Category Archives: Burgundy

The League of Gentle Men Dine at Nice Matin

The League of Gentle Men, an invitation-only wine group of which I am a proud member, held their latest dinner at Restaurant Nice Matin.  The restaurant, located on Manhattan’s Upper West Side at the base of the Lucerne Hotel, is a 25-year-old French bistro.  Eric Starkman, the Chef, came on board last fall after many years of experience at top kitchens around the country, including Alinea in Chicago and Townsend in Philadelphia.  Eric prepared the Spring Tasting Menu for our group and the club members brought bottles of their own choosing.

The first course was Alsatian White Asparagus Soup, Ramp Cappelletti, Charred Ramps, and Chive Oil. After tasting it, I knew we were going to have an exceptional dinner, but I was so engrossed in eating it, I forgot to take a photo.  Eric came out and spoke about each course.

We started with Champagne.  Note that a few of the club members made comments in this report.

brutPhilipponnat “Les Cintres” 2008  Extra Brut made from 100% Pinot Noir. First press juice from the central plots: Les Grands Cinders and Les Petits Cintres in Clos des Goisses, Mareuil-sur-Ay. Vinification using traditional methods to avoid premature oxidation, with no malolactic formation. All the wines are fermented in casks. Extra brut dosage of 4.5g/litre.

The wine is aged for more than 9 years at a controlled temperature of 12C to develop maximum complexity and to highlight the wine’s secondary and tertiary aromas which is the hallmark of extended aging on the lees. This is a powerful and elegant Champagne with hints of citrus fruit, white peach a touch of red fruit, a note of brioche and a very long finish.

IMG_7502 2Chateau Haut-Brion 2005 made from 52% Sauvignon Blanc and 48% Sémillon from a little less than 3 hectare plot. 2005 was a great vintage similar to the legendary vintage of 1949. Conditions were so perfect that the vines were able to produce small grapes of an extraordinary concentration that were harvested in perfect condition. Fermentation is done in oak barrels for a period of 9 to 12 months of which 50% of the barrels are new. This is a complex, layered and intense wine with hints of grapefruit, peach, orange blossom, a touch of chamomile and a note of dried flowers. It is a wine of pure richness and depth, finishing with incredible length. This is the first time I have tasted this wine and I was totally impressed!!

IMG_7499Volnay 1er Cru 2013 Hospices de Beaune made from 100% Pinot Noir  from  Cuvée Général-Muteau.  This is an elegant wine with hints of wild berries, cherries and dark fruit. It was drinking very nicely now but it will age for many years. Two of the members had purchased the barrel at the Hospices de Beaune auction.

Member Frank Butler said, “My contributions were the 1970 Haut Brion (red) which drank well, and the 2013 Volnay (brought by my compatriot Joseph) which was from a barrel that we purchased from the auction at the Hospice de Beaune. It drank “okay” – as in very acceptable but nothing stellar.”

IMG_7488Local Green Asparagus & Coppa dressed with lemon, black pepper, Parmesan, and olive oil

IMG_7500 2Bonnes Mares Grand Cru 2001 Domaine Fougeray de Beauclair from 25 to 75 year old vines in clay and limestone soil. There is 3 days cold maceration followed by alcoholic fermentation at a controlled temperature. The vatting time is between 2 and 3 weeks. The wine is aged in new barrels for 18 months. This is a wine that has great length with hints of blackcurrant, blackberries, violets and a note of red berries.

IMG_7490Spaghetti à la Marseilles — pasta with a sauce of crab, mussels, prawns, tomato, saffron and white wine

IMG_7493 2Chambertin 2002 Domaine Bouchard Père & Fils made from 100% Pinot Noir. Manual harvest in small crates followed by an intense sorting of the grapes. There is a total or partial destemming depending on the vintage. After a gentle pressing fermentation is in small containers. Vatting is for 12 to 15 days and aging for 10 to 18 months in French oak barrels with 60 to 85% new.

IMG_7491Duet of Lamb–grilled marinated lamb tack, Merguez, carrot puree, chanterelles, favas, lamb jus.

IMG_7494Chateau Haut-Brion 1970 made from Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and a lesser amount of Cabernet Franc. This is a full bodied elegant wine with hints of  black fruit, black cherries, plum, tobacco, cedar and a long finish.  It was drinking very nicely for a 52-year-old wine.

