Archive for ‘Food and Wine’

November 22, 2022

The wines of Portugal ,and then Porto !!

I will talk about the wines of Portugal and especially about Porto. I have tried several Portuguese wines over the years and in Portugal. My best souvenirs have been drinking the porto wines. This post is about them.The wine producing Douro region is the third oldest protected wine region in the world.  In 1756, during the rule of the Marques de Pombal the Companhia Geral da Agricultura das Vinhas do Alto Douro or C.G.A.V.A.D., also known as the General Company of Viticulture of the Upper Douro or Douro Wine Company, was founded to guarantee the quality of the product and fair pricing to the end consumer. I am updating this older post with new fresh text and some of my favorite bottle labels! Hope you enjoy it as I

Port wine  or vinho do Porto (Portuguese) are fortified wines produced exclusively in the Douro Valley in the northern provinces of Portugal. It comes in sweet red wine often served as dessert wine although it came come as dry semi dry and white varieties. The wine produced is then fortified by the  addition of aguardente (an eau de vie from sugar cane or grapes) in order to stop the fermentation, leaving residual sugar in the wine, and to boost the alcohol content.  The fortification spirit is sometimes referred to as brandy ,but it bears little resemblance to commercial brandies. The wine is then stored and aged often in barrels stored in a Lodge (meaning “cellar”) as is the case in Vila Nova de Gaia just across in the Douro river ,before being bottled.  Also, in the area around Pinhâo and Sâo Joâo da Pesqueira  considered to be the center of port production, and is known for its picturesque quintas estates clinging on to almost vertical slopes dropping down to the river.

The area is sub-divided into four official zones: the Baixo (lower) Corgo, the Cima (higher) and the Douro Superior. Over a hundred varieties of grapes (castas) are sanctioned for port production, although only five Tinta Barroca, Tinta Câo, Tinta Roriz (tempranillo of Spain), Touriga Francesa, and Touriga Nacional are widely cultivated and used. The Touriga Nacional is widely considered the most desirable port grape but the difficulty in growing it and the small yields cause Touriga Francesa to be the most widely planted grape. White ports are produced the same way as red ports, except that they use white grapes such as Donzelinho Branco, Esgana-Câo, Folgasao, Gouveio, Malvasia Fina, Rabigato and Viosinho.

Briefly as much as possible , the varieties are Ruby port is the cheapest and most extensively produced type of port. Aged tawny ports (my favorite) are wines made from red grapes that are aged in wooden barrels exposing them to gradual oxidation and evaporation. As a result of this oxidation, they gradually mellow to a golden-brown colour. The exposure to oxygen imparts “nutty” flavours to the wine, which is blended to match the house style. Colheita Port is a single-vintage wine fortified and aged in tawny style for at least seven years. Instead of an indication of age (10, 20, …), the actual vintage year is mentioned. However, Colheita Port should not be confused with Vintage Port : whereas a Vintage Port will spend only about 18 months in barrels after harvest and will continue to mature in bottle, a Colheita may have spent 20 or more years in wooden barrels before being bottled and sold. Garrafeira is an unusual and rare intermediate vintage-dated style of port made from the grapes of a single harvest that combines the oxidative maturation of years in wood with further reductive maturation in large glass demijohns. It is required to spend some time in wood, usually between three and six years, followed by at least a further eight years in glass, before bottling. In practice the times spent in glass are much longer. Reserve port is a premium ruby port approved by the official regulating tasting panel, Rose port is a very recent variation on the market; it is technically a ruby port, but fermented in a similar manner to a rosé wine, with a limited exposure to the grape skins, thus creating the rose color.

Late bottled vintage (or  LBV) was originally wine that had been destined for bottling as vintage port, but because of lack of demand was left in the barrel for longer than had been planned. Crusted port is usually a blend of port wine from several vintages, although single vintage crusted ports have sometimes been made in the past. Vintage port is made entirely from the grapes of a Declared Vintage year and accounts for about two percent of overall port production. Not every year is declared a Vintage in the Douro. Single Quinta Vintage ports are wines that originate from a single estate, unlike the standard bottlings of the port wine houses which can be sourced from a number of quintas. White port is made from white grapes and can be made in a wide variety of styles. Lagrima, meaning “Tears”, is the name for the sweetest style of white Port. When white ports are matured in wood for long periods, the colour darkens, eventually reaching a point where it can be hard to discern (from appearance alone) whether the original wine was red or white.

The drinking of it Porto, like other wines, should be stored in a cool but not cold, dark location (as light can damage the port), at a steady temperature (such as a cellar), with the bottle laying on its side if it has a cork, or standing up if it is synthetic or metal cap.  With the exception of white port, which can be served chilled, porto or port should be served at between 15-20C (59-68F). Tawny port may also be served slightly cooler. I served mine chilled without ice. Once opened, port generally lasts longer than unfortified wine, but it is still best consumed within a short period of time. Tawny, ruby, and LBV ports may keep for several months once opened; because they are aged longer in barrels, these ports have already been exposed to some degree of oxidation. Old Vintage ports are best consumed within several days of opening, but young Vintage Ports can be kept open for several weeks, if not months when very young.

The official  institute of wines of the Douro and Porto

The city of Porto tourist office on port wine

Ok so now let me give some houses to look for them when buying porto as my favorites of course. Easy to look up their webpages online. These are Fonseca, Quinta do Noval , Sandeman, Ramos Pinto (my favorite see pics),Taylor’s , Graham’sCockburn ,Ferreira, and Rozes. 

