Category Archives: French White Wine

A Delightful Lunch in Provence

Once in a while, if you are lucky, you try a restaurant for the first time and it turns out to be an unforgettable dining experience. This was the case with restaurant Les Florets (which is also a hotel) just outside of Gigondas in the Provence region of France.

It was a beautiful sunny day with a nice breeze and some diners were sitting on the charming outdoor terrace when we arrived. We decided to sit inside (it was a little to breezy) in the comfortable and well-appointed dining room. The service was attentive but not intrusive. The food and wine may have been the best I had in my 3 weeks in the area. They have an exceptional wine list with older vintages and very good prices.

After lunch, the breeze died down somewhat and we had coffee and cognac on the terrace.IMG_8439

Chateauneuf du Pape Chateau De Vaudieu Blanc 2012 made from 75% Grenache and 25% Roussanne. The winery is located in the heart of the Chateauneuf du Pape appellation. The name comes from Val de Dieu (Valley of God). The vineyard is 10 hectares in the southern part of the estate and the soil is red clay, gray silex limestone and pebbles. Manual harvest in boxes of 15 kg with double sorting of the grapes in the vineyard takes place. Grapes are vinified and aged separately until blending.There is soft pressing with whole bunches. Static cold settling and alcohol fermentation is between 18 and 22 degrees. The wine is aged for 6 months. Most of the wine is aged in stainless steel and a small portion in barriques.

The wine has hints of white fruit, grapefruit, refreshing citrus notes with nice minerality and good acidity.IMG_8435

A small amuse bouche of salmon mousse with avocado was a nice starter.IMG_8436

My first course was sautéed foie gras with a red grape sauce that I really enjoyed.IMG_8441

Vacqueyras Domaine La Garrigue 2001   Made from 80% Grenache, 10% Syrah, 5% Mourvedre and 5% Cinsault The domaine is in the heart of the Vacqueyras appellation area (southern Cotes du Rhone, in the Vaucluse department, located on a plateau called Les Garrigues.) The vines are planted in 3 different types of soil: stony limestone-clay 40%, slopes and terraces 40%, and sandy 20%. The Syrah and Mourvedre vines are 40 to 50 years old and some of the Grenache vines are between 80 and 100 years old. Harvest is by hand and it takes 30 pickers about one month to harvest all the grapes. Before being vatted the grape bunches are lightly crushed without being de-stalked. During fermentation the run off juice is pumped over the cap twice a day. The grapes are pressed using two vertical hydraulic presses, and for the last two years also a pneumatic press. The wine is aged for a minimum of 18 months. The wine is not fined or filtered. It has hints of black fruit, spice and a touch of liquorice with a long finish and pleasant aftertaste.IMG_8440

This wine is at its peak and was a great combination with my main course of roast veal covered with black summer truffles in a rich truffle sauce.IMG_8462

I really enjoyed this wine and on another day, we went to visit the winery. The Brechet family owns the restaurant and the winery.IMG_8442

Dessert was a warm apricot tart with vanilla ice cream. Michele declared it perfection and promises to try to duplicate it for me soon. I can’t wait!

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Filed under Chateaneuf du Pape, Chateau de Vaudieu, Domaine La Garrigue, French Red, French White Wine, French Wine, Gigondas, Vacqueyras

Paris: Three Restaurants, Two Wine Stores, Eating and Drinking

Paris is such an enchanting city that Michele and I try to go there every year. Last year in November, we rented an apartment in the Marais for a week and the weather could not have been better. Michele wanted to try some new (to us) restaurants, and we returned two of my favorite wine stores.

l’Ambassade D “Auvergne

This is a classic French bistro 22 rue du Grenier Saint-Lazare Paris 3 +33142723122   http://www.ambassade-auvergne.com

I started with a specialty of the Auvergne region, swiss chard torte with salad. It was very good.IMG_6423

For the main course I had plump, rare cooked magret de canard-duck breast, served with a thick and creamy aligot –a potato puree laced with fresh local cow’s milk cheese. It was whipped at the table and was piled on my plate, hot and delicious.  For dessert we had a wonderful chocolate mousse –a large portion was served and they left the serving bowl on the table so you could eat as much as you wanted. For the quality, it was very reasonably priced.IMG_6419

We drank a Bandol 2009 Domaine de Terrebrune made from 85% Mourvèdre 10% Grenache and 5% Cinsault . The average age of the vines is 25 years. The soil is characterized on the surface by limestone gravel in brown clay so characteristic that it inspired the name of the Domaine. There is total destemming and fermentation is for 15 to 20 days in a closed vessel, maceration is achieved by pumping over. The wine is aged in oak barrels 50 to 60 hectoliters for 18 months. The Domaine is certified organic. This is a wine that can age. The wine went very well with the food. Service was very pleasant and friendly. I enjoyed the whole experience and look forward to returning.

