularity to exhibit an authentic Master Jacques. There is only one other, in the kitchens of the Hospices de Beaune!

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are

Official Chateau de Pommard history

Tourist office of Beaune on the Chateau de Pommard

Tourist office of dept 21 Cote d’Or on the Chateau de Pommard

There you go another dandy in my belle France, home of the best wines in the world! You will do good to visit this property, as there are interactive guide on tastings and food. The Château de Pommard is unique in Bourgogne/Burgundy. Enjoy it, in vino veritas!

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


October 5, 2019

Restaurant: Back to the 60’s at Rennes!

So here I am  ,love that series on restaurant and shopping  as seen in my previous posts and decided why not do the same in my lovely Bretagne! This is one we have been to several years back , and always thinking of going back with so much choice around we never did until now. We were here first with my dear late wife Martine and even purchase the Mountain Dew sodas to take home lol!!!

I have feature recently for the memories and would like to post my initial entry of 2014 on the restaurant American Diner Back to the 60’s of Rennes here: My previous post on Back to the 60’s Rennes

This time we didn’t purchase the Mountain Dew sodas (pepsi brand) to take home but we drank plenty on site! Back to the 60’s is at  5 bis, rue de Saint-Malo tel contact +33 09 81 95 11 41.


In Rennes, Back to the 60’s, it’s almost an institution. It is strongly recommended to do reservation because of the affluence recorded at Back to the 60’s at each service. A real American dinner, which has attracted crowds for many years now. Distinguishing itself from the wealth of bistros and creperies Back to the 60’s restaurant focuses on bringing back American cuisine to the heart of Rennes. The restaurant is a favorite among students, locals and tourist alike.



Back to the 60’s immerses you in the 1960’s. To you retro sensations with long live red sky seats, black and white tiled floor, and a good old 60s rock in the background. Enter a real diner or rather an American restaurant because here they serve you at the table. The soda map is great because  we can have Dr. Pepper and Mountain Dew, as well as many milkshakes!  And not to leave out the famous Cheesecake this time with strawberry and rhubard! An American Diner as we like them!




A bit of history on the American Diner: The dinner originated in the second half of the 19C in the northeastern United States. Originally conceived as a traveling roadside restaurant, the “dining car” or “lunch wagon” captivates with speed of service, an affordable price and extended hours. The dinner then settles in the form of prefabricated buildings that retain the tradition of a rectangular structure and the conviviality of the banquettes but adopt from the 1920s an influence Art Deco. Popularized worldwide in the American cinema of the 50s and 60s, the American dinner is somewhat neglected with the emergence of large chains of fast food. It resurfaces today, often in its style of the 60s, and differs in this warm and simple atmosphere, born of its history.

In at Rennes, you have friendly service, fast, and good prices with a surrounding ambiance of Americana and lovely architecture just steps out in old town Rennes!  Recommended! Remember Back to the 60’s at Rennes!

Some webpages to help you enjoy this restaurant are

Official Restaurant Back to the 60’s

Yelp my favorite reviews and me in it on the Back to the 60’s

Official tourist office of Rennes on the Rue Saint Malo area of restaurant in French

And on the way back we still had time to do our paper stuff groceries in Carrefour of Vannes lol! We are set go rugby world cup now!!

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


October 5, 2019

Marché des Lices at Rennes!

So let me bring you into something that I just adore and one big reason love my belle France. There are markets and then there are the markets of France, the good of earth locally done cannot be beaten and one reason the culinary heights of France are no 1! This is alone one reason to live in my belle France!

The markets we chase,find ,become nostalgic about them and continue to visit them anywhere we go in our France. This is of course no different in my Bretagne and we doo all our essentials here , the hyper/supermarkets are for the paper stuffs! Buy fresh, from the good Earth and be happy about it knowing you are eating the very best the world can produce, in France. We went by Rennes and stopped by and each time it gets better as was this latest visit with now my sons. Many souvenirs of our dear late wife/mom Martine as she introduce them to us and absolutely love them. For the record, Rennes is in dept 35 Ille et Vilaine, name after two rivers and in Bretagne, its capital city!

It is already four centuries at least that every Saturday from 7h30 to 13h30 the local Rennais and visitors converge in number to the Place des Lices. The Marché des Lices is a food market and a flower market held by the Place des Lices and Place Saint-Michel. Created in 1662, for fear of the plague, a market was held to avoid the entry into the city of sellers and buyers from outside. It has had its ups and downs before taking its current form in 1965. It welcomes only artisans and local producers and is the third market in France in terms of sellers.


The Marché des Lices is a market of farmers producers, food processors and florists, from 1965 in its modern form. It is an institution in Rennes, it is the third market of France with more than 300 producers and craftsmen or tradesmen non-producers, The market takes place at the place of the Lices, and extends over to the place de la Trinité, Place Saint-Michel ,and partially to the Place Rallier du Baty. Two halls built by Martenot are also used called Halles Martenot , in each hall there is a large central skylight resting on 16 cast iron pillars, connected by spacers of the same metal and the spans are closed by a brick filling of 2.50 meters. The westernmost market, reserved for butchery, is based on a stone base to compensate for the unevenness of the soil.


The first trace of a market at the bottom of the Place des Lices goes back to 1483. After the French revolution, the n ° 18 of the Place des Lices is acquired by the city to install its office of incoming merchandise of the city. The market is then daily for the wholesale, and completed on Saturday by the fairground market. The market continues to grow, a third hall, less large, is built in 1907 for market gardeners and sanitary inspection, at the current location of the fishmongers. This fishmongers place was demolished later and an underground car park is built at its location in 1989. There is some controversy today as there are fears of merchants and producers to lose the presence of many small artisans and operators, in favor of large producers stalls. As said, the market is from 7h30 to 13h30 for sales. However, the Installation starts at 4h disassembly ends at 14h30 to allow cleaning operations. During this time parking and traffid is chaotic to say the least but we locals managed it , surely visitors will be surprise of it!



The different activities are grouped by trade: butchers and delicatessens in the west market (butchers’ hall); caterers, cheesemakers, patties merchants and sausage patties between the halls (Place de la Trinité); cheesemakers, bakers, artisans, confectioners, Asian caterers in the east hall ; the fishmongers on the slab of the car park, at the former location of the pavilion ; market gardeners and farmers producing fruit and vegetables throughout the Place des Lices and florists in Place Saint-Michel, overflowing on Place de Rallier du Baty. Although most come from the countryside of Rennes, the sellers come from all Brittany to propose their products, and are made up to 60% of producers and craftsmen. The market is part of the life of the city, it is not uncommon to meet musicians, dancers, bachelor parties, candidates in elections, political happenings or petitioners, restaurateurs and chefs from the region who came to shop, etc.


Some webpages to help your planning here are

City of Rennes on the market hit the map for place des lices

TOurist office of Rennes on the Marché des Lices in French

There you go a wonderful experience for the visitors I am sure, and sublime for the locals like me, can’t get enough of them. The one at Rennes is super loaded with fresh produce, fruits and cheeses oh là là là I can’t wait to eat our bounty from there already this weekend. Enjoy it fully without moderation the Marché des Lices at Rennes!

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



October 3, 2019

The wines of Brittany! Bretagne!! Breizh!!!

