Paige Donner, host-producer of Paris GOOD food + wine brings you the November ’16 episode of the program, the first-ever English language radio show and podcast about French food and wine broadcast from Paris. To contact Paige for hosting and … Continue reading
Tom Colicchio, celebrity chef and founder of Food Policy Action says, “We’re going to send a clear message to Congress that we’re organized, we’re viable, we’re strong, and yes we have a food movement and it’s coming for you.” Blog … Continue reading
Reblogged by Paige Donner I have a major lemon addiction. I confess. And it’s not just during detox time, after the holidays. It’s a year-round thing. Lemonade in the summer, hot water, lemon and honey in the winter. So what … Continue reading
Delivered straight to your Mailbox… the box of gourmet treats that will inspire your taste buds… and your culinary kitchen prowess too! Brand new in France – Sign up for your Easter Treats La BonneBox now. Click on the link … Continue reading
by Paige Donner This title actually began as a chapter heading for my journal entry about my visit to Champagne Louis Roederer in Reims. But I liked it so much that I’m using it here, too. It just works so beautifully. It … Continue reading
If you’re in LA this weekend – here’s one option where you can munch and watch the fraternal fracas that is Super Bowl XLVII…
by Paige Donner
Rarely do you get such a glimpse of how basic an element wine is to French culture than at something like the Salon des Vins des Vignerons Indépendants. At an event like this one, you really get the feel of how wine is actually a basic food group for the French. It’s not a luxury or something that needs to be “mastered” but rather as elementary to daily life and basic needs as is water.
As a tourist or even as a resident foreigner, this Wine Salon is something I plan trips around and mark on the calendar months in advance. Held this past weekend at the ginormous Expo center that is Porte de Versailles in Paris, I had the chance to sip and taste new and just released vintages from over 250 independent wineries and winemakers from all the regions of France. The question was not a matter of access (entry cost 6 Euro) or accessibility (all the wineries were pouring). The question was whether I had the stamina to last a whole day. If I were a real pro, I would have gone over the course of each of the consecutive five days and prolonged the learning and the enjoyment, the listening and the tasting, stretching it out for every last drop.
The Salon des Vins des Vignerons Independants is something that everyone even remotely interested in wine must attend at some time. As a window onto wine and French culture, it’s unsurpassed. It’s also no-frills. And it’s held twice a year – in the Fall and in the Spring. The only people I envied as I roamed the alphabetized aisles, were those who were savvy enough to have come with their rolling suitcases which they packed full of bottles and cases of France’s most excellent and affordable wines.
Here’s a sampling:
Champagne Philippe Martin
They are located right in the heart of Champagne just between Reims and Epernay in Cumieres. They grow their chardonnay and pinot noir grapes on 10 hectares and produce 6 crus.
Cuvée de Réserve Brut – dry, frothy bubbly. At 14.40 Euro per bottle at the Salon it stands up to any of the internationally known brands.
Millésime 2002 – aged and made with pinot noir grapes as well as chardonnay, the richer, fruitier grape is detectable as soon as the elixir hits your tongue. At 22 Euro per bottle, you can see why I wish I’d had my rolling suitcase with me.
Domaine Gerard Metz “The power of harmony”
The Salon tipplers tended toward the Alsatian wines, I noticed. Perhaps it had something to do with the fact that Paris had just seen its first snowfall of the season this weekend. It’s easy to think of a spicy Gewurztraminer and heavy spaetzle and sausages when it gets cold outside – all things that come from Alsace.
Gewurztraminer Vielles Vignes 2009 at 9 Euro per bottle this tending toward almost sweet gewurz tasted of the grape. In the sense that I almost felt like I had popped a whole grape into my mouth and was drinking of it, and a splash of alcohol.
Gewurztraminer “Cuvée Mégane” 2009 This guy was just shy of a late harvest wine. Its gold color spoke of its autumn, rich flavors even before it made itself known in the mouth. It sells for 13.50Euro per bottle.
Bourgogne – Chablis
It’s just too novel when you come to the realization that these wines you’ve long loved come from an actual place. In this case, Chablis.