 L’Ami Jean- 27 rue Malar Paris 7 +33147058689 http://www.amjean.euIMG_6441

Michele wanted to try this place the last time we were in Paris but we could not get a reservation. It is a small crowded restaurant and you can watch the chef, Stèphane Jègo, preparing the dishes. He screams, he pleads, he shouts loud enough to make you jump, he is in his own world but what he produces is fantastic. We had the 5 course tasting chef’s choice menu.IMG_6430

A fish dish was so good and so light that I wished there was more, a venison steak with a touch of caramel was without a doubt the best I had ever eaten, and for dessert, a rich rice pudding. It came with toasted walnuts and a salty caramel cream but it did not need any of it. I could not stop eating until it was all gone. It was without doubt the best rice pudding I have ever had in a restaurant. Michele makes an excellent rice pudding.

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We drank another Bandol that day. Bandol 2006 Domaine Ray- Jean Made from 90% Mourvedre, 5% Cinsault and 5% Grenache. Each variety is vinified separately. The vines are old and not staked. Fermentation lasts for 20 days and malolactic fermentation takes place. The wine is aged for 2 years in 40hl barrels. It is a balanced wine with hints of blackberries and other fruits and spice with a nice aftertaste and long finish. This is a wine that can age for many years.

Bistroy Les Papilles   30 Rue Gay Lussac

Stepping into this small cozy restaurant one cannot help but notice shelves filled with wine. There is no wine list so if you want a bottle of wine you just take it off the shelves and bring it to your table. The wine is also for sale retail and if you drink the wine in the restaurant there is a 7 Euro charge above the retail price on the wine. In the evening there is a four course menu set by the chef Ulric Claude (known as Tom). The menu changes everyday. There were six of us so we had the large table in the back of the restaurant, which was very comfortable. We made a number of trips to the shelves to pick wine for each course.

IMG_6500_2We started with some delicious charcuterie and pate, followed by an excellent beef stew with mushrooms and potatoes, a cheese course and dessert. The food was very good and the stew alone was worth the trip.

Our friends Nicole Serle and Travis Scott, owners of Turtledove wine store in NYC, chose the wines. They picked from the shelves wines that were rare and difficult to find in NYC. It was an excellent selection and all the wines went very well with the food.IMG_6495_2

We started with Champagne “Substance” 100% Chardonnay Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs Jacques Selosse. Low yields; organic viniculture and terroir are a hallmark of Mr. Selosse’s wines. He has all Grand Cru holdings in Avize, Cramant and Oger. He uses indigenous yeasts for fermentation and ages the wine in barrels, 20% new oak. The wine is left on the fine lees for an extended period. Dosage is kept to an absolute minimum. “Substance” is a solar Champagne created by Mr. Selosse in 1986, by marrying some 20 vintages in order to avoid vintage variation and allowing the terroir to speak on its own. This is full-bodied Champagne with good fruit, hints of orange peel and spice with good minerality.IMG_6492_2

Bussion Renar 2004 D. Dagueneau made from 100% organically grown Sauvignon Blanc. The soil is clay and flint and the vineyard is mid-slope on the Southwest side of Saint Andelain, the highest village in the Pouilly Fume appellation. The wine is barrel fermented and aged in almost neutral 450 to 600 liter barrels. It is a very balanced wine with hints of grapefruit, lime, herbs, good acidity and a touch of flint.