IMG_7497Duca Enrico IGT 1986 Duca di Salaparuta (Corvo) made from 100% Nero d’Avola grapes grown in South Central Sicily. Soil is a mixture of calcareous-siliceous composition. The vineyard is at 200/300 meters and the vines are bush trained.  There are at least 5,000 plants per hectare. Grapes are hand picked at full ripening and then destemmed. Maceration at 28/30 degrees for 8/10 hours followed by malolactic fermentation. The wine is aged in oak casks for 18 months and then 18 months in bottle before release. First vintage was 1984 and it was the first 100% Nero d’Avola to be bottled in Sicily. The wine has hints of ripe dark-skinned fruit, blackberry jam, ripe black cherry, a hint of leather and a note of licorice. For a wine 36-years-old, it was not showing any real signs of age. This was my contribution.

Napa Valley 1999 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve Robert Mondavi– there was a discussion about this wine and for some reason I did not get to taste it.

Recioto della Amarone 1971 Bertani – Bertani is one of my favorite producers but this bottle was off and I believe it was corked.

Eitelsbacher Karthäuserhofberg 2001 Auslese 8.5% abv  One of the best vineyards in the world and in sole possession of one of the best wine estates in the world is the Karthäuserhofberg. The imposing vineyard, once farmed by the Carthusian monks, has an outstanding terroir and was already classified in the old Prussian tax maps as a particularly high-quality vineyard. The Devonian gray slate, often colored red, already points to the high iron content of the soil at first glance. The Karthäuserhofberg is about 20 ha in size and rises up to 254 meters above sea level. The unique microclimate, just before the confluence of the Ruwer in the Mosel, along with the slate soil, make it a paradise for the production of top Rieslings.

Very soft, heat-storing slate release ferrous, salty minerals through constant weathering. In addition, the topsoil has both finely weathered slate and loess for retaining water in periods of drought. The south- to southwest-facing slope with an incline of up to 45 percent is ideal for an optimal ripening of Riesling grapes. Each year, the wines show a very refreshing minerality and an enormous aging potential.

The class of the wines from this great Riesling vineyard has been proven by numerous awards over centuries and its large international fan base.

At the instigation of the Prussian government, the vineyard sites of the Saar and Mosel (the latter included the Ruwer) were classified as early as 1868. Even at this time, Eitelsbacher Karthäuserhofberg was ranked in the top category. Written and contributed by Joseph D’ Ambrosio


IMG_7503Blackberry Sorbet with toasted honey oats

IMG_7504Rhubarb Gateau, Vanilla Creme Anglaise, Cherry ice cream

unnamed Nice MartinAll of the wines all in a row with some of the members.

The meal was superb and so were the wines.  I look forward to returning to Nice Matin again with Michele.


Filed under Auslese, Burgundy, Chateau Haute Brion, Duca Enrico, Hospices de Beaune, Phillpponnat. Les Cintas, champagne

A Post-Christmas Dinner

The spirit of Christmas lasts longer than 12 days at our house so we decided to invite a friend over to commemorate a meal we had shared last year in Beaune, France.  The menu was simple.  Our friend loves roast chicken and Michele had a slightly different roasting technique she wanted to try.   Our friend brought the Burgundy wine.

IMG_4029We started with chicken livers with onions on crostini.  A drizzle of high quality balsamic vinegar and sprinkle of flaky salt really enhanced the flavor.

IMG_4031On the plate

IMG_4046Meursault – Perrieres 1995 Robert Amprau et Fils Located in the Puligny – Montrachet region of Burgundy covering 10 hectares of vineyards. They harvest by machine and allow other plants to grow between the rows of vines. The wines are not released by the winery until they are ready to drink. The wines are fermented without stalks in cement cuvees and aged in barriques, mostly used for 10 months. The wine has hints of ripe fruit, honey, apricot, nuts and a touch of brioche. The wine is at its peak.

IMG_4033For extra crispy skin, Michele first butterflied the chicken, then left it uncovered in the refrigerator overnight so that the skin was very dry.  The result was great.  Moist meat and crispy skin.

IMG_4035Broccoli rabe with garlic

IMG_4036Mashed Potatoes with lots of butter

IMG_4037It was a simple meal, just what we wanted after the holiday feasting.

IMG_4045The wine Volany-Lantenots 1999 Robert Ampeau et Fils made from 100% Pinot Noir. This Premier cru, is actually located in Meursault, is sold as Volnay.  This is a complex wine with dark ripe fruit aromas and flavors, hints of strawberries, cherries, currents, plum and a touch of spice. It is a very impressive Burgundy.

IMG_4039A bloomy rind French cheese, the name of which I cannot recall, was all we needed to finish the wine.

IMG_4043We enjoyed slices of pannetone for dessert.

IMG_4044Followed by just a small glass of Vieil Armagnac 1983


Filed under Burgundy, Robert Amprau Burgundy, Uncategorized

The Celebration Continues

We had a few friends over for my birthday lunch on the 24th and for a change we had a French themed menu.  Because  it  was  such  a hot  day,  Michele  had  planned  a meal  that  could  be  served  at  room  temperature.