Ok do you like the title? yes unique and rare! lol! I guess most if not all after reading the title will tell me wines in Brittany??? Well nowdays the region is known for its beers, and ciders, and even whiskies but wine; You ask? Indeed, France has a long history of wine making and taking the best soils and regions to produce it but there are others….And wines is one of my passions… culturally speaking with moderation…

At first sight Brittany (modern era) does not appear as a wine-growing land. Until January 1, 2016, it was even forbidden to produce and sell wine. Yet some enthusiasts managed to cultivate vineyards thanks to a tolerance, allowing to grow a maximum of 200 feet per plot. Thus we find vines still maintained in Saint-Suliac (35), Quimper (29) and Uzel (22) with a production mainly of white wine.

Some sources speak of the first wines appeared in Brittany in the 3C with the arrival of the Romans, then the vine grows with the Christianization. But wine production fades from the 10C with the competition of wines from elsewhere, cheaper and often better. The weather, the nature of agricultural land that is not conducive to this culture and political decisions ordering the uprooting of the soil will eventually end the exploitation of the vines. In the 18C, there are still some plantations around abbeys and ria, where there is a micro-climate. The writings attest to the presence of vines in the Val du Rance (Dinan, Dol, Plouër, Saint-Sulliac etc.), in the Morbihan ,Rhuys peninsula, and around Redon.  The Topology shows track of this viticulture, especially in Val de Rance. However, the cultivation of the vine has never completely disappeared. The monasteries especially indulged in this culture, some traces of which have even been preserved to this day. Thus, in 1848, the official statistical documents still counted 800 hectares of vines registered in this former province!

From the beginning of the 20C, the interest for the vine in Brittany is reborn, and at the beginning of the 21C, a renewal of wine-making activities in Brittany.  In 1996, an old vine, the black Magdalene des Charentes, parent of Merlot, was discovered in Saint-Sulliac. The law of last January 2016 opens new horizons by replacing planting rights with more flexible planting authorizations. Several projects are underway on the islands of Groix, Arz and Illur ( Morbihan dept 56). In the communal or associative vineyards the most commonly planted varieties are pinot noir, chardonnay, pinot blanc, chenin blanc. The vineyards of Brittany are an old vineyard, almost entirely disappeared between the 16C and 20C in four of the five historic departments of Brittany  (thus outside the Loire-Atlantique dept 44 where is produced among others the Muscadet of the Pays Nantais.

Sarzeau, a small town on the Rhuys peninsula in the Morbihan, has made available to a happy elected a dozen hectares of land formerly planted of vines. Indeed, the name “product in Brittany” and the Gwenn Ha Du (Breton flag) are selling a lot. Some communes had already tried to reconnect with their wine history, like Quimper.  In 2009, winemakers  planted Chardonnay and Pinot vines. For example you will find in Ille-et-Vilaine dept 35: the Haut-Quineleu of Sainte-Thérèse district in Rennes since 1992; in the town of Saint-Suliac: Le Clos de Garo (white chenin blanc and red rondo) planted since 2013, whose first harvest took place on September 23, 2017; Mont-Dol  ,(Renac local grape variety and Chardonnay).  In Finistère dept 29: Coteau-du-Braden in Quimper since 2006, Quillien (Argol), Treffiagat, Morlaix. In the Côtes d’Armor dept 22: The Quillio (variety Foch and Le Plantet) .In the Morbihan dep 56: small vineyards in Bohal (varietal verdot), Cléguérec projects in Belle-Île-en-Mer, Groix, islands and the peninsula of Rhuys.

Of course, historically, Loire-Atlantique dept 44 (now part of the region of Pays de la Loire) was also an integral part of Brittany, so the Pays du Vignoble  Nantais, where Muscadet and Gros-Plant are produced. The vineyard of Nantes, treated on the vineyard page of the Loire Valley, is the only one in the historic Breton country to count today professional winegrowers (about 800), and to enhance its wines by official labels quality (AOC, IGP). The Les Vignerons-Artisans de Bretagne ,and the Comité des Vins Bretons  (winemakers from Nantes) are asking for the creation of a label “Vin Breton” which would allow them to market under this brand.”Breton wines”

The group Les Vignerons-Artisans de Bretagne webpage here:

And the Comité des Vins Breton webpage here :

From this one of my house staples is the Domaine Poiron-Dabin, which I have written before in the Loire wines post in my blog. Lovely wine and great folks. For reference their webpage is here:

Chateau thebaud

Pinot Noir in the Nantais! Poiron Dabin

Some local efforts on wine making already !

Will Brittany one day produce wines of high quality? From the point of view of climate and soil, nothing prevents it, say scientists from Universities of Rennes 2 and Angers who have placed the region under their magnifying glass. In the lot, geographers-climatologists and students from the University of Rennes 2, supported by specialists from the School of Agriculture (ESA) of Angers. They have equipped a handful of plots with weather stations, at the request of individuals, associations, local communities, farmers in the process of diversification in Saint-Suliac, Saint-Jouan-des-Guérets, at Mont-Dol (Ille-et-Vilaine), at Muzillac (Morbihan), soon at Paimpol (Côtes-d’Armor). To measure temperature, rainfall, wind, humidity, sunshine

Depending on the orientation of the slopes, they can even recommend moderately late varieties such as chenin blanc and cabernet franc. Brittany, however, offers a climate more conducive to white wines than red: . Other climatic assets for Brittany: the number of days of frost, devastating for the vine, is very low. And temperatures are not too extreme: even for a Mediterranean type of culture such as vine, a mercury at 45 ° C recorded this summer in the south, is a source of high heat stress. The Breton rain, on the other hand, is as much an asset as a weakness. An asset, when it allows to put an end to a period of too great drought and water stress; a weakness when it falls at key moments such as bloom and harvest. Another negative effect of the rains is a greater risk of diseases, such as late blight or gray mold

On the heights of Quimper, Coteau du Braden is both a reference and a pioneer figure for the younger generations. This 2,500 square meter plot, planted with half chardonnay and half pinot gris, can also boast an exceptional 2018 vintage. By planting 5,000 m2 of treixadura, a Galician grape known to be resistant, in Treffiagat, in the Bigouden country, as climate change has been a determining factor similar to Galicia Spain. At Groix island, off the coast of Lorient, on the isle of Locmaria, where was just planted a hectare of chenin blanc facing south to the ocean, the farm covering half a dozen hectares, half of which should eventually be devoted to the vineyard. With a shallow soil and shaly soil with golden reflections , Groix island, which does not know the frost, could be an ideal haven for such an enterprise. Further in Saint-Jouan-des-Guérets, near Saint-Malo,  two hectares are particularly suitable for viticulture. Not quite a surprise if one refers to the registration of the plot in the cadastre under the name Long Vines, suggesting ancestral practice. Planted in May early varieties such as Grolleau, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay at first, an organic sparkling wine upscale style, without prohibiting more or less long term the big jump to a red wine later on.

A bit of history I like that goes with the wines very well indeed ! My adopted Bretagne/Brittany as locals says Breizh!