Clos Rougerad is an organic winery owned by the Foucault brothers. There are low yields, wild yeast is used and there is a long soft maceration with some new oak. The wines are vinified in barrel and bubble for a few years (18 to 24 months) depending on the vintage. The wine is stored in a glacially cold cellar and are bottled without filtration.IMG_6498_2

 Clos Rougeard “Breze” Saumur Blanc 2009 The wine is made from rare, old vines of Chenin Blanc from the Foucault’s own vineyards. The wine may be bottled as sec or demi-sec, depending on the vintage. The wine is golden-hued, with complex notes of dried fruits and nuts, a touch of honey and excellent acidity. The version we had was sec (dry). IMG_6503

Clos Rougeard Poyeux Saumur-Champigny Rouge Saumur-Champigny is a red wine appellation of Saumur in the central Loire valley. 100% Cabernet Franc. Juice from 40-60 year-old vines is fermented in a mix of oak barrels. Half of the wine is fermented in new Allier barrels; the other half i in 1-year old barrels purchased from Ch. Margaux and Ch. Haut-Brion. Poyeux’s bouquet displays hints of tobacco mingled with red fruit aromas. On the palate, red fruits flavors are rich and full. Tannins, though present, are remarkably integrated with a long finish returning with aromas of sweet, cherry tobacco. A very impressive wine.

Winestores

There are many wine stores in Paris but these are the two which I go to the most.

Bossetti 34 Rue des Archives 01 48 04 07 77 www.Bossetti.fr  They have a large selection Burgundy and Rhone Valley Wines and are famous for their Chartreuse collection. Look for older bottles from the Loire Valley going back to the 1950’s and not that expensive.

Le Vinis Illustribus 48 rue de la Montagne-Sainte-Genevieve   +33 1 43 36 12 12 http://www.devinis.fr

If you are looking for old wine this is the place to go. Linonel Michelin, the owner, loves to talk about wine, especially older wines. When we were there he was doing a tasting for a group of young Japanese women and told us they were the leading wine bloggers in Japan.IMG_6740

I purchased a 1964 Crozes Hermitage, Andre, which I drank and it was excellent. It was his last bottle. I also purchased a bottle of Hermitage “La Chapelle” Jaboulet 1980, 1983 Clos des Papes and a 1942 Bourgogne Patriarche. I opened the ‘83 and it was drinking like a young wine. The 1942 and the 1980 are resting at a friend’s house for a special wine dinner next week.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Bandol Terrebrune winery, Bandol- Ray-Jean, Bistroy Les Papilles, Bossetti- wine store, Buisson Renard D. Dagueneau, Champagne Substance Jacques Selosse, Clos Rougeard Breze, Clos Rougeard Les Poyeux, French Red, French Sparkling Wine, French White Wine, French Wine, L'Ami Jean, Le Vinis Illustribus, Paris, Restaurant l'ambassade d'auvergne, Uncategorized

A Non-Traditional Thanksgiving

Our Thanksgiving menu was an unorthodox one this year, but we started as always with Champagne.IMG_6593

Champagne Delamotte Brut NV made from 50% Pinot Noir, 30% Pinot Nero and 20% Pinot Meunier. The wine is light and fresh with citrus aromas and flavors and good acidity. The sister house is Salon and both are part of the Laurent-Perrier group. At about $38 a bottle, it is a bargain and is our current house champagne.IMG_6594

Blanc de Blancs Brut “Amour de Deutz” Millesime 2002 William Deutz made from 100% Chardonnay from their own Grand Cru villages of Avize and Le Mesnil-sur-Oger in magnum. This is one of the most complex and elegant champagnes that I have ever tasted. It comes in a clear bottle and 2002 was an excellent vintage. With the Champagne we had olives, cheese wafers, and pears wrapped in prosciutto.IMG_6596

Auxey-Duresses 2001 Lalou Bize-Leroy made from 100% Chardonnay. Biodynamic farming is practiced. A careful selection of hand picked grapes is brought to the cave in small baskets in refrigerated trucks. The grapes are carefully sorted on two large sorting tables (not moving conveyor belts). Only the best grapes are chosen. Fermentation is in large wooden oak barrels without any de-stemming or crushing to avoid any oxidation and to preserve the native yeasts, which are present on the skins of the grapes. Pigeage–crushing down the cap–and remontage–removing the fermented juices from under the cap and bringing it on top of the cap–takes place followed by slow fermentation and a long maceration. After pressing the wine goes down to the first underground cellar. It stays here until the end of malolactic fermentation. After pouring the juice off the lees–soutirage a la sapine--no pumps are used only gravity. The wine then goes down to a second, deeper cellar. It stays there until it is bottled. This wine was showing very well with good citrus aromas and flavors.IMG_6590

