Category Archives: Beaumes de Venise

Almost Provence

An old friend was about to celebrate an important birthday.  In years past, we have spent time together in Provence but since this year that is not possible Michele and I decided to create a Provencal menu at home.


We began with a thin slices of duck sausage, olives and breadsticks to accompany a Champagne toast.

Deutz Champagne “Amour de Deutz” Rosè 2008 Made from 64% Pinot Noir from Aÿ and Bouzy and 36% Chardonnay from Avize, Chouilly and Villers-Marmery. Traditional vinification in stainless steel takes place. The base wine is fermented at a low temperature and malolactic fermentation takes place. It is blended with a still Pinot Noir. Discreet fruit, floral notes, creamy strawberries, a touch of pastry.

Our first course was Poached Giant Shrimp with a basil, garlic and lemon mayonnaise sauce.

Saumur 2012 Parnay “Clos Romans” Domaine des Roches Neuves Thierry Germain made from 100% Chenin Blanc from 8-year-old vines on a 0.3-hectare vineyard that is a clos, surrounded by a wall built 300 years ago. The soil is sand, clay, and senonien limestone. Fermentation is in 400 liter barrels for 2 months. The wine is aged on the lees in 400 liter barrels for 9 months. The wine has hints of citrus fruit with a touch of apricot and honeydew and a touch apple. This is a very impressive wine and it went great with the shrimp.

Vegetable  Tian  — Michele  made  this  beautiful  vegetable  gratin,  called  a tian  in  Provence, with sliced potatoes, zucchini, and tomatoes baked on a bed of onions and topped with grated cheese.

Along with the tian, our main course was Breast of Duck with Fig  Sauce garnished  with  fresh  figs.

These are the fresh figs Michele used


Chinon “Les Picasses” 1989 (Loire) Olga Raffault” Made from 100% Cabernet Franc. The soil is limestone and clay. The mid slope vines are at least 50 years old and are worked organically and harvested by hand. The fruit is destemmed and whole uncrushed berries are fermented with indigenous yeast in stainless steel tanks. Fermentation and maceration lasts for 25 to 30 days depending on the vintage. The wine is aged for 2 to 3 years in oak and chestnut foudres of 30 to 50 HL. There is more aging in tank and bottle before release for about four years. This is a full bodied, structured and complex wine with hints of cherry, red and dark berries, a hint of smoke and a touch of meatiness.


Dessert  was  Plum  Tart  with  Vanilla  Ice  Cream.  With  it  we  had  a dessert  wine.

Muscat Beaumes de Venise “Le Pèche d’ Emilie Alain Ignace Made from 100% Muscat petit grain rouge. The grapes come from 60 years old years old vines in lieux-dits Binquillon and La Tuillere and the soil is Miocene marine molasse. The bunches are destemmed and there is a cold pre fermentation. Fermentation lasts for 15 days and fortified with marc. It ages for 12 months in barrel. The wine has hints of cassis, strawberries and lychees. This is only the second time I had a Red Muscat Beumes de Venise.


Filed under Beaumes de Venise, Champagne, Chinon, Deutz Rose, Olga Chinon

A Touch of Provence in NYC

Friends who live nearby invited us for an al fresco lunch the other day.  It was a beautiful day and we sat properly social distanced at two separate tables.  Ours was set up under a pergola.  With the dappled sunlight shining through, the setting was magical and reminded us of our travels  in Provence.

The appetizers

We started with an appetizer of endive leaves filled with a creamy tuna tonnato sauce.

There were crunchy French breakfast radishes to dip in butter and salt, too.


TrentoDOC Ferrari Perlé Method Classico 2011 made from 100% organic Chardonnay from vineyards at 300 to 700 meters with a southeast or southwesterly exposure. The soil is loose not too deep made of volcanic and glacial deposits. There are 4,500 to 5,500 plants per hectare. Harvest is by hand from in the middle of September..Fermentation and aging is in stainless steel and the wine remains on the lees for 60 months. This is an elegant well-balanced wine with hints of apple, almonds, and a touch of brioche. I was very impressed by this wine. Residual sugar 6g/l.

Breads  Bakery  provided  the  delicious  sourdough  bread.

The soup was served in a beautiful hand painted terrine.

It was a  cold  pea  soup  finished  with  a drizzle  of  cream.

Rosè Massoferraro 2018 Azienda Agricola Massoferrato made from 100% Sangiovese, picked early from vineyards located in Impruneta, on a south facing slope just south of Florence. The grapes are picked and are in contact with the skins for a few hours. The wine remains in stainless steel for a few months before release.  This is a fruity wine with good acidity, hints of cherry and a touch of spice.The Marzovilla Family owns the winery. Nicola Marzovilla is the owner of i-Trulli in NYC.


Potato salad  with red  onions,  green  beans  and  herbs.

Grilled  steak  with  sauteed  peppers  and  onions.