We started with bite size cubes of melon wrapped in prosciutto and with it we had Alfred Gratien Brut Rosè NV made from 45% Chardonnay, 40% Pinot Meunier and 15% . The Pinot Noir is added as a still wine. After 6 months of cellaring in 228 liter oak casks, the must is transformed into wine. Malolactic fermentation does not take place. The cuvee is bottled with sugar and yeast to allow for a secondary fermentation in the bottle and it remains in the cellar for 36 months. Then the disgorging takes place where the lees and sediment are removed from the bottle which is topped up with more wine and some sugar and left to rest for a few more months in the cellar.  It has good red fruit with hints of raspberry and strawberries and touch of roses.

The next course was a lobster salad  with  avocado,  tomato, bacon,  arugula  and  a tarragon  vinaigrette.

To go with it we had Meursault 2002 Robert Ampeau & Fils 100% Chardonnay. Located in the Puligny – Montrachet region of Burgundy covering 10 hectares of vineyards. The harvest is by machine and this allows other plants to grow between the rows of vines. The wines are not released by the winery until they feel they are ready to drink. The wines are fermented without stalks in cement cuvees and aged in barriques, mostly used for 10 months. The wine has hints of honey, citrus fruit and nuts with mineral notes and good acidity.

Green beans were served at room temperature with Salsa Verde, a green sauce made with parsley, garlic, capers, anchovies and olive oil.

Rare roasted fillet mignon was the main dish.

The beef, with green sauce, green beans and a simple potato and scallion salad on the plate.


Chambolle Musigny 2005 Nicolas Petel made from 100% Pinot Noir . There is a selection of grapes to eliminate unwanted grapes and to evaluate precisely the quality of the harvest. They taste the cuvees twice or three times a day to follow their aromatic evolution. The grapes are softly pressed in a vertical wine press and the liquid is allowed to settle before going into the barrels. With a minimum of interference the must is left to settle for 12 to 16 months on the lees without racking and a minimum of SO2. There is a late malolactic fermentation. The wine is drawn off just before racking and blended in vats so it will have the same uniformity in the barrel. Old fashion racking where the wine is drawn off by the Broquereau where the opening is at the end of the barrel by a funnel. The wine “moves” without the aid of a pumps.  The wine is separated from the lees and this is important for the non filtration. They follow the biodynamic calendar. The wine has hints of cherry and raspberry with a touch of violets and a note of licorice.

For dessert, our friend had prepared a perfect blueberry  tart.  The  crust  was  crisp  and  buttery.

The grand finale — blueberry tart with vanilla ice cream.  A wonderful birthday lunch with good friends.



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Filed under Alfred Gratien, Burgundy, Meursault, Uncategorized

BBQ on a Summer Afternoon

I have never been good cooking on a bbq grill, but I do enjoy eating foods that have been grilled for me.  So I was  delighted  when friends  offered  to  prepare  a  bbq grilled  lunch.  What’s more, all of the meats and produce they would be cooking were sourced from local New Jersey farms.  Short of growing it myself, it would be hard to get anything fresher.

Suenen Champagne Oiry Blancs De Blancs Grand Cru Extra Brut made from 100% Chardonnay from the Grand Cru village of Cramant. The soil is chalk. The vins clairs (clear wines) are fermented partially in barrel and spend 9 months on the lees. The dosage is 2g/L. This is a delicate dry wine with floral aromatics, hints of green apple, a note of yellow plums and a touch of lemon with high acidity.

At the grill

Fresh zucchini on the grill

Corn on the grill

Shucking the corn

Super sweet corn grilled in the husk then shucked

Chorey-Les- Beaune 2016 “Les Beaumonts” Domaine Michel Mallard made from 100% Pinot Noir. The cuvee is produced at Les Beaumonts which faces southwest. The soil is heavy with a clayey limestone texture, with moderate stone content and good drainage. The vines are 50 and 55 years old. The grapes are sorted in the winery. Destemmed grapes and whole clusters are stacked in stainless steel vats or wooden casks. After about a week of maceration, fermentation begins. First the punching of the cap to gently extract liquids and later pumping over to adjust the tannin structure of the wine. The wine is then drawn off and some of the pressed grapes are added to the juice. The juice is then placed in French oak barrels. The wine is aged in 228 Burgundian oak turns 30% new from the forests of Allier and Vosges for 12 months. The wine has hints of cherry, raspberry, and blackberry. It was drinking well now but can last for many years.