We go to restaurant SD26 often and really like their signature dish, Uovo in Raviolo, a large raviolo filled with ricotta and a soft cooked egg yolk, topped with truffle butter. Michele said she would like to do this dish for our guests on Thanksgiving. She made the pasta for the ravioli by hand, IMG_2731and instead of truffle butter she used Kerrygold butter, a favorite brand. I bought a beautiful fresh white truffle to shave on top.  The warmth of the raviolo and hot butter brought out all the aroma and flavor of the white truffle IMG_6597

Dolcetto D’Alba “Boschi di Berri” 1988 Poderi Marcarini made from 100% Dolcetto from pre-phylloxera vines. The vineyard is over 100 years old and because the soil is sandy and the particular microclimate of the vineyard, the vines are phylloxera free. They are not spliced onto American rootstock but are native vines. The vineyard is 0.5 hectares; there are 4,400 vines per hectare. The training system is free-standing espalier with guyot pruning and the exposure is west. The vineyard was planted in the late 1800’s. This was an exceptional wine, showing no sign of age. It had hints of cherries, raspberries, currants and a touch of leather. It was unlike any Dolcetto that I have tasted before. If this was the traditional Dolcetto from the last century, we are missing a lot today!IMG_2737_2

The main course was a bone-in pork rib roast with cranberry fig mostarda, a recipe from Michele’s latest book, The Italian Vegetable Cookbook. With that we had roasted potatoes and Brussels sprouts baked with butter and Parmigiano Reggiano.IMG_6598

Barbaresco Riserva “Ovello” 1979 made from 100% Nebbiolo Produttori del Barbaresco.  Produttori del Barbaresco is a wine cooperative, arguably the best in Italy. It has roots going back to 1894 when there were 19 members, but the co-op as we now know it dates from1958.  Today there are 56 members. Over the years, a few members have left the co-op to go out on their own.

Produttori has 100 hectares of Nebbiolo in the Barbaresco Appellation, 1/6 of the area. Each grower makes his own decisions as far as growing the grapes is concerned. Produttori del Barbaresco only produces wine from the Nebbiolo grape — Barbaresco DOCG, a blend of grapes from different vineyards, and Langhe Nebbiolo DOC.

In great vintages, nine single vineyard Barbarescos are produced within the boundaries of the village of Barbaresco: Asilli, Rabaja, Pora, Montestefano, Orvello, Pagé, Montefico, Moccagatta and Rio Sordo.  The co-op takes great pride in these wines and the name of the single vineyard, the total number of bottles produced, and the name of the owners of the vineyard are on the label.

The Orvello vineyard covers an area of 16.25 acres at 290 meters with a south/southeastern exposure. The 1979 was aged in large barrels of Slavonic oak for four years. This is traditional classic Barbaresco at its best. I have been drinking these wines for over 35 years.IMG_6600

Barolo Riserva 1971 Giacomo Borgogno and Figli 100% Nebbiolo. The grapes come from three different cru vineyards: Cannubi, Liste and Fossati. The winery is located in the center of the town of Barolo. The wine is aged at least five years in large oak barrels. This is a wine produced with traditional and natural wine making methods. Long fermentation and pumping over by hand takes place. Today the Farinetti family that also owns Eataly owns the winery. I have always had very good luck with older vintages of Borgogno. This is a classic traditional Barolo.

We finished the red wine with the cheese course.IMG_6603

Fiano Passito “Privilegio 2011 Irpinia DOC Feudi di San Gregorio made from Fiano and Falangina grapes, harvested by hand, late harvest with a touch of Botrytis (noble rot) in mid October. The vines are 15 to 20 years old, there are 4,000 to 4,500 vines per hectare and the vineyards are at 1,000 to 1,500 ft. The grapes are then dried on straw mats for several months. After a soft pressing, the clarified must is fermented in new French Troncais oak barrels. The wine has hints of honey, figs, apricot and pear and was a perfect combination with the pumpkin pie and apple crisp we had for desert.IMG_6592

After the cafè we toasted the holiday and our guests with Romano Levi Grappa.