It was in the 9C that Brittany became as known today. Thanks to the victory, during the battle of Ballon in 850, won over the Franks, by the Breton king Nominoë. But it is precisely in  August, 851, that the birth of the present limits of Brittany can be attributed. It is the son of Nominoë, Erispoë  who won the battle of Jengland  against Charles the Bald in 875. The latter was the grandson of Charlemagne and future emperor of the Carolingian Empire. This victory definitely seals the borders of Brittany by integrating the counties of Nantes and Rennes.(All of Brittany today in addition to dept 44 Loire Atlantique).

Few countries in Europe can claim such stability in their territory. The positioning in the far west of the European continent, a peninsula bordered largely by the coastline, partly explains this geopolitical stability. It was then the 1st Duke of Brittany Alain Barbe Torte who, after driving out the Vikings, made Nantes the capital of Brittany in 925.(and why you have in Nantes the castle of the dukes of Brittany!!!).

The Breton wines (meaning Nantais)  are already at the time export wines. They will remain so until today with good times and dark periods. Depending on the political and military contexts of the times. The Breton vineyards of southern Brittany (Loire Atlantique dept 44), which Cabernets and Pinot Noir. But,also Grolleau, Gamay and Malvoisie. This Breton vineyard, the largest European vineyard of dry white wine also produces red wines and rosés, to discover and taste. But the best known are Muscadet and Gros Plant. However, I have already a post on the Nantais wine and some communities such as Clisson so will stop here for that.

A fascinating story to be continue as the Breton search to find their wine making roots again in the upper part of Brittany... north of Nantes… Hope you enjoy the story and maybe one day grab a bottle whether in Brittany or the Loire-Atlantique::) In Vino Veritas!!

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





October 3, 2019

My wine world: France!

So here I am again back to a regular hobby of mine for my entire life. True do not write too much on it,but there are several posts about wine in my blog and from different regions of our world. Today is cloudy temps in 16C or about 63F in my neck of the woods, while in our eternal Paris is 55F or maybe 13C and sunny oh well. This is always important as the weather plays a crucial role in how well the wines will be made.

Now lets get to the meat of the matter and tell you about the latest news in the wines of France especially the less famous crus bourgeois of the Médoc!

From one vintage to another  to be or not to be considered Cru Bourgeois. The handicap is more or less important according to the notoriety of the property. It’s a bit complicated to understand.  A  Cru Bourgeois can be a year and not be the next one, to appear or not in the official selection for a given vintage, the following or the preceding one. Either because it chose not to compete at all and did not submit samples in year N, but may review its choice the following year; either because the samples presented did not convince the jury on this vintage; either because it has unfortunately not disposed of the volume required to compete (harvest amputated by frost or hail …). Life is never so simple even in the wine business!

Thus, for example , Gressier Grand Poujeaux is not part of the official selection 2019: its 2017 vintage was devastated by frost, the château did not compete;  for the 2018 vintage, the fault of late blight. Nevertheless, their 2015 and 2016 vintages have earned the Cru Bourgeois label and are currently on the market. The rule will therefore change with the next classification since the label will be issued for 5 years. To be or not to be considered  Cru Bourgeois from one vintage to the next, the handicap is more or less important according to the notoriety of the château. Gressier Grand Poujeaux, draws its pin of the game by playing thoroughly the card of Chasse-Spleen. Historically, both properties come from the same domaine, Gressier. In the 19C and according to the legacy, part became Gressier Grand Poujeaux, the other Chasse-Spleen. Céline Villars-Foubet inherited Chasse-Spleen but it is she who recreated the old estate Gressier in its entirety by buying in 2003  Gressier Grand Poujeaux, a jewel of 25 hectares.

Initially, she thought to enlarge Chasse-Spleen with Gressier Grand Poujeaux. But everything tasted in the old vintages of this wine was excellent. Gressier Grand Poujeaux being the oldest brand of the Moulis appellation, was decided to keep it. In 2003, Chasse-Spleen was distinguished “cru bourgeois exceptionnel” and Gressier Grand Poujeaux “cru bourgeois superiéur”. The classification was split in 2007. Result, Chasse-Spleen has slammed the door of the crus bourgeois, Gressier Grand Poujeaux remained … but not for all vintages. Now presented as the wine produced by Chasse-Spleen,  the cuvée  sold directly by the property and online via the market place, it does not really need the umbrella “cru bourgeois”.

From Saint-Estèphe to Margaux, an oenological stroll through some of the finest Bordeaux vineyards labeled Crus Bourgeois. These are just some of my favorites ok.

CHÂTEAU LE CROCK (Saint-Estèphe): This is the other nugget of the Cuvelier family, owner of the grand cru classé Léoville Poyferré and Moulin Riche (AOC Saint-Julien). Crock joined the family of Crus Bourgeois in 1932. In 1855, it had missed the classification because George Merman, the owner at the time, had not, as a member of the selection committee, presented his wine, while critics gave him every chance to access it. The connoisseurs have never lost sight of this vintage though. Didier Cuvelier, after forty years of good and loyal services, has retired (between consulting and promotional trips), Olivier is at the head of the trading division of the family and chairs the Alliance des Crus Bourgeois. The soil of Garonne gravel and surface sand, clay in the subsoil, is planted in Cabernet Sauvignon and cabernet Franc, with a third of Merlot and 5% of Petit Verdot. The property has made the choice of reasoned culture. The 18-month aging benefits from 30% new French oak barrels.

CHÄTEAU LILIAN LADOUYS (Saint-Estèphe) Lilian Ladouys was the first acquisition of Jacky and Françoise Lorenzetti, in 2008. The goal has been to place the wine among the best of its appellation and the Alliance of Cru Bourgeois. The vineyard has been regrouped, refocused on the good terroirs of the heart of the appellation, in gravel (80% of the area now) and sandy-clay colluviums. Of the 75 hectares in production, it  tend towards a grape variety of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon , merlots (45% of all, grown on clay-limestone soils), 4% Cabernet Franc and 4% of Petit Verdot. In 2009, the first Lorenzetti vintage was rated by The Wine Spectator magazine as one of the top four Saint-Estèphe, alongside three classified growths, Cos d’Estournel, Calon-Ségur and Montrose. The 2011 vintage ranked in the top 100 of the magazine, the Coupe des Crus Bourgeois for 2012.

CHÂTEAU PALOUMEY: (Haut-Médoc) “Paloumey “ is the place where the pigeons go. It is restructure vineyards of 35 ha of cabernet sauvignon (55%) and merlot (45%).The 2018 vintage three Stockinger barrels (medium heat) of Tronçay oak, one of 500 liters, two in 228 liters of which one was made according to the principles of biodynamics, with an expected effect on the aromatic expression. They had the energy needed to tackle several projects at the same time, like taking care of La Garricq, 3 hectares of AOC Moulis (ex-cru bourgeois), La Bessane, 3 hectares in Margaux, while developing wine tourism in Paloumey , with multiple visits, educational workshops and a shop that achieves nearly 20% of sales.