Moreau Naudet at 5, rue des Fosses, Chablis offered Petit Chablis, Chablis 1er Cru and Chablis Grand Cru on offer. He ages his white wine for 24 mos. in barrel.
Chablis 1er Cru Vaillons 2007 was smooth and classy; its light golden color reminded me of summer in California. 26 Euro
Chablis 1er Cru Montmains 2008 had lively acid playing throughout the mouth. Well-balanced and a white you can keep for a few years and still enjoy. 26 Euro
Domaine Millet “Intensement Chablis”
The winery is in Tonnerre, still within Bourgogne. The Petit Chablis L’Angelus and Petit Chablis were noteworthy, all 2009. They also had their Chablis Vieilles Vignes and Chablis 1er Cru Vaucoupin for sale and to taste. The maturity of the old vines tend to be the wines I gravitate towards. www.chablis-millet.com
Côte du Rhône, St. Joseph
Domaine du Mortier, Saint Joseph by Didier Crouzet. What’s a wine tasting if you don’t indulge in a bit of the sacred St. Joseph? Part of the geography of Côte Rôtie, a St. Joseph can take good care of you through the Winter. On 10.5 acres Mssr. Crouzet cultivates his vines of character.
Domaine du Mortier, St. Joseph, 2008 A little light. Not often found in this wine or appellation, it can offer a more drinkable alternative to what is usually paired with a good steak or winter roast.
Domaine du Mortier, St. Joseph, 2009 is a considerably more powerful wine. 2009 vintages, like the 2010 harvest, will have legs for years to come. Dark fruit, some wood, wine with a backbone.
In this cluster were three domains that are run by the same winemakers and which are all independent. The majority they’ve brought to market this year have won a medal or an award or even a “coup de coeur” from the Guide Hachette des Vins 2011.
Domaine de Fussiacus Pouilly-Vinzelles 2008. These grapes are from 30-40 year old vines. This lovely tinted yellow gold nectar won the Medaille d’Or Paris et Macon 2010. It was selling for a mere 10.30 Euro.
Domaine Chateau de Chaintre Bourgogne Blanc 2008 is the one which you’ll find in the Guide Hachettes des Vins 2011 listed as the Coup de Coeur. It is burgundy chardonnay and its well-balanced, proper notes and aromas make it a perfect choice for a dinner with family and friends.
Domaine de Fussiacus Vielles Vignes Pouilly-Fuisse 2008 had a nose of citrus and a delicious mouth of calcaire and mineral hints. Another one of those wines I wish I’d bought a case of. 15.10 Euro per bottle.
From this region down near Perpignan which is still part of Languedoc-Roussillon you will find wines that have the garrigue in their molecules.
Abbaye de Fontfroide
A husband and wife winemaking team, Nicolas de Chevron Villette married his wife, Laure d’Andoque de Seriege, whose family has owned the Abbaye de Fontfroide and the vines that surround it for centuries. They have a tasting room, a restaurant and they offer vacation stays. It is also just 15 km. away from the region’s only 3 Michelin star restaurant run by France’s Best Chef 2010.
Abbaye de Fontfroide Cuvée Deo Gratias 2007 A finessed red wine that speaks of the region and the terroir. The nose is aromatic, the mouth hints of the garrigue.
Abbaye de Fontfroide Cuvée Oculus 2009 Though this is a white, it boasts a nutty mouth and an aromatic nose. At 7.10Euro a bottle, it is an elegant wine to serve at table with roasted poultry and new potatoes for example.
Abbaye de Fontfroide Cuvée Deo Gratias 2009 The grapes are Roussanne, Marsanne predominantly and the juice is new barrel aged. 12.90 per bottle. www.fontfroide.com
Why just visit the Eiffel Tower when you can dine at the Eiffel Tower? The Alain Ducasse restaurant 58 Tour Eiffel, located on the “First Level” of the Eiffel Tower lets you savor not just the taste of palatial views at panoramic heights, but also the Parisian version of a lunchtime “pique-nique” or at dinnertime, contemporary “French Brasserie” fare.