Hot and sweet pork sausage, and herb marinated chicken on the grill

On the plate

Côtep Rotie 2001 Domaine Jamet made from 100% Syrah from 20 different parcels. Soil consists of various types of schist. Whole bunches are fermented and maceration lasts for about 3 weeks. The wine is aged for 22 months in barrels 15% are new. This is a wine that can age for 25 years. It is a medium bodied wine with hints of red fruit, black olive, kirsch, black pepper a touch of smoke, and a note of camphor. I was very impressed with this wine.

The burgers

Ready to eat

Sweet Cherry Tomato Salad with Basil and Pine Nuts


Dinner is served.  All  of  the  meats  were  from  River  Bend  Farm  in  Far  Hills,  NJ.

The meats were succulent and the vegetables fresh and sweet.

Gigondas 2016 “Confidentiel” La Domaine MonTiriua made from 80% Grenache and 20% Mourvedre from 10 hectares of 3 different parcels. Average age of vines is 75/85 years. The soil is Garrigues (plain soil) blue clayey sand and sandstone marl and yellow sand and sandstone. Pruning method is goblet or royat and cordon pruning with a maximum of 6 spurs and 2 buds. Harvest is manual. Traditional winemaking takes place, total destemming, light crushing, natural indigenous grape yeast. The wine is aged in cement vats for two winters then in bottle (no oak).  This is a big bold wine with hints of black fruit, violets and a touch of licorice. It is an impressive wine but needs another 5 years before it will be ready to drink.

We finished the wine with four excellent New Jersey cheeses  from  Valley  Shepherd Creamery.  There  was  a Crotin Goat, Smokey  Shepherd, Crema  di Blu and Valley Thunder.

It was quite a feast, but a slice of a lightly spiced and not too sweet zucchini bread was a welcome finale.

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Filed under Burgundy, Champagne, Cote-Rotie -Jamet, Gigondas, Uncategorized

Falanghina and Calamari – Burgundy and Quail

Several years ago in Napoli, Michele had a pasta with a calamari sauce served with calamari shaped pasta.  It’s not an easy pasta shape to come by, so when she saw a bag in an Italian market, she bought it.  This weekend she made her version of the dish.

Calamari  in  Cherry  Tomato  Sauce

It’s a very simple recipe.  Oil, garlic, parsley, a little peperoncino then a can of cherry tomatoes and a little water.  Simmer until thickened. 

Calamari  shaped  pasta  was  nice  and  chewy.  We  ate  the  pasta  with  a Falanghina.


Falanghina del Sarnnio DOP 2018 made from 1oo% Falanghina Fontana Vecchia The vineyard is at 350 meters and the soil is argillaceous with lime rich marlstone outcrops. The training system is guyot and harvest is the third part of September. There is a direct pressing of the grapes at a controlled temperature. Fermentation lasts for 7 days. The wine is aged in steel before it is bottled. The wine has hints of citrus fruit, lemon, lime with a touch of green apple.

A friend came by for dinner on Sunday.  Michele made a favorite summer salad, Green Beans with Potatoes, Red Onion Oregano and Capers. 

With the salad we had Grilled Quail  Marinated  with  Lemon  and  Herbs.


Chambolle Musigny 2005 Nicolas Petel made from 100% Pinot Noir . There is a selection of grapes to eliminate unwanted grapes and to evaluate precisely the quality of the harvest. They taste the cuvees twice or three times a day to follow their aromatic evolution. The grapes are softly pressed in a vertical wine press and the liquid is allowed to settle before going in to the barrels. With a minimum of interference the must is left to settle for 12 to 16 months on the lees without racking and a minimum of SO2. There is a late malolactic fermentation. The wine is drawn off just before racking and blended in vats so it will have the same uniformity in the barrel. Old fashion racking where the wine is drawn off by the Broquereau where the opening is at the end of the barrel by a funnel. The wine “moves” without the aid of a pumps.  The wine is separated from the lees and this is important for the non filtration. They follow the biodynamic calendar. The wine has hints of cherry and raspberry with a touch of violets and a note of licorice.

Dessert was a platter of watermelon and cherries, refreshing on a hot summer day.

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Filed under Burgundy, Falanghina

Another Wonderful Christmas Dinner with Tom & Diane

It has become a tradition  now  for a number of years that Michele and I trade holiday meals with Tom Maresca and Diane Darrow.  Tom is a wine and food writer and Diane is a food writer and they both have excellent blogs.  We do Thanksgiving and they do Christmas.