CHÄTEAU DE TAILLAN (Haut-Médoc). They mark the border between Médoc and Graves where the property was located when the ancestor Henri Cruse (Amélie Cruse current owner) acquired it, in 1896. The wines represent today 60% turnover, wine tourism and property sales, 40%. The property comprises 32 hectares, 30 hectares in AOC Haut-Médoc red (70% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Cabernet Franc) and, unusually, 2 hectares in Bordeaux whites (Château La Dame Blanche, 100 % Sauvignon Blanc). The vaulted cellars of the 16C are unique in the Médoc, tasting and thematic visits, and open its park with century-old trees for walks and picnics. One twenty thousand bottles of this soft, greedy, suave cru bourgeois vintage and on the fruit, aged 12 months in barrels (20% new, 50% of older wine) are produced each year and sold half for export (and on the very chic Singapore Airlines) With his daughter Margot Falcy, designer, she opened a mini-concept store in the shop, where you can find Margot’s jewels and a line of objects with Taillan and La Dame Blanche logos.The black cocker and mascot of the castle is at the top of the list. In 2005, Armelle was the founder of the Médocaines association, bringing together Paloumey, Loudenne and La Tour de Bessan, to boost wine tourism, and there are still some joint visits with Paloumey, a property in contrast. with the Taillan.

CHÂTEAU BEL AIR GLORIA: (Haut-Médoc) .Of all the properties of the domains Henri-Martin, it is the only one that is not in AOC Saint-Julien and it is without doubt the least known. But like Château Saint-Pierre (4th Grand Cru Classé in 1855), Château Gloria (created piece by piece by the founder Henri Martin between the 1930s and 1970s), Château Peymartin, his second wine, and finally Château Haut- Beychevelle Gloria (the historical heritage of the family), Bel Air Gloria enjoys the same care, the same technical facilities, the same consultant , Éric Boissenot. Formerly called Bel Air, it had developed and attached clearly to their properties by adding, since the 2014 vintage, the famous “Gloria”. The vineyard today extends over 34 hectares very qualitative, divided into three blocks: on the banks of the river on clayey gravels, conducive to merlot; around the village, on sandy gravels, favorable to Cabernet Sauvignon (75% majority); on the plateau at the border of Saint-Julien, the best part, on sandy clay and limestone. As in Saint-Julien, the vineyards of Bel Air Gloria are worked in organic and bio-control. The château is considered cru bourgeois since 2003, the property has been nominated for the additional mention” cru bourgeois supérieur “.even aspire to the exceptionnel label as for the wine itself, but some criteria, concerning the history or the architectural heritage of the property (Bel Air Gloria is a castle without castle), did not allow it. The cru bourgeois vintage is distributed exclusively  in supermarkets, but obviously better valued for export according to the attractiveness of the vintage. This is a Médoc wine, therefore with a potential for aging, but, aged one year in 25% new barrels to preserve the fruit with a discreet woody, it is also accessible young.

CHÂTEAU LAMOTHE-BERGERON (Haut-Médoc): The vineyard of 67 hectares of beautiful Garonne gravel that look at the river, as they say in the Médoc of the best terroirs, and the technical facilities are in good condition. The vines (52% merlot, 44% cabernet sauvignon,  2% petit verdot, 2% cabernet franc), while crunching the berries of the different grape varieties. The property (cru bourgeois superieur in 2003) has been nominated for the distinction cru bourgeois exceptionnel, which would crown ten years of work. The wine is marketed at 60% in France (wine shops and wine fairs), the rest for export in 60 countries. Cherry on the cork, the premium Nove, less than 6,000 bottles, combines Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Petit Verdot with three dedicated plots and offers a more fleshy wine.

CHÂTEAU MALESCASSE (Haut-Médoc).  They are nominated for the “cru bourgeois exceptionnel” mention for the next ranking of the Crus Bourgeois, in 2020. The priority was to restructure the vineyard of 40 hectares in one piece, planted on a poor sandy stony soil on a limestone substrate. In seven years, it has been almost entirely restructured for the benefit of Cabernet Sauvignon (49%), with a majority of Merlot (45%) and Petit Verdot (6%). Remain 2 hectares to complete in two years the replanting program, mainly in Cabernet Sauvignon. Merlots were replanted in the lower parts of the estate, cabernet sauvignons moved to the top of the gravelly crest, the density increased to 10,000 feet per hectare. On 32 hectares in production, 31 hectares are planted between the rows of cereals and 9 hectares of grass, so as to decomposet the soil and bring them back to life while controlling the vigor of the vine. 8 hectares are in organic trials. The cellar is painted in black, velvety setting for the 400 oak barrels, and a sculpture of Bernar Venet sits in front of the château. The malolactic fermentations take place in 30% of new wood, the wines are aged 14 months in oak barrels (35% new). Most of the bourgeois crop (45% of the production, the rest in the Moulin Rose Malescasse goes to export. From the oldest vines, it has gained in power of expression and, since the vintage 2015, it is proposed en primeur. Finally, the chartreuse 18C, became a château d’hôtes or guest castle house, punctuated with works of art and objects design, which is rented in full and offers two suites and two rooms. Lunches, dinners and tastings are ordered à la carte.

CHÂTEAU FOURCAS-BORIE (listrac-médoc) . A mansion ennobled by a cedar and a majestic chestnut tree, nothing to do however with the architectural splendor pure 18C on the edge of the Garonne river and Château Ducru Beaucaillou, the classified gem of Saint-Julien, flagship of Bruno Borie. Here, you are a hundred meters from the church of the modest town of Listrac. Bruno Borie is viscerally attached to this appellation of Listrac-Médoc, where he also owns Château Ducluzeau, who is in his mother’s family since the 18C. Bruno Borie acquired in 2009 Fourcas-Dumont, which he renamed to his name and revival: clay-limestone soils in majority, and serious in the east and the south, planted with 70% of merlot, 20% of cabernet franc, 10% of petit verdot, in reasoned culture, for the terroir, they are aged 12 months in 20% new oak and 80% of older  wine barrel in French oak, the wood is very discreet. The 4 000 boxes a year are mainly exported to the United States and Asia, the candidate for the “cru bourgeois exceptionnel” mention in the next classification of 2020.The very original label of the wine, dark red and lace of vine leaves, seems to be designated for.

CHÄTEAU HAUT BRETON LARIGAUDIÈRE (Margaux) . The new installations of Haut Breton Larigaudière, under construction, will make as much talk as in its time the futuristic winery of La Croizille, another family property in Saint-Émilion. The De Schepper family is actually five castles right and left bank. These Belgian merchants from Ghent, originally manufacturers of gengiévre and liqueurs, began production in 1950 with the acquisition of Tour Baladoz in Saint-Emilion. Then, in 1964, Haut Breton Larigaudière, the cru bourgeois in AOC Margaux; in 1994, Château Tayet (formerly Les Charmilles) in AOC Bordeaux; in 1996, La Croizille, a Saint-Emilion Grand Cru next to Tour Baladoz; and finally, in 2004, Lacombe Cadiot in AOC Bordeaux. Today, this property constitute of 15 hectares, divided into twenty plots with very different soils, deep and sandy on Arsac (3.5 hectares), and serious clay on Soussans (11.5 hectares). Cabernet Sauvignon accounts for 70 per cent of the total, followed by Merlot (25 per cent) and Petit Verdot (5 per cent), planted at 10,000 pied per hectare. It took twenty years of effort to ensure that the vineyard, in sustainable agriculture, certified ISO 14001 and HVE3, gives its best. After pre-fermentation cold maceration, 15 to 30 days in vats, concrete and stainless steel, parcel vinification, limiting pumping and racking, the great wine is aged in barrels for 15 to 20 months in French oak barrels, of which 50 to 100% new barrels. The trading activities of the De Schepper family, 70% for export, 30% in France excluding large retailers.