There you go folks, enjoy the wonderful world of Porto or Port red or white, we drink both but much prefer the red. A world of their own, hoppe you enjoy the post as I. And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all !!!

November 22, 2022

The Brasserie Paul of Rouen !!!

In my nostalgic saga of my family visits to wonderful places to spent a day in my belle France, I take you this time to Rouen. Who has not heard of Rouen? The gorgeous city in the Seine-Maritime dept 76 of the region of Normandie. We have come here often many times, especially since living closer in Versailles. I have my wonderful memories I like to share and maybe they will become yours too. Hope you enjoy it as I,

This is an update of an older post, Initially we came here from Versailles by car , and once by train from Gare St Lazare in Paris, after getting there from the rive droite station in Versailles, You can do in a day, either way for lunch , and sightseeing, it is worth it, me think,. I like to tell you with a very personal picture about our wonderful memories of the Brasserie Paul of Rouen.

rouen brasserie Paul PF et MF pl cathedrale l oct08

It is located at Place de la Cathédrale ,right diagonally from the Cathedral,  much less ancient than the Cathedral, but just as historic, Brasserie Paul also offers a trip back in time, in the shadow of the memories of Marcel Duchamp who played chess or Simone de Beauvoir, a loyal customer and also Claude Monet, and Apollinaire. Founded in 1911, the oldest brewery in Rouen in activity. The restaurant has kept an old-fashioned charm with its comfortable banquettes, friendly fast service even at lunch with great food and ambiance. You can have croissants in the morning, or dinner out of the opera or cinema. Brasserie Paul offers traditional home-made cooking. The fresh and regional products value the Normandy terroir and Rouen craftsmen, such as the Osmont bakery and the Olivier cheese maker. The years pass but the myth continues!  We tried the house specialty ,apple and camembert turnover with a cider sauce on this occasion,  sublime worth coming back for it, and gladly we did !!. And of course, plenty of Norman cider with great views of the wonderful Cathedral of Rouen! You can’t ask for a better food or spot than this one.

The official Brasserie Paul of Rouen

The Rouen tourist office on the Brasserie Paul

My blog roll favorite reviews Yelp on the Brasserie Paul :

There you go folks, another dandy in culinary magical France. And of course, you have heard of the Norman hole? trou normande=  a gastronomic custom that consists of drinking a small glass of calvados between two dishes. It must facilitate digestion and restore appetite to guests ! Enjoy it like a true Norman! Be there at Brasserie Paul of Rouen!!

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

November 21, 2022

I bring you back to La Roche Maurice !!

Let me take you to another wonderful off the beaten path site in my lovely Bretagne. However, the locals know it well and we love it even the market.  I have enjoyed the visits to La Roche Maurice in the Finistére dept 29, and I am amazed of the monuments of great architecture and historical value here. Let me update this older post on the Church Parroquial enclosure of St Yves, and the Château in La Roche Maurice. Of course, I have other posts on these but this post will be with additional new pictures in my blog, Hope you enjoy it as I.

The parish enclosure of La Roche Maurice consists of a modest Calvary but an ossuary and a church remarkably characteristic of the Leonardo Renaissance. I am translating from the City page on both as already plenty of history from my library in other posts.

First, the Calvary is formed by three crosses representing the crucified Christ surrounded by two thieves in Henry II costume. The current parish church has replaced a 14C medieval chapel dedicated to Saint-Yves . It was built in the 16C. It was first the trevial ​​church of Ploudiry until 1791. The Rohans ceded the land for free and paid numerous subsidies to help rebuild the church, which lasted nearly half a century. Indeed, the stained glass window in the apse dates from 1589; the south portal would be from 1550, the bell tower, 60 meters high, would be from 1589. It is characteristic of the Leonardo Renaissance with its double gallery and its double chamber of bells. The south portal consists of two twin doors, framed by a Flamboyant Renaissance arcade, in which are nestled the twelve apostles. The stained glass window represents in twenty-one paintings the essential scenes of the passion of Christ. The tympanum is divided into fourteen bellows with the coats of arms of the Rohans and their allies. The work was influenced by Flemish art. Made in 1539, the stained glass was removed and cleaned in 1715; the coat of arms broken during the French revolution was repaired in 1870. Revised in 1937, it was removed and saved from Nazis looting in 1942. It was reassembled from July 11 to 20, 1950 after being stored in Valy-Névez. It is framed on the left by the statue of Notre-Dame de Bon-Secours and on the right by the polychrome group of Saint-Yves between the rich and the poor.


la roc maurice ch saint yves side nov12

The rood screen of La Roche Maurice is one of the most beautiful in Brittany. Executed around 1570-1580, in polychrome sculpted oak, it looks like a bridge connecting the two large piers that delimited the choir. This gallery is accessed by a staircase in the right pier. On panels of the gallery, many characters: on the side of the heart, twelve statues in low relief; on the side of the nave, twelve other statues in the round. Above the rood screen stands Christ on the cross, surrounded by the Virgin and Saint John, The external ossuary is a success of the Leonardo Renaissance. The base of this side façade bears a gallery of seven characters, some of which were hammered during the French revolution, symbolizing the various social categories dependent on death, represented at the corner of the southern buttress by a skeleton (the ankou) brandishing a dart and proclaiming: “I kill you all”. At the door of the south gable, we also find another Latin inscription, dated 1640: “Remember, man, that you are only dust”.