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Filed under Amour de Deutz, Auxey-Duresses-Bize-leroy, Barbaresco, Barolo, Borgogno, Boschi di Berri, Champagne, Delamotte NV, Dolcetto, Feudi di San Gregorio, French White Wine, Italian Red Wine, Italian Wine, Marcarini Winery, Produttori del Barbaresco

Summer Wines for the Weekend

Here are a few wines I have been drinking and enjoying during the summer.IMG_5897

Asolo Prosecco Superiore DOCG “Millesimato” Spumante Extra Dry. Montelvini Venegazzu. This Prosecco comes from the hills of Montello and Asolo in the region of the Veneto. It is made from 100% Gela, a grape variety with large, wing shaped bunches that ripens late, near the end of September. The grapes are gently pressed, followed by static cold decanting. Selected yeasts are added to the clarified must and it is fermented in thermo-controlled containers for about 15 days. The first fermentation is monitored daily and before it reaches its conclusion the wine is transferred to pressurized vats for a second fermentation. The wine rests for about 20 days on the lees and is then bottled. It remains in the bottle three weeks before release. The wine is fresh and fruity with a hint of golden apples. $18

Bila–Haut was purchased by Michael Chapoutier in 1999 and is located in the best part of the Languedoc, the Cotes du Roussillon in France, an area which I have visited a number of times. Bila-Haut translates to Bila Heights and it was once a refuge for the Knights Templar. The cross featured on the bottle label is in their honor.IMG_5916

Les Vignes de Bila-Haut White Côtes Du Roussillon  2013 made from Grenache Gris, Grenache Blanc, Macabeo and Vermentino (Rolle in France). The 40-year-old plus vines are on the hills of the Agly Valley. The juice is fermented in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks and aged in the same tanks. After a long maceration of two to three weeks, the wine is aged on the fine lees and then racked from vat to vat which naturally clarifies the wines. The wine is then blended prior to bottling. The wine has hints of citrus aromas and flavors with tropical fruit and good minerality. $13IMG_5919

Les Vignes Rosé Bila Haut 2013 Pays D’Oc This is a blend of Cinsault and Grenache. Mr. Chapoutier went outside the Roussillon area to find a Cinsault from the Gard district that, when blended with Grenache, would produce a delicate and elegant rosé. The grapes are vinified at low even temperatures. The juice is fermented in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks and aged in those tanks. After a short maceration on the skins, the pink hue is attained and the wine is racked and vinified. The wine is then blended prior to bottling. The wine has hints of citrus and red fruit with a floral aroma. $13IMG_5920

Whispering Angel Rosé 2013 Caves D’Esclans made from Grenache, Rolle (Vermentino) Cinsault, Syrah and Tibouten from the surrounding area of Motte en Provence. Harvesting takes place from sunrise to noon. The grapes are destemmed and a slight crushing takes place at 7/8 degrees C grade to avoid oxidation. Both the free run juice and the pressed juices are vinfied in temperature controlled stainless steel vats. Bâtonnage takes place twice a week. The wine has a light salmon color with nice fruit and hints of peach and raspberries.

Maison Belle Claire 2013 Còtes de Provence Rosè made from 55% Grenache, 25% Syrah and 20% Cinsault. Direct pressing of the grapes. Temperature controlled fermentation in stainless steel and the wine matures in stainless steel. The wine has flavors and aromas of fresh red berries with hints of raspberries and peaches. $17IMG_5918

Bila –Haut Les Vignes Red 2012 Cotes du Roussillon Villages made from Syrah, Grenache and Carignan is perfect to accompany a barbecue. Each of the three grape varieties are carefully vinified at low even temperatures. The juice is fermented in cement vats and aged in the vats. After a long maceration of two to three weeks, the wine is racked from vat to vat, which naturally clarifies the wine. The wine is then blended and aged prior to bottling. The wine has hints of plum, blackberry, black cherry and a touch of spice. $13

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Filed under Asolo Prosecco Montelvini Venegazzu, Bila- Haut, French White Wine, Maison Belle Calire, Prosecco, Provence, Whispering Angel

Wine Gifts

Manufacturers of wine gadgets often claim that their product will improve your wine drinking experience.  Most turn out to be nothing more than gimmicks.  But a few months ago I went to a demonstration of the Coravin Wine Access System and was very impressed.  It allows users to pour and enjoy wine from a bottle without pulling the cork!IMG_3437