As always we started with Champagne. Champagne Aubry Brut Premier Cru NV Aubry Fils made from 55% Pinot Meunier, 25% Chardonnay, 20% Pinot Noir, 5% Arbanne and Petit Meslier ad Fromenteau. The assemblage is 50% base with 50% perpetual reserve dating back to 1998. The vineyard/ village: Jouy-les-Reims and Villadommange 1er Cru. It has hints of white flowers, green apple, lemon and a hint of toast.

With the Champagne we had  two little pastries, gougeres  flavored  with  prosciutto  and  cheese  and  pastry  pinwheels  filled  with  liver  pate.

Coullee de Serrant 2003 Nicolas Joly made from 100% Chenin Blanc from a seven hectare vineyard from old vines located on very steep slopes dominating the Loire Valley. Cultivation is by horse or hand. The grape harvest is done 5 times over a 3 to 4 week period to obtain the most colored, mature and the most grapes marked by botrytis. The wine is aged in 500 liter barrels, with never more than 5% new wood. The winery is biodynamic. The wine is bottled with a light filtration, no fining and a low amount of sulfur. The wine was showing its age but very drinkable with hints of passion fruit and honey.

With the white wine we had  baked crepes  filled  with bechamel,  gruyere  and  ham.  

Domaine Henri Georges Nuits St Georges 2003 made from 100% Pinot Noir. This is a complex wine with hints of dark red fruit, plum and blueberries, it was drinking very well and showing no signs of decline.

With this wine we had  a prime  rib roast which  was  perfectly  cooked.

The  beef  was  accompanied  by  green  beans  with  onions  and  a shiitake  and  potato  gratin.

Barolo 1989 “ Cannubi” Prunotto made from 100% Nebbiolo. !989 was a exceptional vintage for Barolo. The legendary Beppe Cola made this wine before he sold the winery to Antinori. This is classic Barolo at its best with hints of cherry, blueberry, licorice, and a touch of spice. A great wine in a great year!

A variety of cheeses to finish the wine.


The Chocolate Grappa Cake Michele brought for our dessert was a recipe that she had developed for an article in Gourmet Magazine some years ago.  Diane supplied the delicious cookies, peanut butter, chocolate chip and nut snowballs.

It was another wonderful holiday meal.  I hope you all ate and drank as well as we did.  Happy New Year!


Filed under Barolo, Burgundy, Champagne Aubry, Coullee de Serrant - Nicolas Joly, Lorie, Nuits st Georges Henri Georges, Prunotto Barolo Cannubi 1989, Tom & Diane, Tom and Diane, Uncategorized

Michel Mallard et Fils: A Burgundy Wine Family

Michele and I visited Beaune two years ago and had such a wonderful time that we decided to return. We wanted to visit some wineries but since it was harvest time it was difficult to get appointments. We were traveling with a friend who suggested we visit Domaine Michel Mallard et Fils because he really likes their wines. Somehow he was able to arrange an appointment.

The winery is a short taxi ride from the town of Beaune.

We were welcomed at the winery by Maryse and Patrick Mallard and their son Michel, now the fifth generation of this father to son winery.

The winery is located in the commune of Ladoix-Serrigny a small village between the Côte de Beaune and Cote de Nuits. The domaine works 11 hectares of vineyards on and around the hill of Corton.

Charles and Michel -Photo credit E. DeSalvo

Michel Mallard took us to the cellars to taste the wines.

What followed was a master class on his wines and the wines of Burgundy in general.

As many of the new and enlightened generation of Burgundy vignerons, Michel believes that great wine begins in the vineyard where he works to conserve and improve the life of the soil by using grass coverage, organic composts and controlled treatments only when absolutely necessary. In order to get the right balance between sweetness and acidity, they limit the amount of grapes produced by each vine. Plants that start to grow wild are thinned, tidied, aligned and cropped to allow more air and light through their foliage. The grapes with the optimal balance and maturity are hand harvested and sorted.

At the winery the white grapes are treaded and gently pressed in a pneumatic press. Crushing is avoided and they prefer to obtain free run juice at low pressure which is then clarified by the force of gravity alone. Some of the juice is drawn off into stainless steel vats, and the rest is placed in French oak barrels. Fermentation begins by the activation of the indigenous yeast. Beginning in 2016 Michel began vinifying with no added sulfur.

The White Wines we tasted…

Ladoix Blanc 2017 made from 100% Chardonnay. The vines grow at the bottom of the hill on the climes (vineyards) Madones and La Vigne Adaim, with a southeastern exposure. The vines are 10 years old. The soil is very heavy with a clayey texture from the weathering of the geological formation of Bresse maristone deposits. Michel said the high clay content and its position at the foot of the slope allow the soil to receive a good supply of water.