On the plate


Gigondas 2008 “La Reserve” Domaine Du Pourra made from 80% Grenache, 10% Mourvèdre, 5% Syrah and 5% Cinsault. From 20 /40 year old vines. The clay and limestone soil is planted with vines that are more then 40 years old. There are organic practices in the vineyard and minimal intervention in the vineyard. Older vintages were aged in Foudres ( old wooden vats), more recent ones in concrete. This is a complex wine with hints of blackberries, cherries, pepper, a touch of spice, undertone of lavender, a long finish and very pleasing aftertaste. It was perfect with the grilled steak.


Michele made and orange yogurt cake which she served with local strawberries and vanilla ice cream.

With the cake and in keeping with the Provencal theme, we had a delicious Beaumes  de  Venise.


Muscat Beaumes de Venise 2918 La Petite Grain D’Antonin Vignoble Alain Ignace. Made from 75% Muscat à petit blanc and 25% Muscat rouge.  The grapes are destemmed and pressed followed by a cool decantation for 18 hours. Vinification is in steel vats for 15/20 days on the lees before the mutage (adding alcohol to the must) This is a dessert wine with hints of rose water, violets. lychee nuts and unstated red fruit.


Filed under Beaumes de Venise, Ferrari, Gigondas, Uncategorized

Visiting Martinelle

I posted a picture on Facebook of the house Michele and I are renting in Beaumes de Venise and a friend that I worked with in the wine business saw the post. He said he spends a lot of time in the area and suggested we visit a winery that was only 10 minutes away. He liked the wines and was sure that I would enjoy them. The name of the winery is Martinelle and the winemaker/owner is Corinna Faravel. She speaks English, he added. The winery is east of Gigondas and north of Beaumes de Venise.


Corinna Faravel

The winery is not easy to find and 10 minutes became 30 as we drove around and, though we were less then 2 minutes from the winery, we could not find it. When we finally arrived there, it was well worth the trip.

Corinna, who told us she began her career in Germany where she worked for two different wine estates, greeted us. After 6 years of making white wine she felt something was lacking (red wine) and made her way to the Rhone where she worked at various wineries. In 2001 she discovered Martinelle, a group of small vineyards, separated by the solid rock of the Dentelles de Montmirail from Gigondas and Vacqueyras. This was exactly what she wanted.IMG_8374

She said it was a one-woman winemaking operation. In the beginning there were only vineyards and it was an exciting challenge to build a winery from the ground up. She realized how closely winemaking is related to nature. For her first vintage in 2002 there was torrential rain and it turned the harvest into a horrendous affair. In 2003, a freak hailstorm destroyed her entire crop. But she knew the incredible potential of the area and in 2004 she was able to harvest healthy grapes. Everything since then has been very positive.

The training system in the vineyard was both cordon and bush (goblet) but all the new plantings will be the traditional bush. Corinna now makes only two wines. She did make a Vin De Table “Le lleme” which was her chance to “color outside” the French AOC laws but does not make it any more. She is also experimenting with other Rhone varities.IMG_8371

Ventoux 2012 “Martinelle” made from 72% Grenache, vines 16 to 49 years old, 18% Syrah vines 28 years old, 7% Mouvedre vines 5 years old and 3% old vine Carignan, young Counoise and Viognier. The vineyard is 8.5 hectares and faces east/southwest. It is Trias soil-decomposed limestone with iron rich ochre topsoil, other parts of the vineyard are richer in clay based soils. The vines are cared for organically. Harvest is by hand in September and the grapes are sorted in the field and in the cellar. The grapes are destemmed but not crushed and fed into unlined cement tanks by gravity. There is gentle extraction with lees stirring. Maceration lasts between 3 to 4 weeks. Malolatic fermentation takes place immediately after alcoholic fermentation. The final blend is assembled and bottled unfined and unfiltered.IMG_8370

Corinna said that she uses unlined cement tanks because they are porous and they let the wine breath.

The gapes in the blend vary little from year to year except in unusual vintages. In 2013 Grenache did not do well. She showed us pictures of the bunches of grapes and there were only a few sad looking grapes on then.

She said that when she makes her wine she must be true not only to the terrroir but also to the vintage, so the blend was very different.IMG_8373

Beaumes de Venise 2010 & 2012 Grenache 75% from 21 to 30 old vines (some as old as 57years) and Syrah 25% from 20-year-old vines from the 2.85 hectare Bramadou vineyard. Corrina said that the decomposed limestone and chalk soil of this lieu-dit-iron rich vibrantly colored soil colored in deep reds and oranges gives the wine good concentration and freshness. This soil is unique to the Rhone valley. It usually lies deep down and breaks through near the village of Suzette where the Bramadou vineyard is located. Corrina said she was very impressed by the color of the soil when she first saw it and knew it would be the perfect vineyard for her.IMG_8368

In the small cellar there is one 2,500-liter barrel that is used to age the Beaumes de Venise

Maceration for the Syrah is 36 days and for the Grenache 26 days. The juice was combined after pressing and malolactic fermentation took place in December. Corinna said that both wines are vinified in the same way.

She feels that her Beaumes de Venise can age and most people drink the wine when it is too young. The 2010 was bright and fresh and showing no signs of age. It is one of the best I have ever tasted.

Corrina said that her wines used to be imported into the US and is now looking for a new importer.

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Filed under Beaumes de Venise, French Red, Martinelle, Uncategorized