The city of La Roche Maurice on the parroquial enclosure:

The local Landerneau-Daoulas tourist office on the parroquial enclosure :

The Château de Roc’h Morvan clinging to its rocky outcrop overlooking the Elorn river by 70 meters: it was in the 11C that the viscount of Cornouaille, Morvan, erected it for its strategic defensive position. The medieval castle then passed into the hands of the family of the viscounts of Léon, then that of Rohan, before serving as a prison. It even becomes a quarry for the reconstruction of the town! Find out more about the site at the Heritage House, located at the foot of the castle. You will find some objects from the excavations. Interpretation panels are also installed to guide you in the discovery of this monument with a square dungeon that few buildings of this type have preserved in Brittany.




The City of La Roche Maurice on the castle

The local Landerneau Daoulas tourist office on the Roc’h Morvan castle

And of course, left out from previous posts on La Roche Maurice but we need to eat and so we did grandly at the Auberge du Vieux Château,Rare but will include this personal picture here for reference to the restaurant, It is me and my oldest son, For generations, families from Landerneau and the surrounding area have flocked to the table at the Auberge du Vieux Château, Sadly , I read in local newspaper ,the owners of 33 years are retiring tired of the pandemic covid and the resto is for sale, This was a memorable lunch,indeed. To be continue…


The official Auberge du Vieux Château

The RestaurantGuru reviews on the Auberge du Vieux Château:

There you go folks, another dandy in my lovely Bretagne. These are great architecture and history of the medieval period with nice views , worth the detour to La Roche Maurice to see the Château de Roc’h Morvan and the Church Parroquial Enclosure of St Yves. Hope you enjoy the post as I.

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

November 21, 2022

Curiosities of Josselin and Loudéac !!

Going just north of me ,I like to update this older post on pretty Loudéac in pretty Côtes d’Armor dept 22, and awesome Josselin in my beautiful Morbihan dept 56, both in my lovely Bretagne.  We have been to Josselin before that we enjoyed very much; we had time so we ,also,visited Loudéac! I l will post on the tales of two wonderful towns of my lovely Bretagne!

Josselin  has a thousand years of history and home of the noble family of the Rohan.  It is just about 45 km from my house and easy to get there on the road D768.  We headed for Josselin, and found easy parking at the Place d’Alzey right by the Hôtel de Ville or mayor’s office and behind the great Basilica. We did visited the usual wonderful buildings of the City with posts in my blog, such as the Basilica Notre Dame du Roncier, and the Castle of the Rohan, (see posts) as well as the new look at the Chapelle de la Congrégation as it is more popular known today. 


We did had time of course to eat and shop here always lovely. We re visit the Le Guethenoc restaurant ,11 Place Notre Dame, just facing the side of the Basilica Notre Dame du Roncier. It is our central place for eating here, and we had  pizza guethenoc, omelette jambon fromage, tagliatelles bolognaise, hamburger Rital ,omelette italienne, drinks for Leffe beers and expresso coffees all for less than 16€ per person, nice in a wooden house, very good nice service, and good local food (my sons going in on pic). The official Le Guethenoc:


We, also, did some shopping as usual across from the restaurant and in front of the Basilica at the Le Feu d’Or souvenir store. Loaded with Breton motifs in celtic décor and this time my sons went for the rings with Celtic dragons motifs. 20€ silver. You will find almost…everything here to take home too! City of Josselin on Le Feu d’Or


As we finished too early to get back home, I decided to show my family one of my old business haunts in my Brittany, and we headed for Loudéac, along the D778, this is Gallo language territory not Breton. We came back for more later on and have several posts on it; for now was just an introduction.

The main rue de Notre Dame is a nice artery with plenty of shops and restos, as well as a rather nice Hôtel de Ville or city/town hall with a bell on top. This is Loudéac, my business trips took me here and stayed at the very nice Hôtel des Voyageurs ,part of the local Brit chain of very good local classic hotels. This one is recommended and the restaurant is nice too as well as underground parking! It gives you a good central location to see inland Brittany very nicely.




The city of Josselin on its heritage:

The Broceliande local tourist office on Josselin:

The city of Loudéac on its heritage/history

The Côtes d’Armor dept 22 tourist office on Loudéac:

There you go folks, a nice road warrior trip with the family. And we came home zipping along the D700 then the D768 ,to our home and comfy with goodies to eat and drink and thinking where to go next lol! Hope you enjoy the post and the combination of Josselin and Loudéac, as I.

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

November 20, 2022

The wines of my Tenerife !!!

Ok so let me tell you a bit about a loving subject of mine and my deep roots. I will tell you a bit on the history and wineries of my beloved grandparents home of Tenerife. The story is a condense article out in the El Mundo newspaper of Madrid on the wines of Tenerife. My grandparents on both father and mother’s side used to tell me that their wine may be sour but it is our wines! Well, they have improved enormously over the years and now they are very good indeed. Hope you enjoy the story on the wines of my Tenerife as I. 

The absence of phylloxera has allowed to preserve more than 80 vine varieties, many of them endemic, nonexistent in other lands. That makes it possible to name the lucky wines. The importance is not the years of the vineyard but the quality with which the vineyard is worked; The braided cord in La Orotava; the glasses in Vilaflor, in Güímar and in Santiago del Teide; the trellises in Ycoden; the low grapevines in Tacoronte; the free system (margullón) in Taganana … But the most important thing is that our vineyards are not born from the nursery, they are planted either from my neighbor or from the same vineyard, in this way the genetic material of each zone is the same for five centuries !