Greg Lambrecht, the inventor and founder of the company, demonstrated how the Coravin worked. A thin hollow needle is passed through the foil and cork to access the wine.  Then the bottle is filled with argon, an inert gas. The pressurized argon pushes the wine through the needle so it flows into your glass without permitting any oxygen to enter the bottle. Once the needle is removed, the cork naturally seals itself.  The wine remaining in the bottle continues to evolve naturally.  Five ounces of wine can be removed at one time.IMG_3432

Greg turned the bottle over but no wine seeped out. He had a bottle of Vietti Barolo “Castiglione” 2008 and had written on the label the date when wine was first removed with the Coravin–it was over a year ago. I know the Vietti wines and this was showing very well with no signs of age despite the missing wine.  Greg did the same with a white wine with the same results.  Greg said restaurants could use the Coravin for their wine by-the-glass program and retail stores for wine tasting.  For home use, you could drink a glass of white with one course and a glass of red with another.  It is also useful for older wines with corks that are difficult to remove

Felidia Restaurant has a special Coravin by-the-glass list of upscale wines.  The people that I know that have the Coravin are very happy with it.  Hoping I will get one for Christmas!  The Coravin cost $299 and the Coravin Capsule three-pack is $29.95 www.coravin.com and www.coravin.com/tec for a video. IMG_4446

For those who enjoy older wines and want to ensure easy cork removal, there is also the Durand. It is intended to remove only older fragile corks from bottles with an inside neck opening of approximately 3/4 inch. Basically, the Durand is a combination corkscrew and Ah-so. $125 www.thedurand.com

Books

Friends of Wine: In Vino Veritas by Michael Belardo. This is a photo essay of people in the wine business by a gifted photographer who is also in the wine business. There is a great picture of me sitting in the cellar of the legendary Bottega del Vino in Verona. www.Amazon.com

Beyond Barolo and Brunello: Italy’s Most Distinctive Wines by Tom Hyland. The book is divided by region and there are descriptions of 550 wines from more than 475 producers.  Also available on Kindle.  www.Amazon.comIMG_3148

Wine

Here are a few wine gift ideas. Since all of these wines will age, the prices of the older vintages will be higher.

Giulio Ferrari Riserva Del Fondatore, single vineyard, Methodo Classico. 100% Chardonnay $95

Trebbiano d’ Abruzzo 100% Trebbiano – Edorardo Valentini  (Abruzzo) $95

Chablis Grand Cru “Les Clos,” 100% Chardonnay. Rene & Vincent Dauvissant (Chablis) $165

Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico Riserva 100% Verdicchio. Aged in large oak barrels (botti) — Villa Bucci (Marche) $ 47

 Etna Bianco Superiore “Pietramarino” 100% Carricante –Benanti (Sicily) $48IMG_3439

 Montepulicano d’Abruzzo, 100% Montepuliciano – Emidio Pepe (Abruzzo) $85  Faro, Nerello Mascalese, Nerello, Cappucio, Acitana and Jacchè – Palari (Sicily) $85

Barbaresco “Ovello” 100% Nebbiolo – Produttori del Barbaresco (Piedmont) $57

 Faro, Nerello Mascalese, Nerello, Cappucio, Acitana and Jacchè – Palari (Sicily) $85

 Barolo “Vigna Elena”  100% Rosè a sub-variety ofNebbiolo – Cogno (Piedmont) $85

 Amarone della Valpolicella Classico 70%  Corvina Veronese and 30% Rondinella – Bertani (Veneto) $88

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Filed under Coravin, Durand, French White Wine, Italian Red Wine, Italian White Wine, Italian Wine

Eating in Provence: Rabbit, Gizzards, Pigeon and Bull

When I am in a restaurant in France I try to order dishes that are difficult to get in NYC.   On this trip so far, I have enjoyed rabbit, gizzards, pigeon and bull. 

La Bastide Bleu –Sequret

This is a very charming restaurant with outside dining in a courtyard of a farmhouse with very good Provencal food. I started with a salad of arugula and gesiers, confit gizzards, with hazelnuts and sun dried tomatoes, followed by braised rabbit with rice.