And voilà found me a label to put up here for the record ok; CHÄTEAU HAUT BRETON LARIGAUDIÈRE !


And something I wrote some before in my previous post Some News from France CCXLVI.

The official selection 2019 has just dedicated 226 châteaux on the 2017 vintage. Two hundred and twenty-six castles in seven Médoc appellations (Médoc, Haut-Médoc, Listrac-Médoc, Moulis, Margaux, Pauillac, Saint-Estèphe). A significant decrease compared to last year’s selection. It can be explained by the fact that the frost has strongly impacted the harvests, some châteaux have not even harvested anything or too little to present themselves to the selection. Almost 79% belong to the first two and less than 14% to the three most prestigious.

Until this selection in 2019, for those who remained in the Alliance des Crus Bourgeois Médoc and for the merchants, the process was to validate annually the quality of a wine on a vintage for a given volume guaranteed to the consumer. Each chateaux and each stage of the labeling is controlled by the Alliance and an independent verification body. The procedure, rigorous, ended up being criticized. Another reason for discomfort: the annual review, the same chateaux can be believed cru bourgeois on such a vintage, but not to be the next year. Not conceivable for the consumer and too difficult to sell for traders … Markets do not like uncertainty. The Alliance des Crus Bourgeois, chaired by Olivier Cuvelier, has therefore prepared for its revolution.

And yes France is moving ahead into the modern world of winemaking at last. After been so far ahead and bringing their grapes , production, know how to all over the world; it is time they modernized in house too to keep up with the changing markets. There will be pleny of French wine around for everybody! Enjoy it!!! In vino veritas!!!

And if you missed the last wine post here is the official site of the Cru Bourgeois du Médoc with annual selections: Official Cru Bourgeois Médoc in French

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


October 3, 2019

Clisson and its Muscadet!

So here I am back in my regular good old belle France. And as Autumn has arrive and the days are beginning to be shorter , we can enjoy a nice glass of white wine n’est pas? ok so let me tell you something about an area I came to know once moved to lovely Bretagne and I/we are hook on it. The white wines of the Muscadet and especially those in or from the town of Clisson! 

I have written before on the wines of the Loire as wines are my other love. Several posts on wine already. However, let me pinpoint more closer the areas I was talking about as in this case Clisson. The town is very close to the big city of Nantes and is part as well of our backyard for trips lately covering just a day or a weekend away from home. We have even spent a night sleeping in a wine barrel in the middle of muscadet vineyards!

Clisson is in the Loire-Atlantique dept 44 of the region of Pays de la Loire. However, don’t dwell too much on it as that was just administravely done, the real love here still is as in the old monarchy times as Bretagne or Brittany. The area used to belong to Bretagne and still shows! It is actually the Breton wine region!!!

We first got deeply into the wines here when we saw a wine fair in a small property that we like best and decided to come just for the trip, we took a look of the muscadet wines famous in the vineyards Nantaise or Nantes.  This was at the Domaine du Grand Air where there was wine tastings and foodies from the region including the great goat cheese of the Loire. The folks were so nice down to earth wine lovers farmers that we purchase several bottles to take home with us. Eventually we have purchase a lot more as they have their parents living in Guérande and we have friends there so we order and pick up the wine in their parents’ house! great !!! The group here started with five winemakers who decided to share their enthusiasm for the wines of the region and do events of wine tastings coupled with local products. So they hold on some weekend  the  Soif des vins et de Savoirs or thirst of wines and knowledge.  The location of the domaine is at Bourginal a borough of Clisson.  There was sparkling and red wines from the region as well as Sauvignon, and Pinot noir, and Chardonnay etc wines. And we were hook on Clisson!


You have their webpage here , Domaine du Grand Air:



After getting our feet or mouth wet, we have come back and tried other domaines as well. The wines are super and the prices easy a great way to have a glass of wine for chilling or eating at home. Some of these properties or the ones we like the most in this area are: the Domaine de la Vinçonnière,  Château Le Vallon Des Perriéres, Domaine de l’Epinay, and the  La cave des Muscadet.


A bit more on the whole area in a nutshell or glass of wine !

This is the sub region of the AOC Muscadet, occupying an area south of Nantes from the lake of Grand-Lieu to Ancenis, with a point to the south in Vendée ( near town of Saint-Etienne-du-Bois). It covers an area of 11 900 hectares or about 29406 acres), and extended to different terroirs along the banks of the Loire. The grape for this region is the melon de Bourgogne, a very low production grape that gives a white wine to drink young and very good with the fish/seafood platters. Some of them are done with the conservation of the fine Lies which are my favorites, and provides more complex aromas and vivacity of freshness to give more grease and roundness to the wine. The number of sub regions of Muscadet are : Fiefs-Vendéens-Brem, Fiefs-Vendéens-Mareuils, Fiefs-Vendéens-Pissotte, Fiefs-Vendéens-Vix, Gros-plant du Pays nantais, Muscadet, Muscadet-Coteaux-de-la-Loire, Muscadet-Côtes-de-Grandlieu, and Muscadet-Sèvre-et-Maine (the best in my opinion)

The official webpage for the vineyards of Nantes is here:

In a bit more detail but still very brief just to give you an idea. The vineyards of the Muscadet  Sèvre et  Maine in numbers : 2 AOC regional (Muscadet and Gros Plan du Pays Nantais), 1 sub regional Muscadet Sèvre et Maine,  9 AOC  towns Muscadet such as 3 recognize by the governing body INAO , and  6 in process of validation,  400 domaines, one cooperative Les Vignerons du Pallet,  around  7000 hectares,  99% white wine,  Muscadet  is the 1st AOC in volume in the valley or  Val de Loire.

And there you go hope it makes you try it , they are a find especially if you like the fish/seafood platters we enjoy so much off the coast of Bretagne! And if you have tried them, then come on over to taste on site the real flavor of Clisson and its Muscadet Sévre et Maine! Enjoy it

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






October 2, 2019

Some news from Spain LXXXVI

Hah and just when you thought pedmar10 will stop writing about Spain/Madrid well not in a chance lol! Here I am with some goodies of my beloved Spain, far but still close you know how it is!! Anyway, for consolation the weather there is 72F or about 22C and sunny while in my neck of the woods is 61F or 16C and cloudy !!! oh well we cannot win them all.

Let’s get back to the serious matter…of the latest news bit from Spain everything under the Sun!