For centuries the vine is also one of the main crops of the island. The vineyard came to Tenerife with the first Europeans in the 15C,more precisely in 1497, when  the Portuguese Fernando de Castro planted the first vineyard on the soil of Tenerife, attracted by the fertility of its volcanic soils. Little suspect then that their crops would be the beginning of a whole wine culture that remains today. In 1985, the first denomination of origin was born that is granted to the island, more specifically to the wines of Tacoronte-Acentejo, which drives the wine sector in Tenerife again and since then it has become an indispensable part of its agriculture. Here it is produce wines with aromas and special flavors that are the ideal companion for the dishes of Tenerife’s cuisine. It is a question of elaborations of great typicity, result of the volcanic and atlantic character of Tenerife. The Island has five distinct wine regions: Tacoronte-Acentejo, Ycoden-Daute-Isora, Valle de la OrotavaValle de Güímar, and Abona. In these areas, the rich volcanic soil in which the vines are grown gives them a special character and different nuances. A special mention deserves the wine made with the Malvasia grape. Its demand during the  16-17C was incessant on the part of Europe and the main royal houses of the continent tasted it with assiduity. Even William Shakespeare or Walter Scott talked about them in some of  their works.  And many others came to taste in addition to the latter two were  Herman Melville, Lord Byron or Robert Louis Stevenson; with him they surely celebrated the victories, and tried to drown their defeats, Captain James Cook, Admiral John Jervis and the navigator Horatio Nelson. There are historians who point out that Malvasia was raised in Tenerife and not in Madeira with which Benjamin Franklin offered the signing of the Declaration of Independence of the United States of America.

In Tenerife you can find different ways of growing the vine depending on the region and the type of grape. In the region of Tacoronte-Acentejo, the low parcels (0.80 mts) prevails, supported by forklifts anchored to the ground. In the Valley of La Orotava, on the other hand, highlights the laborious braid or drag system. In the Ycoden-Daute-Isora region you can find several systems, such as trellis, irregular vase or low vine, and more recently trellis cultivation. In the south of the island by Guimar  the low parcels predominates supported on pitchforks in the perimeter of the plots, while in the higher areas (such as Vilaflor, in the county of Abona, or the Pelados de Güímar) can be found crops with vase driving .

One of the keys to the success of the Tenerife wines are the different native varieties of pre-phylloxera vine that are grown on the island, which can not be found in the rest of the country. Listán Blanco, Malvasía, Gual, Albillo Criollo, Vijariego, Moscatel, Marmajuelo and Verdello are the grapes used to make white wines, while the rosés and red wines come from the Listán Negro, Negramoll and Tintilla grapes. The Malvasía grape stands out in white. It is an especially aromatic berry, one of the oldest known, and which was already used in the past to make Canarian wines so appreciated in Europe. It is a different strain to the one elaborated in the rest of Spain or in Lanzarote and reaches in these latitudes all its quality and potential of expression. The Listán Negro variety, very resistant and vigorous, is recognized by its medium size and dark color clusters, produces aromatic and fruity wines of great typicity. The Negramoll grape is also very appreciated for transferring a velvety touch to the wines.

The first wines produced in Tenerife were white. Malvasia wine production was, for several centuries, the main economic engine of the island of Tenerife. Their quality and taste made them one of the most sought-after in the world, especially in Europe: In the Old Continent, these famous wines known as Canary Sack were highly valued. Especially appreciated are the dry whites made with white varieties Listan Blanco, Albillo, Verdello etc. and even Malvasia, as well as mono-varietals either in mixture or blend  between them. Although the rosé wines of Tenerife enjoy a careful production, this is less than in the case of white and red wines.

White wines are the star of the wine production of the Valle de Güímar Designation of Origin, since they account for 80% of the production. Its color presents tones between pale yellow and straw, even golden, and is characterized by a fresh and fruity taste. The aroma of these white wines is medium intensity, with touches of fruit and fresh grass. Rosé wines are highly appreciated for their aroma of red fruits, while red wines are recognized for their earthy notes. Other varieties are the sweet wine, with hints of honey; sparkling wines with a very fine bubble and persistent crown, slightly acidic; and needle wines with notes of nuts and slightly spicy. The Valley of Güímar Designation of Origin covers the town of: Arafo Candelaria (paternal grandpas from here !!) ; and Güímar. My family background from grandparents and older generations! The denominations of origin are the best wines from the regions of Abona, Tacoronte-Acentejo, Valle de Güímar, Valle de La Orotava and Ycoden-Daute-Isora holding this distinction. They benefit from the richness of the volcanic soils of Tenerife, the excellent Atlantic climate of the island and the care and professionalism with which they are made.