Every detail from the color schemes of red iron ocher contrasting with deep chocolate browns to the shapes of the glasses to the ornamental and decorative motifs on doors and menus and kitchen tiles…everything is taken from, and inspired by, the Eiffel Tower. Collaborators on the restaurant’s design are Chef and restauranteur Alain Ducasse himself and also Pierre Tachon.
Lunch will run you 17.50 Euro to 22.50 Euro and gives you a choice of appetizer and main course or appetizer, main course, dessert. Choices include creamy, chilled, green pea soup; seared salmon; Chocolate/nuts Crousti Eiffel. The midday picnic concept is that you are given a picnic basket with your cold items when you arrive at the restaurant and are seated, then your server brings you your hot plate items and drinks.
By 5:30 p.m. the music changes to lounge as the lights dim and the restaurant transforms into a chic and seductive Parisian Brasserie. You may want to ask to be seated on the second floor of the 58 Tour Eiffel, and, if you can, overlooking the Trocadero for that world-famous view. Dinner menu includes choices of the Menu Opera at 65 Euro and at 80 Euro, the difference mainly being whether wine is served with your meal. If you do order a’ la carte, you have additional choices that include lobster salad, seared scallops or sauteed veal chop and then a selection of French cheeses for dessert which is really something I wouldn’t dream of passing up.
Mission Codename: The Fox and the Vine
Operative: Agent White
Objective: Acquire a delicious Pouilly Fumé for our operatives.
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Domaine Bouchie-Chatellier
Wine Subject: 2007 ‘La Renardiere’ Pouilly Fumé
Winemaker: Arnaud Bouchie
The central vineyards of the Loire Valley is Sauvignon Blanc country with arguably among the best examples of the varietal being molded into the world’s best wines. The Pouilly Fumé appellation sits on the eastern side of the Loire River across from Sancerre. The wines of Pouilly Fumé must be 100% Sauvignon Blanc and like its brethren from across the river are heavily influenced by the Terroir with its limestone, flint and marls composition.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Crystal clear light pale straw yellow with subtle green hues that becomes clear water pale along the edges. When swirled, the slightly springy wine clings to the side of the glass before forming legs that descend to the wine below.
Smell – Medium in intensity with bright and fresh aromas of citrus and green tree fruit with mineral notes of wet stone, and hints of subtle herbs and white flowers.
Feel – Smooth, with good weight, this medium bodied wine’s fresh fruit provides a slight touch of sweetness. Dry and crisp otherwise, with lively but balanced acidity.
Taste – Fresh and tart citrus and green fruit, specifically Meyer lemon and lemon creme and green apple is layered over slate and wet stone and steely gun flint minerality and touches of herbal grass.
Finish – Clean, refreshing and crisp, this wine’s vibrant acidity, steely minerality and good weight holds the fruit and other flavors perfectly as it gently fades and begs another sip.
Conclusion – The 2007 Domaine Bouchie-Chatellier ‘La Renardiere’ Pouilly Fumé is a delicious and fresh Pouilly Fumé that shows Sauvignon Blanc in its simply beauty and finesse. A lovely wine to sip on a warm summer afternoon as a prelude to an enjoyable meal. Also pair this wine with grilled whitefish.
SUBJECT: Arnaud Bouchuie-Chatellier, winemaker, graduate of Lycée Viticole of Beaune
AGENT WHITE: Greetings, Arnaud. We are thrilled to be showing your wine today. Thanks so much for taking some time to answer questions for our Operatives today.
ARNAUD BOUCHIE-CHATELLIER: Merci Beaucoup.
WHITE: Was there a specific experience in your life that inspired your love of wine?
ARNAUD: My great grandfather who was one of the first to plant Sauvignon Blanc vines in Pouilly-sur-Loire. He had a willingness to always improve quality through innovation and modern technology while taking into account what we have learned from past.
WHITE: What wine or winemaker has most influenced your winemaking style?