Among the recent donations of paintings from the 19C to the Prado Museum, that of Hans Rudolf Gerstenmaier is unique not only for its number, 11 works, but also for its concentration in the art of the last years of the 19C and early 20C, one of the main nuclei of its extensive collections and the final section of the Prado. With this donation, which is exhibited in room 60 of the Villanueva building until January 12, 2020, painters such as Hermen Anglada-Camarasa, Eduardo Chicharro, Ignacio Zuloaga and Joaquín Mir are incorporated into the Prado, which enrich the end of the collections of Spanish painting of the Museum, where Sorolla and Beruete are already represented, their strict contemporaries. Hans Rudolf Gerstenmaier  was born in Hamburg ,Germany on September 9, 1934, he conducted commercial studies there. He initially worked in an office that the prestigious Swiss firm Brown, Boveri & Cie, dedicated to electrical engineering and motor development, had in Hamburg. He moved to Spain in 1962 to start commercial business. He first represented the well-known MAN truck company, and later obtained representations of German car houses in the field of spare parts, with the idea of ​​becoming independent soon after. In fact, in 1964 he founded the German car parts company Rudolf Gerstenmaier, which became a public limited company such as Gerstenmaier S. A. By 1970 he began collecting Spanish paintings from the 15C and 16C and then Flemish painting. A third area of ​​his collection was the 19C painting, initially attracted by the sensory vivacity of Joaquín Sorolla’s work and the richness of the matter of Hermen Anglada-Camarasa’s. A great addition indeed and see at the Prado Museum:

The first tickets of the Resurrection Fest 2020 go on sale this past Tuesday, October 1. This is hot! The Resurrection Fest 2020 will be held in Viveiro , Lugo, Galicia (see my post on Viveiro) between July 1 and 4 next year, with System of a Down as headliner. Resurrection Fest 2020 program flagship groups such as Judas Priest, on their 50th anniversary tour, or Korn, with the only performance scheduled in Spain in 2020. Other bands that are also part of the Resurrection Fest 2020 poster are Lionheart, Hamlet, Beyond The Black, Elder, Our Home, Cannibal Grandpa, Dark Funeral, Burial, The Atomic Bitchwax, Thirteen Bled Promises, Amenra, Blowfuse, Vita Imana, Knocked Loose or Madball. More info here:

And this is to protect and defend! The Dolmen of Guadalperal begins to submerge little by little in the waters of the Valdecañas reservoir in Perelada de Mora, Cáceres. It is a slow agony that has begun a few days ago even without the autumn rains. The swamp begins to recover its flow due to the end of the transfer period that every year during the summer establishes the Albufeira agreement committed between Spain and Portugal for the sustainable use of water between the watersheds of both countries. This megalithic jewel of around 7,000 years old did not move from its place of origin. So it was a matter of time before the waters began to cover it until it returned to the depths. known as the ‘Spanish Stonehenge’  the main menhir, one of the fine-grained granite, which withstands the water much better, we can see since of all its engravings only slight few remains. Fat granite are very eroded, cracked and even flaked, if not already split.  Its appearance  this past summer has gone around the world and international media have made numerous reports on this dolmen and even the BBC prepares a documentary series on it. Hope you see it before its gone ! More info here in Spanish:

Something to cheer on more! A first because there is always a first of achievements! The Valencian Elisa Ferrer has won last Tuesday, unanimously by the jury, the XV Tusquets Prize for novels with the play  Temporada de Avispas or Season of wasps, the story of a young woman who is reunited with her absent father and recapitulates a helpless childhood. Elisa Ferrer, born in L’Alcúdia de Crespins (Valencia) in 1983, has a degree in Audiovisual Communication from the University of Valencia, a diploma in film and television script from the School of Madrid and graduated in the Master of Creative Writing in Spanish by The University of Iowa (USA), where she was a member of the editorial team of Iowa Literary magazine. She has worked as a television screenwriter and as a feature film script analyst for the RTVE Fiction department and has published articles and poems in several literary magazines, such as the Temporary Magazine of the New York University or Chicago Mishap. More in Spanish here:

Already eight million people have seen La función que sale mal or the function that goes wrong in more than 30 countries around the world since its premiere in 2012 at the London West End, where it received the Olivier Award for best revelation comedy. And rarely can one say that a success is so deserved. Just released at the Teatro La Latina,in my Madrid (see post on it)  this disgusting work where everything that can be twisted, as the title announces, ends worse, is a succession of falls, mistakes and scenographic accidents that manages to surprise the viewer and make them laugh out loud for two hours. More info here in Spanish:

And to cover everything under the Sun as in Spain! Be Lover, the first erotic market in Madrid that, with its 200 square meters, has become the largest establishment of its kind. Decorated in pastel pink tones with golden details and some purple light, the spaces can be modified and customized according to the demand of the market and its staff, highly qualified to advise and attend with discretion, offers a unique shopping experience that is supported not only in what is offered on the shelves, also in the free WiFi stations, in the relaxation area or in the corners with special promotions. Be Lover-Erotik Market. Calle de Santa Brígida, 4. Metro: Tribunal (lines 1 and 10). More information:

The musical based on the famous film arrives in Spain after going around the world. “Oh, my love, my darling / I’ve hungered for your touch / A long, lonely time.”. The Ballad Unchained Melody, created in 1955 by Alex North and Hy Zaret, is one of the most listened to and versioned songs in history. It has more than 1,500 adaptations, in which Elvis Presley, Liberace, U2 or Il Divo have participated. But it is the version of The Righteous Brothers that has been immortalized in the popular imaginary thanks to Ghost, beyond love (1990), the film directed by Jerry Zucker and starring Patrick Swayze, Demi Moore and Whoopi Goldberg. Now premiere on the Teatro Gran Vía , in a theater where you have the audience a few meters away and with a smaller stage. That will favor the show. More info here:

And a bit on Sevilla , why not, Andalucia at its best.

Metropol Parasol, this wooden building is located in the Plaza de la Encarnación. Cetas or mushrooms named for their enormous white structure, reminiscent of the shape of these mushrooms  occupy the total of what a market was more than a century ago. Visitors can enter this five-story complex to enjoy beautiful views of the city. Before climbing, they have the possibility to discover the Roman archaeological remains of the Antiquarium, found during the construction of this huge terrace. Once up, its meandering heights, with 250 meters up, allow you to know different perspectives of Seville. For 3 euros. Ticket sales at

This immense gothic Cathedral of Sevilla, ( Santa María de la Sede) built between the 15C and 16C. Although the beauty of the interior is beyond reproach, it may be more interesting to access, through its narrow spiral staircase, the upper floor of the Cathedral. There, you can fully enjoy its architecture and its views, which overlook the beautiful Patio de los Naranjos and the Avenida de la Constitución, as well as all the artistic elements that make it up: gargoyles, domes, stained glass and outriggers. The best panoramas can be made with the illuminated rosette that crowns the bottom of the Puerta de Asunción or Assumption gate, placed on the main altar. Entrance: 15 euros; More info here:

On the banks of the Guadalquivir river emerges one of the most emblematic places of the Hispanic city. The Torre del Oro, (gold tower), according to the legend, named for the golden glow that reflected on the river ,it houses a naval museum since 1944, where models, engravings, manuscripts and other navigation instruments are seen. The lower part of the structure is dedicated to the history of the Spanish Navy, as well as to the discovery of America and the first voyage of Columbus. The final point of the tour focuses on the trip around the world starring Magallanes and Elcano. Tickets: 3 euros. More information here:

The tower of the Giralda bell tower of the cathedral is 101 meters high and, at its highest point, has a female statue inspired by the goddess Palas Athena, known as Giraldilla. The structure can be easily climbed, since, instead of stairs, there are a total of 35 ramps leading to the bell tower. They were thus arranged by the one who ordered its construction, Sultan Abu Yaqub Yusuf, to be able to climb to enjoy the landscape on the back of his horse. The upper part includes an extensive vision of the town and all its monuments, with the Plaza de la Virgen de los Reyes and the Patio de los Naranjos at its feet..More info here:

In a separate post I wrote about it and now it is finally open to the public! The Palacio de Liria, residence of Carlos Fitz-James Stuart, XIX Duke of Alba. Tickets for visits, which will be made in groups of up to 20 people and will have an estimated duration of 65 minutes, are already on sale and can be purchased by accessing the website of the Casa de Alba Foundation.  You should not miss the Salon de Goya: In addition to Goya’s portraits of the XIII Duchess of Alba and the Marquise de Lazán, as well as those made by Tiziano and Rubens of the Duke of Alba, the collection also includes important canvases signed by Velázquez (Infanta Margarita) , Murillo (Juan de Miranda), Zurbarán (Santo Domingo de Guzmán) or El Greco (Christ on the Cross), among other artists. The Salon Flamenco: Painting, sculpture, tapestries, furniture, prints, documents and books spread over the 14 rooms that make up the visit round out this unique collection, which today exists thanks to the patronage and collecting work of the Dukes of Berwick and Alba for more 500 years .The Salon Estuardo: The battle of the Amazons against the Greeks and death of Queen Pantasilea is one of the most watched tapestries in the route. In this same dependence also rests the bronze bust that Mariano Benlliure made on behalf of Jacobo Fitz-James Stuart. The Biblioteca or Library: Among the main novelties of the visits, the library of the palace, so far only accessible to researchers and scholars. Its interior has about 18,000 volumes, including bibliographic and documentary jewels of incalculable value. La Biblia de la Casa de Alba or the Bible of the House of Alba: Made in parchment, handwritten in the Castilian language and elaborated between 1422 and 1431, the Bible of the House of Alba is one of the most valuable jewels that welcomes the stay. This piece was commissioned by the master of the Order of Calatrava, Luis de Guzmán, the rabbi of Guadalajara Mosé Arragel. In addition to its importance for language and culture, the codex, in the house of Alba since the 17C, contains beautiful illustrations. More here: Fundacion Casa de Alba, on the Palacio de Liria

And of course wine cannot be too far from my beloved Spain!

The latest statistics collected by the Observatorio Español del Mercado del Vino (OEMV) or Spanish Wine Market Observatory, confirm a trend in recent years with specific exceptions in cases of scarce crops indicating that this country is still in the spiral of bulk wine and bottled wine very cheap, which endangers the future of the sector by canceling profitability for wine growers.  Spain exported, in the first seven months of 2019, 1,268.3 million liters (+ 8.5%), worth 1,534.8 million euros (-8%), at an average price of 1.21euro / liter (-15%). In the report, it highlights the good growth of Japan, Canada and Portugal, which lead the increase in exports volume. On the negative side, sales felled  to China, France, Germany, the United Kingdom and Switzerland, among the main destinations. Portugal, Russia and South Africa lead the increase in volume of Spanish bulk wine exports. These three markets increased their purchases of Spanish bulk by almost 84 million liters, in the first seven months of 2019. From official source:

And now a story that goes way back for me and my family when began tasting/drinking wine at an early age as tradition requires it! And a strong contrast to the article above !

It took then a Spanish family now call Catalan family go figure with our times. A Catalan family that had been in the wine business for a couple of centuries was going to bring modernity thanks to one of its young members, Miguel A. Torres, who went to study viticulture and oenology at Dijon, Burgundy, France (no surprise right!) . His Burgundy formation was going to revolutionize things in the Penedès region and bring change throughout Spain. In 1962 it was precisely that Viña Sol that said “Spanish Chablis – Dry” on the export label. Happy times in which the regulations allowed to fantasize a little with a wine made fundamentally, then, with the parellada grape. First they were their basic and very affordable wines: Viña Sol, Coronas, Sangre de Toro (nice memories of early drinking indeed!!). And then the most ambitious, with that sounded triumph of their Cabernet Sauvignon over large Bordeaux in a blind tasting in France (you got to be establish by winning over the French lol!). The Torres’s went deeper into the recovery and even the rediscovery of classic Catalan and Mediterranean grapes, and began to elaborate from them great wines such as the Grans Muralles (a classic). But the fame of the vast group already in Chile, and with the small and interesting  implantation in California created by Marimar, Miguel A.’s sister, remained long linked to its popular entry-level wines. From their base in the Penedès, and apart from their well-known Chilean and Californian branches, the Torres’s have extended to all Catalan denominations and, today, to Rioja, the Duero and Galicia!  

Some of their very best today according to my tastes are: (region, wine, and year) Penedès: Reserva Real (2015), Chile Manso de Velasco (2012), Conca de Barberà Grans Muralles (2015), Chile Escaleras de Empedrado (2013), Conca de Barberà Milmanda (2016), Priorat Mas de la Rosa (2016), Costers del Segre Purgatori (2015), Russian River Valley California Marimar Torres Estate La Masia Chardonnay (2017), Penedès Mas La Plana (2015), Russian River Valley California Marimar Torres Estate          La Masia Pinot Noir (2014). In vino veritas! Enjoy it!!

More on the Torres’s here: Torres’s family official webpage in English

There you plenty of firepower in my beloved Spain to come back and back and back. Hope you enjoy reading my Some news from articles and I thank you.

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

September 30, 2019

Restaurant: El Anciano Rey de los Vinos, Madrid!

So, therefore, after posting about the monuments and sights of my beloved Madrid will go into the places of shopping and restaurant with a series Restaurant: XXX Madrid or Shopping: XXX Madrid. Hope you enjoy them and do try them when visiting Madrid the food and shopping is an experience to behold in lovely Madrid. For lack of creativity ,I will copy this first paragraph into the subsequents posts! ::)

And sadly, this will be my last post of the new series from my August 2019 visit to my beloved Madrid. I am back but already planning to be back at the latest next year lol! thank you for following me along this most personal series.  From Madrid to heaven and a hole in the sky to look down on it every day!!!

The first time I ran into the El Anciano Rey de los Vinos was back in 1972! I was a poor young teen then but was taken by an older gentlemen of a group of friends who was trying to impress us with his knowledge and purchasing power. He did!

I was fascinated by it and promise one day to come back here. Well it took me a while until 1990 on a visit that came here for tapas and a glass of wine. Afterward and on my married life came here several times usually for a quick drink and tapas. Until this year , when came with my young men sons on a nostalgic trip this time without our dear mom and wife Martine. We were strolling the town and were coming back from the Jardines de Sabatini and the Campo del Moro and it was time to eat.

I made it a point to hold on the hunger until we reach the El Anciano Rey de los Vinos, which is very close to the Almudena Cathedral and a few steps from the Royal Palace on Calle de Bailén. It is one of those bars full of grandparents and people from the neighborhood, and it has been there since 1909. Red facade , colored tiles, high ceilings, carved columns, centuries-old lamps and a mirror rescued from an old tavern on Calle de Trafalgar, today it is still the decoration of this typical Madrid tavern.