Some of my best Bodegas and wines from my dear Tenerife are:

The first Canarian wine scored with 97 points in Robert Parker’s guide is Táganan parcel Margalagua 2017, The Táganan from the Margalagua plot is born in red basalt soils, it is an elegant, complex, saline, deep wine. In the limestone soils, more structured wines are born, elegant, with depth; in the vertical granite, longer than wide, with lower middle palate, direct; in basalt soils they are direct, fresh towards the end of the mouth and the wines of the sandy volcanic soil are … We have very young soils in Taganana: they are from two to three million years old. Maybe a Listán Negro grape because it is a well adapted variety and is the one that best expresses the soil in the Canary Islands and is the most widespread.webpage:

Bodegas Monje (the best) try their Listan Negro or Dragoblanco Seco (dry). The winery occupies 17 hectares of a beautiful estate of stony but very rich soil, fruit of the volcanic action and its strains grow on the slope of a hill facing the Atlantic Ocean, so that its grapes directly receive the sea breeze and the rays of the Sun almost permanently creating a perfect microclimate for the maturation of the strains. Visiting Bodegas Monje is an unforgettable experience because, in addition to producing magnificent wines, its structure responds to this cultural concept in the broadest sense of the word. Along with large stainless steel tanks where they ferment the wines, other artistic manifestations coexist in full harmony with the wine. More than 60 barrels of American and French oak, some with more than 200 years, alternate with scenic spaces where poetry, literature, theater or music are part of the life of the winery. There is also a fine restaurant and combi of tapas and glass of wines for tastings. webpage:


Comarcal de Guimar or  Sociedad Agrícola de Viticultores or  Agricultural Society of Viticulturists created in 1989. The winery was built in 1993 and a year later the Brumas de Ayosa and Pico Chomarcial brands were created, with a range of dry and simian, pink and red whites. The surface of the vineyards is more than 1,500 hectares, located between 200 and 1,500 meters high. Its excellent Sparkling Wines stand out. Webpage currently in maintenance:


Bodegas Insulares de Tenerife.  The winery has 660 viticultural partners from the Tacoronte-Acentejo region. The red wines or Tintos are made with the Canarian varieties Listán Negro (95%) and Negramoll (5%) The whites: the harvest is done since the end of August. They are made with the Listán Blanco variety, with soft pressing of the whole clusters. The rosés are made with the Listán Negro variety. After six hours of cold maceration, a gentle pressing is carried out. Webpage:


More information on the wines of Tenerife are to be found in

The Casa del Vino or house of wine

The Repsol Guide (the Michelin of Spain) on Tenerife wines, especially those Benjamin Franklin toast to celebrate the signing of the US Independance!

The official Tenerife tourist office on its wines

There you go folks,hope you now have a grasp of the wonderful world of the Tenerife wines as view from a wine enthusiast and local point of view. Hope you get to taste and enjoy the wines of Tenerife!

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

November 20, 2022

The wines of Vouvray !

I was recently on a road warrior tour of the Centre Val de Loire region and got me a bottle of this delicious Vouvray. It made me come back to update this older post on the wonderful wines of this area. I have been to Vouvray an exquisite wine indeed.  I like to tell you a bit more on the wines of Vouvray !

The region of Touraine is a sub region of the Loire valley and has a large known production of Pétillant and Sparklers call Mousseux done in red, white ,and rosé as well. The names are Vouvray, Vouvray Mousseux, and Vouvray Pétillant. I like them all ! Vouvray is a white wine of AOC status produced around Vouvray, in the department 37 of   Indre-et-Loire in the Centre-Val de Loire region of my belle France.

This vineyard is located on the right bank of the Loire river, in the middle of Touraine, east of  the city of Tours. The Vouvray appellation area covers eight towns in the Indre-et-Loire dept 37 such as Vouvray, and the neighboring towns of Chançay, Noizay, Reugny, Rochecorbon, Sainte-Radegonde-en-Touraine (attached to Tours in 1964), Vernou-sur-Brenne , and part of Parçay-Meslay.  The Vouvray vineyard was created by the monks of the Marmoutier monastery  founded in 372 by Saint. Martin. During the 14C part of the wine-growing terroir of Vouvray belonged to the kings of France who made these wines serve at their table.

The AOC Vouvray was recognized by a decree of the INAO (national body that regulates the wine industry in France) in 1936 . It was a Champagne gentlement, Mr. Maurice Hamm, whose family was a native of the village of Aÿ in the vineyards of Champagne area in the department 51 of the Marne, which, before WWII, brought the Champagne method of winemaking to Vouvray. He made the still white wine from Vouvray, a world-renowned sparkling wine. The use of the Chenin as main varietal and that of Orbois (also called “menu pineau “) in accessory variety. However, it seems that the Orbois intervenes only exceptionally today in the composition of Vouvray wines.

Still white wine can be drunk in its early youth. Preserved for a few years, it will give off aromas of coing and acacia. Vinified in sparkling, the Vouvray expresses the typicality of its terroir by its lightness and finesse. A less advanced foam intake gives a pétillant wine, a local specialty. These effervescent undergo a second fermentation in the bottle. Before being marketed, these wines must lie on slats for at least twelve months The white wines of Vouvray can accompany: appetizers, cold cuts, crustaceans, fried small fish, cheeses, seafood, cakes, fish in sauce or grilled, white meats in sauce, grilled or roasted, poultry in sauce or grilled. There are many family and independent vineyards, the average structure of the farms is 16 hectares.

The best in my opinion over the years of drinking them are the  Domaine Huet, L’Échansonne ,Domaine du Clos Naudin,  of Philippe Foreau , Domaine des Aubuisières , Caves Rougebec , Jean-Louis Rougebec, and the Cooperative Cave of Vouvray.