ARNAUD: The wines at Domaine Bouchié Chatellier is made exclusively by family members. The knowledge of viticulture and winemaking has been passed down from generation to generation from the beginning of last century.
WHITE: Who do you make wine for?
ARNAUD: We emphasize natural wines and enjoy sharing this work of art that nature gives is with those who love wines like we do.
WHITE: In your opinion, what makes the Pouilly Fumé so special?
ARNAUD: Our soils are silex or flint, we use the selection massale process of propagating sub-varieties of vines that are best suited to our vineyards. Also, the experience of four generations is present in our vineyards and our cellars. This is what gives our wines their uniqueness and character.
WHITE: What is your objective each day?
ARNAUD: We make authentic and natural wines but above all they’re meant to be enjoyed!
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
· The location of the Domaine Bouchie-Chatellier in the Loire Valley can be seen in this satellite photo.
Yes, the World Cup is just days away. And as you gather with friends to watch the games, you likely will be inspired to do some tastings of the very reputable S. African wines. After all, their vineyards are some of the oldest under cultivation.
A novelty that hasn’t been lost on the nation’s baboon population!
Taking the notion of “critter” wines to an altogether new level, South African vineyard managers have to outsmart and outmaneuver a pest of the monkey variety…turns out baboons find the sugar and starch of grapes altogether irresistible! They particularly go in for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes.
Here’s what’s been reported in the popular press:
Baboons, it seems, prefer pinot noir. They also like a nice chardonnay. Largely undeterred by electric fences, hundreds of wild baboons in South Africa’s prized winelands are feasting on ripe, succulent grapes, forcing winemakers to use noisemakers and rubber snakes to try to drive them off during this harvest season.
“The poor baboons are driven to distraction,” said Justin O’Riain, who works in the Baboon Research Unit of the University of Cape Town. “As far as baboons are concerned, the combination of starch and sugar is very attractive – and that’s your basic grape.”
Growers say the picky primates are partial to sweet pinot noir grapes, adding to the winemakers’ woe, for pinot noir sells for more than the average merlot or cabernet sauvignon.
Wine Spectator’s Harvey Steiman has even gone so far as to report that South African vineyards are now training baboons to harvest the grapes. So if you plan on lending a hand during crush, you might just find yourself harvesting side-by-side with a few brethren baboons…
It turns out that the baboons are actually being trained to harvest the grapes themselves (the trick is keeping them well-fed so that they don’t do any on-the-job snacking). It’s all part of the latest viticultural movement known as FaunaDynamics, in which human labor is all but eliminated in the vineyard. Zoologists at the San Diego Zoo claim their 100 percent FaunaDynamic teaching vineyard will be online by 2014 (rhesus monkey-directed draft horses have just completed plowing a 4.1-acre parcel). Peregrine falcon nests surround the vineyard to protect it from grape-hungry starlings, and several of the zoo’s primates have been sent to the Cape to learn harvest methods from Stellenbosch’s simians. Not surprisingly, PETA has already announced plans to protest the first harvest.
If you’d like to drink some of the wines made from the grapes the baboons go in for, we suggest starting with these:
Quoin Rock [Excerpted from The Wine Doctor]
The Quoin Rock winery is located in Stellenbosch where the climate is continental (warm and dry summers, cool winters), although Carl van de Merwe was keen to stress that the summer temperatures are hot rather than merely warm. He clearly has no problems with ripeness of fruit, although he has had challenges protecting the sugar-rich fruit from the local baboon population prior to harvest; the marauding monkeys have a habit of responding to the sweet aromas of ripeness with a pillaging of the vineyard. The solution has been to install electric fences to protect the harvest and vines.
There were three wines on show from Quoin Rock, including recent vintages of the estate’s Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay. The Sauvignon Blanc is mostly fermented in steel, with a minor portion fermented in barrel. The wine is left on its lees for six months before bottling, the intention being to engender a fuller, more creamy mouthfeel. The Chardonnay meanwhile is 100% barrel-fermented, with 30% of the oak new in this vintage. The third wine was a 2004 Syrah.