The barrels are made using wood from the Allier and Vosges forests. The wine is aged 12 months in 30% new wood casks (228 Burgundian barrels). The wine has aromas and flavors of white fruit with hints of pear and lemon and a touch of spice.

Landoix 1er Cru Les Gréchons 2016 made from 100% Chardonnay from vines between 40 and 50 years old.

This climat is located in the commune of Ladoix-Serrigny. The term Gréchons comes from the word Grève, from the Latin grava meaning sand or gravel. The soil is composed of friable rock, fine scree, sand and gravel and is a great terroir for cultivating vines.

The wine is aged for 15 months in 50% new wood casks.

This wine has hints of peach, pear, citrus fruits and a touch of hazelnuts.

The Red Wines we tasted…

Aloxe-Corton 1er Cru La Toppe Au Vert 2017 made from 100% Pinot Noir from vines between 40 and 50 years old. Located in Ladoix-Serrigny, La Toppe au Vert extends over Corton’s northeastern slopes (with southeastern exposure) and sits just below Grand Cru vineyards on the Corton hill. The term Toppe or Teppe is a pre –Latin origin and refers to a land on a hillside that enjoys good exposure: a land left fallow waiting the planting of the vines. Vert, originally Vers, means steep terrain in the Burundian dialect.

The soil is heavy with clay and moderate stone content. The soil composition comes from the weathering of thin deposits from the formation of Combianchien limestone.

Michel said this type of soil causes the vine’s network of roots to spread out horizontally near the top of the surface.

At harvest unhealthy grapes are removed, are destemmed and whole clusters are stacked in stainless steel vats or wooden casks.

Michel said they do not like to interfere too much in the wine cellar and prefer nature to take its course and produce its own vintage. After about a week of maceration, the fermentation process begins. At the beginning they do punching down of the cap, to gently extract the liquids, and at the end of fermentation, pumping over to adjust the tannic structure of the wine. The wine is then drawn off and some of the pressed grapes are added to the juice. Once assembled, the cuvee is placed in French oak barrels. The wine is aged for 15 months in 60% new oak casks (228 Burgundian). This is a wine meant to be aged for many years with a floral bouquet, hints of red fruit, cherries,clove and spice. It represents perhaps the best value in the Mallard Cellar as it is preciously close in quality to his Grand Cru wines at a fraction of the price.

Corton Grand Cru “Les Renardes” 2013 made from 100% Pinot Noir from vines between 50 and 55 years old. At the heart of the hillside, the parcel Les Renardes flourishes on the southeastern flank of the commune of Aloxe-Corton. Renardes means vixens, indicating the presence of numerous dens of foxes living in the area, or it just may be the name of the original climat’s owner.

Shallow soil, with clay and moderate stone content, from the weathering of colitic and bioclastic limestone (skeleton remains of living organisms) from the formation of limestone deposits in Ladoix. These limestone deposits split into slabs a few centimeters thick, allowing the roots to penetrate the soil more deeply. The wine is aged for 16 to 18 months in 70% new wood casks, 228L. This is a wine with hints of blueberry, red currants, a touch of black pepper, licorice and subtle meat and game notes.

Michel asked if we would like to taste anything else. I asked him if he had the 2007 vintage of this wine. 2007 is a vintage for Red Burgundy that is drinking particularly well right now. Michel obliged and opened a bottle. It was fantastic and has all the qualities of great Burgundy. Michel was kind enough to give us the open bottle to take back to the hotel with us. We drank it a few days later and it was still fantastic.

Michel Mallard produces: Côte de Nuits-Villages, Chorey-les-Beaune, Savigny-les-Beaune, Ladoix, Aloxe-Corton, Corton and Corton-Charlemagne.

In the United States Michel’s wines can be difficult to find.  My friend who had introduced me to these wines told me that Amanti Vino in New Jersey carries much of the Mallard range

Since these wines sell quickly, if you do not see them on the website, you can email and let them know that you want to be alerted the next time they do an offering of Michel Mallard’s wine.


Filed under Burgundy, Michael Mallard & Fils, Michel, Uncategorized

A Chicken to Remember in Beaune

Le Bistro d’Hotel

Our first dinner in Beaune was just about perfect. As soon as we sat down at Le Bistro d’Hotel, we were served a little “amuse” of black olives, marinated

cubes of winter squash, and cheese sablees, savory wafers.

Chablis Premier Cru “Montée De Tonnerre 2007 Clotilde Davenne made from 100% Chardonnay. The wine was drinking very nicely with hints of dried fruit, almonds and a touch of honey.

A little “gift” from the kitchen was a tiny cup of porcini mushroom soup.