The Coop Cave de Vouvray is the cooperative of winegrowers and traditional know-how for 60 years. From this alliance are born the finest fine bubbles Vouvray and the still wines of Vouvray. The guide will accompany you through ther 3 km of cellars’ galleries and will deliver the secrets of the wine making. A commented and convivial tasting will be offered to you and you will be able to discover the shop and let yourself be tempted by the regional products and the cellar items. The Cave des Producteurs de Vouvray is located in the town of Vouvray,  about 28 km from Chenonceaux (town) along the D140 road . This agricultural cooperative is made up of 43 AOC Vouvray winegrowers who manage around 350 hectares of vines. Different spaces: boutique space (sale and wine tasting), Cooperage Museum space (exhibition of objects + projection of a film “The four seasons of the vine”), accessible by a staircase or a gently sloping secondary access , cellars dug in the tufa – 2 km (accessible only by guided tour), hangar dedicated to disgorging and dressing of bottles, inaccessible to people in wheelchairs,but compensated by the viewing of a film in the accessible projection room.  Here you can buy from all properties at their store. The Coop is very convenient because in addition to their wines you can buy the wines of others in the area and load up home like we do!! The official Coop Cellars of Vouvray:



Other helpful webpages to help you understand and enjoy the wines of Vouvray are:

The wines of Vouvray

The Val de Loire wines on Vouvray

The Montlouis-Vouvray tourist office on wineries

There you go folks, you are now armed and dangerous to be knowledable on the wines of Vouvray and do enjoy them , they are sublime. Especially while in the area tops! 

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

November 20, 2022

Wines news of France XXXVII !!

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

This is just in and need to have it here ,update: The sale of wines from the Hospices de Beaune, the oldest charity auction in the world, once again broke a record on Sunday (today) , an emblematic cask reserved for the cause of children winning 810,000 euros. The recipe for this “piece”, as a cask is called in Burgundy, was this year reserved for the Princess Margot and Vision du Monde children’s aid associations. The 228 liter cask (288 bottles) was sold for 810,000 euros (excluding costs), beating by a hair the previous record set last year, at 800,000 euros. The proceeds from the other batches are intended for equipment and the renovation of the four hospitals and six nursing homes, i.e. a thousand beds, which are currently grouped together by the Hospices Civils. The latter do not receive any aid from the State for these expenses, which are therefore entirely financed by the vines given to the Hospices since their foundation in 1443. The official Hospice de Beaune :

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! I am next to the Salon Gastronomique et vins of Vannes Nov 2022. Very good properties and affordable there indeed!

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. webpage:

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! 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.  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”.

These are just some of my favorites in a condense write up ok. Château Le Crock(Saint-Estèphe); Château Lilian Ladouys (Saint-Estèphe); Château Paloumey (Haut-Médoc); Château de Taillan(Haut-Médoc);Château Bel Air Gloria (Haut-Médoc);Château Lamothe-Bergeron (Haut-Médoc); Château Malescasse (Haut-Médoc).;Château Fourcas-Borie(Listrac-Médoc);and Château Haut Breton Larigaudiére(Margaux). You won’t go wrong with any.

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. Indeed they are all over the supermarkets !!

Nothing so surprising about these Cistercian lands overlooking the three villages of Aloxe-Corton, Ladoix-Serrigny and Pernand-Vergelesses, in Côte-d’Or (21). 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!!

Among the great villages of the Côte de NuitsMorey-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.

With skewers of poultry; the ideal, is the red wines of the Loire Valley type Sancerre or Saumur-Champigny  (love it) which give the response to poultry with their fruity, their vegetable tip but also a characteristic sour freshness. But the Burgundy red wines such as the Mercurey or the Beaujolais wines also lend themselves to the game of concordance with this type of food.  Lovers of white wines and skewers that mix poultry, lemon and vegetables will turn to a little fleshy cuvées; Meursault, Pouilly-Fuissé, white wines from the Massif de La Clape. With grilled fish, try the rosés Provencal, the white wines of Cassis, those of the range of Ballet or Corsica enjoy the company of a bar or a grilled sea bream. And with sardines? Prefer the rosés of Roussillon, like those of Collioure powerful, with aromas of red fruits. The rosé, color of summer, is also the wine of the Grill par excellence! Prefer those who possess matter and density such as the rosés of Tavel, a rosé Bourgueil or a Marsannay.  There you go from 45 years of wine drinker, collecting, selling, and diploma guy from France and Spain. Enjoy it !!!

A great men of wine I have followed for several years and enjoyed his wines is Bernard Magrez, owner of four Grands Crus Classés in Bordeaux, and about 40 other domains in the world. Taking aim at developing new vineyards and also to take position in new territories. He had purchased the Château de Sartre and its 33 hectares in the appellation Pessac-Léognan. The castle was owned by the Perrin family, and produces 140000 bottles two thirds red and one third white each year. Now, it will allow Bernard Magrez to offer a complete line of Pessac-Léognan wines of high quality such as Château Pape Clément, Clémentin, the second wine and now Château Le Sartre . This latest purchase will allow a domaine of land of 54 hectares in the Haut-Médoc bordering his other property the Château La Tour Carnet that has itself 180 hectares. The idea is to increase the production of the second wine of La Tour Carnet. He had also made an acquisition of a property of 1,5 hectares in Pomerol as well to add to his portfolio which includes one hectare of Châteauneuf-du-Pape as well as a sign promise to developed wine in the country of Georgia. Webpage:

Tom Sullivan , an American story in purchasing the Château Gaby in Fronsac just over the Médoc in Bordeaux. The vineyards descend to the Dordogne river. There he and his wife owns a mansion that they enjoy spending time in . In little time Mr Sullivan has acquired four properties there, The Château Gaby appellation Canon Fronsac, also Château Moya appellation Castillon côtes de Bordeaux, Château du Parc, appellation Saint Emilion Grand cru and Auguste appellation Bordeaux Supérieur all in bio, He finds the wines from Napa very tannic and pre fabricated so he turns to France and especially the Bordeaux. Today, 90% of his 320K bottles are produce in his properties in France and the wines are exported with good recognition in the USA especially on the west coast but also in Miami and New York. Webpage:

But those who continue to appreciate a good bottle, and there are more and more of them, especially in Paris; no longer hesitate to push the door of one of the 600 or so Parisian cellars shops, almost a quarter of wine merchants have developed their bar. wine and more than 60% offer delicatessen products. La Grande Épicerie du Bon Marché cellars has a clientele 80% Parisians. True national pride, wine is above all a marker of the strong identity of French gastronomy, especially in Paris. What comfort the 87% of Parisians who drink wine in restaurants (against 81% for all of France), but who find the wines too expensive. It must be said that, according to Statista, wines are 26% more expensive in gourmet restaurants in Paris than in the rest of France, and 15% in independent restaurants and bistros. (Of course Paris carries a price!)

An effort to revive the first vineyard in France which had some 42,000 hectares at its peak in the 18C, before completely disappearing after WWII. The numbers are: 14,363 cafes and restaurants were identified in Paris in 2017, which represents 61.3% of Ile-de-France establishments (Source: CCI de Paris Île-de-France). 604 wine merchants are established in Paris, i.e. + 11% between 2014 and 2017 (Source: CCI of Paris Île-de-France). 8,800 bars and restaurants in Paris have an IV license, which allows them to sell alcohol (Source: CCI de Paris Île-de-France). 8.84 restaurants per 1,000 inhabitants in Paris far ahead of Lyon (5.62), Bordeaux (6.77) or Marseille (5.22) (Source: CCI de Paris Île-de-France). 5.40 euros average price of a glass of wine in a restaurant or an independent bistro in Paris. An amount which rises to 9.10 euros in a gourmet restaurant (Source: OpinionWay for Wine Paris). 52% of wine consumers in Paris consider themselves to be enlightened amateurs  (Source: Wine Paris). 250 sommeliers are members of the Paris and Île-de-France Sommeliers Association.

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

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

November 19, 2022

A day at Le Port of Vannes !!!

This is a beautiful lively area of my capital city. I always come by here even for a walk. Most of the businesses that we patronize are close by and today was no exception. Let me tell you a bit more on the Le Port of Vannes !!! Hope you enjoy it as I.

Vannes le port marina boats canal nov22

Popular with locals and visitors alike boaters and tourists thanks to its location in the heart of the city, the Marina is equipped with many facilities: harbormaster cultural kiosk, tourist office, green area  and underground parking le Port. If you want to see lively action in Vannes ,you need to come here day or night. 

Vannes le port capitanairie et resto breizh on canal nov22

Vannes le port tourist office on canal nov22

This time was not a happy moment thus, My Dad Elio had a recurrant on his cerebral infactus or AVC Cerebrale and is in coma at the CHBA hospital of Vannes. The doctor tells me he is fighting and improving a bit but still too early, more tests next week. A loving father and grandfather that I had the priviledge to have and take care as my mom asked me to do before she left this world in 2007. Now its all up to God. I will stay home with my 3 sons.

As we had taken reservation to eat out at Don Camilo but due to my Dad entering the hospital was cancelled, we were by there today so stop by without reservation for lunch and ok even took our dog Rex in ! Don Camilo 22 rue du Port is one of the first restaurants we visited when moved into the area but it has been a few years off, We were glad to be back with the same fast friendly service and great food.

Vannes Don Camilo pizzeria dining room to port nov22

Vannes Don Camilo pizzeria dining room nov22

We had our Campione pizzas (ground beef chorizo eggs cream onions, lardons etc) with banana splits desserts and a bottle of Italian Montepulciano d’Abruzzo red 2020 very nice, or for 25,25 euros per person,worth it. No web, RestaurantGuru reviews:

Vannes Don Camilo pizzeria Montepulciano d'abruzzo red 2020 red nov22

The passeport escales on ports and with le Port of Vannes:

The city of Vannes on the Port

The local Gulf of Morbihan tourist office on Vannes

There you go folks,could have been my usual happy post but is not. As said, the blog is my life’s history all of it, ups and downs, good and not so good . This is another test of endurance and I will win as always with now the support of my wonderful 3 young men . Hope you enjoy the Le Port of Vannes and do visit it, worth the detour, recommended.

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

November 19, 2022

A re visit to Saint Nicolas de Bourgueil !!!

I come to the end of my road warrior trip, and again I needed to stop by Saint Nicolas de Bourgueil ,in the department 37 Indre et Loire of the beautiful Centre Val de Loire region. This one is a familar one as been here a couple times for the wines but had time to see some. This time was again invited to the property open house , and could not say no. As was doing my road warrior visits in the department 37 planned perfectly on our way back to stop by the open house of Vignobles la Rodaie again.  These again proves the choices are endless and each time we enjoy a bit more of my belle France. Therefore, let me tell you a bit more of Saint Nicolas de Bourgueil.  Hope you enjoy the post as I.