Confit Gizzards

Confit Gizzards

To go with the meal I ordered a bottle of Jean David Red Blend Cotes-Du-Rhone 2011 72%, Cinsault 10%, Carignan, Counoise 6% and the rest Syrah and Mourvedre.  Located within walking distance from the restaurant, the vineyards and winery are organic certified.IMG_3540

All work in the vineyards is done by hand and the soil is clay and limestone. There is no de-stemming.  Fermentation is with indigenous yeasts and varieties are co-fermented.  Both fermentation and aging occur in stainless steel or concrete. The wine is aged in concrete for one year. Bottling is done without fining and filtration and with minimal SO2. The wine has aromas and flavors of red fruit and a hint of spice. It is a well-structured wine and goes very well with food.

Lemon Sorbet

Lemon Sorbet

Our dessert was simple yet bracing, lemon sorbet drizzled with limoncello, and topped with whipped cream.

Auberge Du Beaucet — Beaucet

The Bull

The Bull

The restaurant is situated in a hill top village with a lovely dining room and covered terrace with great views. I ordered foie gras to start and then had roasted bull filet with red wine sauce.  The meat was chewy with a deep beefy flavor.   Fries made from butternut squash were a delicious accompaniment.IMG_3581

Chãteau Du Mourre Du Tendre 2005 Red Blend Cotes-Du-Rhone-Villages. This is a very traditional organic winery. Made from 65% Grenache, and 35% Mourvedre. The grapes are from a single parcel called Le Clos des Grenadiers that abuts the Chåteauneuf-du-Pape appellation. The Grenache was planted in 1925 and the Mourvedre was planted in 1969. The soil is gravelly clay-limestone. The vineyards are worked manually and as naturally as possible in terms of chemical additions. Pesticides have never been used. Yields are kept extremely low. Grapes are hand harvested. Triage (sorting) is done in the vineyard before grapes arrive at the winery. Grapes are all harvested by hand and sorted both in the vineyard and in the cellar. The grape bunches are not de-stemmed, and fermentation occurs naturally with indigenous yeasts and fairly long maceration. The wines are then aged for a minimum of 3 years in concrete tanks and old foudre, then bottled without filtration. This is a full-bodied wine with black fruit aromas and flavors, a hint of leather and a touch of spice. The current vintage is 2008

Restaurant Beaugraviere — Mondragon

This restaurant was a little out of the way but it has a great wine list featuring the wines of Côtes-du-Rhone, Chåteauneuf-du-Pape and Hermitage among many others.

The Piegon

The Piegon

They are also known for their truffles and have an entire truffle menu.  I started with sautéed foie gras with a puree of apples and Michele had a truffle omelet, which she really enjoyed.  For the second course I had pigeon, which was excellent.IMG_3588

Chãteauneuf –du-Pape White 2011 Domaine De Nalys Grenache, Clairette, Bourboulenc and Picpoul are put into temperature controlled stainless steel tanks and fermented at 18 degrees C. Rousianne and Picardan are barrel fermented before blending with the other varieties. Maturation takes place in tanks for 8/12 months. The wine does not undergo malolactic fermentation. Bottling is very early to keep the wine’s aromatic freshness. This is a wine with subtle citrus aromas and flavors with good minerality and a savory character.IMG_3592

Bandol 1993 Domaine Tempier made from 70/75% Mourvedre, 14/16% Grenache,8/9% Cinsault and 2/3% Carrignan depending on the vintage. The soil is a mix clay and limestone. Traditional tilled soil, both mechanically and by hand, without the use of herbicides. The vines are treated without any chemical fungicides. Grapes are harvested by hand and carried in small bins 30kg. Clusters are hand selected in the vineyard and in the cellar. After destemming traditional fermentation takes place with natural yeast for 2/3 weeks in temperature controlled stainless steel vats. After pressing, the wine is put into large oak casks 25/75HL to complete malolactic fermentation and to mature for 18/20 months. The wine is bottled without fining or filtering. This was a very impressive wine showing no real sign of age. It has black fruit aromas and flavors, with hints of leather and spice a long finish and a very pleasing aftertaste.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Auberge Du Beaucet, Bandol, Chateau Du Mourre Du Tendre, Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Domaine de Nalys, Domaine Tempier, French Red, French White Wine, French Wine, Jean David Wine, Restaurant Beaugraviere, Restaurant La Bastide Blue

In Provence

When we arrived in Provence the weather was very hot, just perfect for enjoying the Rosé wines from this enchanting part of France.  Of course we would drink some white wine and if the weather cooled off, a red wine or two. We had rented a house in Abignon near Carpentras. It is very near to great wine areas such as Gigondas, Beaumes de Venise, Cotes du Rhone, and Vaqueyras, so wine would not be a problem.