Premier cru Ile des Vergelesse “Pernand Vergelesse” 2014 Domaine Rollin Père et Fils. Made from 100% Pinot Noir from a vineyard situated in the middle of the Vergelesse hileside slope and composed of very pebbly, shallow clay-limestone. Beneath is very brittle bed-rock. The exposure is east and it was planted in 1946(two-thirds and 1989(one third). Harvesting is by hand, and careful sorting at the vat house. After pre fermentation maceration for 5 to 6 days at 10C the alcoholic fermentation starts naturally at regulated temperature. There are daily tasting and pumping down. After two or three weeks in vats the wines go into oak barrels (30% new) for 12 to 14 months. Malolactic fermentation occurs in the barrel naturally in the spring. After racking, the wine is assembled in vat, until bottling the following winter. This is a rather floral, elegant and intense wines

For a first course we had foie gras terrine served with salad and onion confit,

while our friend ordered the snails in a green vegetable butter. He said he liked it but would have preferred the more traditional garlic butter.

The main course was a perfectly cooked poulard de Bresse. A poulard, our waitress explained is a female chicken that is allowed to fatten a month longer than a poulet.

She carved the bird beautifully and served it with the pan juices.

We enjoyed it with a heap of frites and a bouquet of colorful seasonal vegetables.

We decided to finish with a sweet, so we shared an order of crepes Suzette, flamed with Grand Marnier and plenty of good butter.

It may be an old fashioned dessert, but it sure was delicious. 

Then of course there was the coffee and the Marc


Filed under Beaune, Burgundy, Chablis, Le bistro d'hotel

Another Celebration

My birthday this year fell on a Saturday and to celebrate I spent a long weekend in Montclair, NJ at the home of a good friend. It was a wonderful time of eating and drinking including a 1942 “Chianti.”

For my birthday dinner, Michele made Anchovy Twists for an appetizer, sticks of tender cream cheese pastry filled with anchovies.

With this we had

Champagne “Chardonnay” Brut 1982 Pol Roger & Co. made from grapes from the Grand Crus of the Cõte des Blancs: Oiry, Chouillu, Cramant, Avize and Oger. There are two débourbages (settlings), one at the press house immediately after pressing, the second “a froid” in stainless steel tanks at 6°C for 24 hours. A slow fermentation takes place in stainless steel tanks with each variety and each village kept separate. There is full malolactic fermentation prior to the final blending. The secondary fermentation takes place in bottle at 9°C in cellars 33 meters below street level. It remains here until it undergoes remuage (riddling) by hand, a rarity in Champagne today. The wine has hints of grapefruit, apricot a touch of apple and a note of hazelnut. Produced in limited quantities, this cuvee has been aged for 7 years in the cellars before release. It was showing very well.

Melon Soup – A refreshing chilled soup made with cantaloupe, orange juice, honey and yogurt.

Trebbiano d’Abruzzo 2002 Eduardo Valentini made from 100% Trebbiano d’Abruzzo. The winery is organic and biodynamic. The wine is aged in large botti of Slavonia oak for 24 months. This is a very complex, full-bodied wine with hints of citrus fruit, apple, mineral undertones, good acidity, a great finish and aftertaste, and that extra something that is difficult to describe. One of the guests called it the wine of the afternoon.

Puligny-Montrachet “Les Folatieres” 1982 Joseph Drouhin made from 100% Chardonnay in the central part of the Cotes de Beaune. There are 10,000 vines per hectare and the pruning system is guyot. There is a very slow pressing and the juice from the last pressing is not retained. No yeasts or enzymes are added. The wine goes directly into the barrel after decanting. It is aged in French oak barrels, 25% new. This is a complex, rich, velvety wine with hints of honey, honeysuckle, almond with dried fruit notes, with a very long aftertaste. It was wonderful.

Grilled Skewers  on the BBQ of Lamb, Bacon and Bread

served with Green Beans in Salsa Verde and a Tomato Salad was our main course.

Gevrey-Chambertin Premier Cru “Lavaux Saint-Jacques” 1982 Domaine Maume made from 100% Pinot Noir grown in a 28 hectare vineyard of clay and limestone soil. The vineyard is worked by horse and plow and is certified organic. The grapes are hand harvested and destemmed prior to fermentation on indigenous yeast. The wine is aged in 70% new French oak for a period of 18 months and then the wine is bottled unfined and unfiltered. The wine has hints of black and red cherries with notes of violets and rose petals.

Barbaresco “Camp Gros Martinenga” 1982 Tenuta Cisa Asinari Dei Marchese Di Gresy made from 100% Nebbiolo (Magnum). This is a wine of elegance and structure with hints of tobacco and cherries, a touch of balsamic, well balanced and a long finish. There was almost half a bottle left and we drank it two days later and it was even better.