Saint Nicolas de Bourgueil Dom Cousseau-Boireau wines side open house nov22

 I was invited again to an open house of one of our favorite house wines in the wonderful wine town of Saint Nicolas de Bourgueil. Therefore , again, we could not refuse!!! As said , we planned our road warrior trip to stop by here on the way back home. The town is 293 km from my house. A few years back while attending our now favorite salon de la gastronomie et vins in Vannes,(see posts)  we met a couple owners of EARL Cousseau-Boireau from La Rodaie neighborhood of Saint Nicolas de Bourgueil. It has been an ever increasing good relationship. They have even delivered themselves to our house!!! 

In the open house, again we met Le Canard Roi direct from the farm of  114 Montquartier, Vivy 49680 Maine et Loire dept 49 , no web, and got our magret de canard and aiguillettes de canard,and rillettes de canard or duck by able men Pascal ! Delicious!! We met again, the wonderful red Chinon Vignobles du Pressoir, Daguet family and able Julien where we got our Tradition fruity red grenat pleasant in the mouth ! They are at Le Pressoir, Panzoult web but shown in the Val de Loire wines webpage:  We took this time the Le Fumoir de Maryse with great saucisson sec and cow milk cheese passing on the salmon, They have a Facebook page : .  And we took home a Vouvray brut sparkler from Martine and Jean-Louis Rougebec, more on them here:

And of course , our reason to be there the Cousseau-Boireau vinyards . Heck, here we tried them all again. Starting with our favorite Tradition 2021 vintage, nice again and great price/quality ratio. We tried a new one done by the daughter and son in law as continuation of the tradition, that looks very promising. We got a case of each!  The wine town of Saint Nicolas de Bourgueil showcasing the property and a picture of the owners Christel and Claudine :

Saint Nicolas de Bourgueil Dom Cousseau-Boireau wines entr open house nov22

Saint Nicolas de Bourgueil Dom Cousseau-Boireau wines bibs open house nov22

Saint Nicolas de Bourgueil Dom Cousseau-Boireau wines stock open house nov22

A bit of background on the wines of Saint-Nicolas-de-Bourgueil appellation follows the contours of the eponymous town. The vineyard is located on the borders of Touraine and Anjou, on the high terrace of the right bank of the Loire river. Cabernet Franc dominates, and only Cabernet Sauvignon is tolerated within the limit of 10% of the grape variety. The sandy-gravelly soils, with a clay bottom with some clay-limestone slopes, give gourmet and fresh wines, with lively notes of flowers, raspberries and cherries that will brighten up your table.

There you go folks, always nice to be back in Saint Nicolas de Bourgueil. There is so much to see here and so much architecture and history in the valley of the kings of France! And with great wines too; I am king here too. Hope you enjoy my return to Saint Nicolas de Bourgueil as I.

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

November 19, 2022

A re visit to Bourgueil !!!

I am coming to the end of my road warrior trips, and again I needed to stop by Bourgueil ,in the department 37 Indre et Loire of the beautiful Centre Val de Loire region. This one is a familar one as been here a couple times for the wines but had time to see some. This time was no exception and was able to re visit the Church Saint Germain that was in renovation on the exterior and the halles or covered market. These again proves the choices are endless and each time we see a bit more of my belle France. Therefore, let me tell you a bit more of Bourgueil.  Hope you enjoy the post as I.

The town of Bourgueil is located in the Indre-et-Loire department 37 in the Centre-Val de Loire region. It is located in the heart of the Loire-Anjou-Touraine regional natural park. The town is located in the Touraine Angevine, formerly the province of Anjou. It is at 20 km from Saumur and 12 km from Chinon as well as 301 km from my house.

The Church Saint-Germain has a Romanesque nave contrasting with a Gothic choir. The choir was rebuilt in the 13C in the Plantagenêt style. The front door was renovated in the 12C. It is a rectangle whose vaults rest on four monolithic columns. The keystones are decorated with bas-relief and painting. The old 11C nave was rebuilt in 1888. However, the church was recorded as early as 1002 by a papal bull of Pope Sylvester III. 

Bourgueil ch Saint Germain belltower nov22

The bell tower dates from the beginning of the 12C, it is Romanesque, it is pierced by two semicircular bays on each side.  The original gable is still visible, it is composed of small stones forming a reticule.  The nave as a whole was restored and the side aisles redone by 1887-1888. The Choir comprises three naves of three bays, it is an example of Angevine architecture from the end of the 12C. The arches of the vaults rest on four columns forming a square and surmounted by carved capitals. The keystones and those of the doubleaux are decorated with sculpted figures.  Outside, the corbels bear sculptures of the heads of grotesque figures.

Bourgueil ch Saint Germain nave to altar pulpit nov22

The Halles or covered market constitute the heart of the city, they are surrounded by the main shops and services of the city center. On its south side, the building of the old city/town hall is attached to it, it is from the beginning of the 19C and overlooks the north side of the Saint Germain Church. Les Halles were rebuilt at the beginning of the 19C on the site of an earlier halle. Bourgueil market has long been known to be one of the most important in Touraine.

Bourgueil covered market halles front nov22

Bourgueil covered market halles side nov22

The city of Bourgueil on its heritage:

The Touraine Valley of the Loire tourist office on Bourgueil heritage trails

There you go folks, always nice to be back in Bourgueil. There is so much to see here and so much architecture and history in the valley of the kings of France! And with great wines too; I am king here too. Hope you enjoy my return to Bourgueil as I.

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

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