The EL Anciano Rey de los Vinos is a classic tapas bar in Madrid. As you enter, there are large plates full of skewers in addition to a list of wines, tapas and portions. Vermouth is made with white wine macerated with herbs and spices that give it its characteristic caramel color. The tradition of the vermouth of grifo takes centuries in the culture of Madrid and lately it has become fashionable again. Served with its olive and a slice of orange, it is refreshing and the perfect drink for the appetizer. And in the El Anciano Rey de los Vinos they put it with a tapa!


There is the option of sitting at one of the restaurant’s tables and ordering portions such as chicken strips in cabrales, broken egg skillet, ham croquettes or sirloin with goat cheese. The El Anciano Rey de los Vinos has all the classic tapas and some others that you will like. The most typical of this tasca is sweet wine, more specifically bottled wine and labeled with the name El Anciano (the elder). They usually serve it with a round cookie made with egg yolk!

In 2009, on the occasion of the centenary, el regalito del torito (the gift of the bull) was created, a traditional dish but with a renewed recipe, and is today the star dish of the house. This is oxtail wrapped in phyllo dough with sauce and piquillo pepper.

As for the decoration, they have not changed much in the more than one hundred years they have been. The walls are painted yellow and have white and green tiles. Behind the bar is a mirror surrounded by blackboards with prices and variety of wines. The tables are white marble and iron and the bar has high wooden stools. There is nothing too sophisticated, but it does have very nice lamps and some images of old Madrid.  It is an authentic experience that has not changed, although the vermouth has become fashionable or people have learned of its status as a Madrid classic. The El Anciano Rey de los Vinos is everything you can ask for from your tapas experience. There is even a terrace for good weather, although it is often full and I personally prefer the bar noise. There is something special about the noise of people chatting with friends with enthusiasm!


The El Anciano Rey de los Vinos is always located at Calle de Bailén, 19, hours from Wednesdays to Mondays from 9h to 00h; the closest metro is Opera line 2.

The building dates from 1886, the year in which the Casa Pedro Martínez house is installed, where coffee was sold, pumkin and tea .. There was, at that time, a botillería ( bakery) whose name was the same as that of its owner, Casa Pedro Martínez, who was famous for its pout coffee, brandy and his tea. That Don Pedro gave his business to Luis Montón who would be in charge of it until 1942. The new owner was called Abilio Manzanar Ortega, it was he who hired a young man of fifteen to work in the tavern. This young man, Constancio Cortés, would be its next owner. Currently, it is the daughter of him, María Belén Cortés who is in charge of the business.


Being in such an emblematic neighborhood, there are many public figures and personalities who parade through this tavern. It is said that king Alfonso XIII escaped through the tunnels of the palace to come here. When Franco died, the tavern was closed for three days, even at night for all the hustle and bustle that was experienced. They were equally entertained during the days before and after the royal marriage, that of the then Princes of Asturias but before and after a lot of movement was noticed, such as the coronation day of Felipe VI.

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here and you must are

Official El Anciano Rey de los Vinos

Tourist office of Madrid on the El Anciano Rey de los Vinos

And my Yelp review fav site on them here: Yelp reviews of the El Anciano Rey de los Vinos

The El Anciano Rey de los Vinos forever! A Madrid institution to be visited and savored and enjoy the views of Royal status. Hope you like this entry and thank you again for reading my series on my beloved Madrid

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


September 29, 2019

Restaurant: La Fiebre, Madrid!

So, therefore, after posting about the monuments and sights of my beloved Madrid will go into the places of shopping and restaurant with a series Restaurant: XXX Madrid or Shopping: XXX Madrid. Hope you enjoy them and do try them when visiting Madrid the food and shopping is an experience to behold in lovely Madrid. For lack of creativity ,I will copy this first paragraph into the subsequents posts! ::)

And while in my beloved Madrid and a game of Real Madrid was on, needed a quick place to see with good ambiance. Nothing better than to ask the locals at the bar as well as the BB apartment we were staying. 100 Montaditos and LAPEPA. !And the verdict was go to La Fiebre! Ok so not been there before but did not want to take a long trek to my usual places near the stadium so we went for it La Fiebre it was! And what a great time we had!!!


The moment we walk in immediately the conversation started , well sort of. I just say I wanted to see the game of Real Madrid vs Valladolid that was on that night! Right away the staff came over us and a nice looking lady and very kind took me and my sons to the back , the VIP room lol!! TV on all walls nice low level seats small tables slighlty lit we were in heavens!!! Soon ,thereafter a couple of groups of 4 came in as well and before you knew it the uuhh and ahhh were going all over the place lol!! And the pints too mind you lol! And the game was badly played and we tied 1X1!



La Fiebre (the fever) is at Calle del Principe just before Plaza de Santa Ana which  is a great tourist attraction for those who come to eat at this bar after a long walk. The La Fiebre is a great get together and excellent football/soccer/sports screen TV all over to watch the games. In addition, their generous empanadas, their tasty nachos and their perfectly elaborated tapas are among those dishes that should not be missed at La Fiebre. Do not miss the opportunity to try their good cold beer which we did with Paulaner, Guinness beers. This place has extraordinary frapes too among its drinks, and a nice selection of non alcoholic drinks as well. . The warm atmosphere of this place allows you to relax after a hard day at work or just a long walk in the city!


We were charmed by the exterior decor, and the interior was even better! Very cozy bar with sofas or chairs to sip a cocktail, eat small dishes or desserts. Cool and relaxed atmosphere. Super nice place, nice atmosphere and nice waiters. A pleasant time spent in this small bar very cozy and warm. Note, the 2 tables of the entrance on the sides very nice to feel the atmosphere of the street and very romantic me think!


It has no webpage, Calle del Principe 16-18 is it and the Yelp reviews will help the others as I am convince already La Fiebre is a great place. Yelp reviews on La Fiebre

Been on a nice architecturally and historical area of my beloved Madrid and an interesting street, let me dwell a bit on the history I like here please

Its fine layout unites two of the most beautiful squares in Madrid, the Plaza de Canalejas with that of Plaza de Santa Ana, two exquisite enclosures that endure the passing of the years with ease. Calle del Principe is destined to unite forever a path full of history, a delicious walk that encloses, in one of its corners, a legend of love and spirits.

The first thing that I like to clarify is to which prince is dedicated this discreet street although you will not have it so easy. With the Calle del Principe there are several theories as its name. One is that it is due to Felipe II, or that it was named to commemorate the birth of Felipe IV, however, other writers say that the route was dedicated to Muley Xeque, Prince of Fez and Morocco, known as the Black Prince.

To give no doubts , we are going to resort to our most universal writer, Miguel de Cervantes, who when writing the Viaje del Parnaso or Journey of the Parnassus, at that time he lived rented house in Calle de Huertas and tells us that he lives next to the Palace of the Black Prince. Therefore, it seems that the last hypothesis, thanks to the writer’s note, is the one that charges the most truth!!

In it the Corral de la Pacheca and the Corral del Príncipe were located, the latter in the place where the Teatro Español (Spanish Theater) is currently located! Nice history of my beloved Madrid!

So, therefore, do visit La Fiebre and Calle del Principe in lovely Madrid! And remember, happy travels , good health, and many cheers to all!!!




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