Cote-Rotie 1999 (Magnum) Jean Francois et Carmen Garon made from 100% Syrah. The Domaine is located in the municipality of Ampuis and it extends over 7 hectares in the extreme north of the Rhone Valley. This is a terroir- driven wine. It is a big, structured wine with flavors of red and black fruit and hints of cherry and blueberry. The wine needs more time and was drinking marketdly better two days later.

Brolio Rosso “Chianti Superiore” Castello di Brolio in Chianti, Siena, Casa Vinicola Barone Ricascoli Firenze 1942. The wine was made mostly of Sangiovese with the addition of Canaiolo, Malvasia and Colorino. I do not know if there was any Trebbiano in the blend or if the governo method was used. The wine was showing its age but still drinkable.

The dessert was a perfectly seasonal fresh peach cake which we ate with ice cream.


Filed under Barbaresco, Birthday 2019, Brolio Chianti Classico, Burgundy, Champagne, Cote Rote, Joseph Drouhin, Uncategorized

The Wine Media Guild at I-Trulli Restaurant

The Wine Media Guild, an association of wine communicators, held its annual end of the year dinner at i-Trulli restaurant in NYC. I was formerly the wine director/sommelier at i Trulli and returning there always brings back a lot of memories.  In addition, Pat Savoie and I were stepping down as co-chairs and David Ransom and Nick Antonaccio. were taking over as the new co-chairs.

There were many great bottles of wine drunk that evening, too many to list here thou I did get a chance to taste some of them

The list below were just the wines that we drank at my table. As always we started with Champagne.

Champagne Henriot “Millésime 2008 made from Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from 6 Grand Crus: Maily Champagne, Verzy, Verzenay on Montagne de Reims, Mesnil-su-Oger, Avize, Chouilly on Côte des Blancs. The wine has hints of raspberries and strawberries with a touch of hazelnuts and brioche and a long finish. Ed (Champagne for Dummies) McCarthy, was sitting at my table, and said this house is finally getting the praise it deserves. Great way to start the evening.

Champagne Deutz Blancs De Blancs 1989 in magnum made from 100% Chardonnay. It has lemon and lime aromas, a note of cream and a touch of hazelnut. It was in perfect condition.

Trebbiano d’Abruzzo 2005 Eduardo Valentini made from 100% Trebbiano d’Abruzzo. This is one of my favorite white wines. We should have decanted the wine because it took some time to open up in the glass but when it did it was wonderful.

Among the appetizers there were panzarotti, crisp  fried  turnovers  filled  with  tomatoes  and  mozzarella.


For the pasta cause there was  orecchiette with broccoli rabe.  The pasta is handmade by Dora Mazovilla,  the  mother  of  the  owner.

The main course was sliced steak with an arugula salad.


Chateau Haut Brion 1983 made from 45% merlot, 44% Cabernet Sauvignon and 9% Cabernet Franc and a note of Petit Verdot. It was a pleasure to drink.

Château Corton Grancey Grand Cru 1999 Louis Latour in magnum. It is a blend of four areas of Domaine Latour Corton Grand Cru: Bressandes, Perrieres, Gréves and Clos du Roi, proportions depending on the vintage. Traditional fermentation takes place in open vats. 10 to 12 months aging in oak barrels, 35% new. Louis Latour cooperage, French oak, medium toasted. This is a wine with supple tannins, wonderful aromas with great length and finish. It also took some time to open up in the glass.

Pormmard Grands Epenots 1979 Hurbet de Montille made from 100% Pinot Noir using a significant proportion of whole clusters, varying by vintage. They are known for wines that can age. It was drinking very well.

Carema 1989 Produttori di Carema (a co-op in the Northern part of Piedmont) made from 100% Nebbiolo. Small plots are hand harvested from various members of the co-op. All the vineyards are southeast facing and range in altitude from 300 to 600 meters. Traditional vinification, the wine is fermented and aged for at least 48 months in large Slavonian oak casks. It has hints of red cherries, red roses; leather and tar. The wine was in perfect condition.

Chateau Coutet a Barsac “Cuvee Madame 1989 made from Sémillon, Sauvignon Blanc, Sauvignon Gris and Muscadelle. Barsac is technically part of the Sauternes region but its sandy and limestone soil produce a lighter sweet wine with balanced acidity. The wine has hints of tropical fruit, ginger, candied apricot and a touch of honey. It was a perfect way to end a wonderful evening.

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Filed under Bordeaux, Burgundy, Carema, Champagne, Chateau Coutet Cuvee Madame, Deutz Blanc de Blances, Henriot, Uncategorized