Buying Shrimp at the Market in Isle Sur La Sorgue

Buying Shrimp at the Market in Isle Sur La Sorgue

We decided to go out for one meal a day, usually lunch, and have one meal at the house. There is a large organic garden where we can pick our vegetables and there are a number of towns nearby with great farmers markets.

Veal and Langoustine

Veal and Langoustine

 For lunch one afternoon we went to Restaurant L’ Oustalet in Gigondas. This restaurant has a very interesting menu different from the typical ones in the area.  One of the courses I ordered was a carpaccio of veal and langoustine mixed together covered with foam. It was not what I expected but it was very good. They also have a very good wine list from which I ordered a bottle of white wine:IMG_3512

Coudoulet de Beaucastle 2011 Cotes- Du-Rhone made from 30% Bourboulemc, 10% Clairette, 30% Marsanna and 30% Viognier. The vines grow in a 3 acre vineyard between Orange and Avignon. There is manual harvesting, sorting of the grapes, pneumatic pressing, racking and fermentation partly in oak barrels and stainless steel tanks for 8 months. The wines are assembled and bottled without passage at low temperatures. This white wine with a mineral  and savory character, subtle citrus fruit, good acidity, a very pleasing dry finish and long aftertaste.

The Pizza

The Pizza

The house has a pizza oven on the property and one afternoon we decided to make pizza. Michele made the dough and I tended the fire and baked the pizzas.  With the pizza we drank:IMG_3526

Bandol Rosé 2012 AOC Bondol Domaine Tempier made from 50% Mourvédre, 28% Grenache, 20% Cinsault and 2% Carignan. The soil is a mix of clay and limestone; it is tilled mechanically and by hand. The grapes are harvested by hand and carried in small bins of 30 kg and hand selected in the vineyard and cellar. Vinification is by direct pressing or after cold maceration or by saignées between 5 and 10 percent. This is a Rosé with a lot of body and flavor, floral overtones, peaches, a hint of spice and good acidity. The wine worked very well with the pizza with its different toppings.IMG_3491

Les Palliēres “ au petit Bonheur” 2012 Rosé Vin de Table- the winery is located outside the village of Gigondas.  Made from Grenache, Syrah, Cinsault and Clairette, the blend depending on the vintage. The soil is clay and limestone and the vines are at 250 to 400. The grapes are sourced from younger vines and the juice is obtained from directed pressing.  Fermentation takes place in 650-liter demi-muids. This is a very pleasant wine with nice fruit aromas and flavors and a hint of melon. We enjoyed this wine with the shrimp that we purchased at the market.

Sparibs

Sparibs

We passed a farm stand one day advertising fresh cepes, porcini mushrooms.  They were big and beautiful and Michele bought a few to serve as our appetizer that night for dinner.  She larded the caps with slices of fresh garlic, drizzled  them with olive oil and sprinkled them with fresh thyme from the garden.  After roasting in a hot oven, they were tender and meaty, just the way we have eaten them in Italy.  For a second course, we had rotisserie spareribs that we had gotten at the market in Carpentras.  The wine for the night was a perfect choice: IMG_3529

Gigondas 2005 Clos du Joncuas made from 80% Grenache, and 20% Mourvedre, Cinsault and Syrah. They use organic methods in the vineyards and traditional vinification. The wine has red and black fruit aromas and flavors, hints of blackberry, blueberry and a touch of spice. It was an excellent combination with the roasted porcini mushrooms we had at the house. I do not believe this wine is imported into the US but I really liked it. The wine cost 14 Euros in the coop store in Gigondas.

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Filed under Bondol, Clos du Joncuas Gigondas, Coudoulet de Beaucastel, Domaine Tempier Rose, French Red, French White Wine, Gigondas, Les Pallieres Rose, Pizza and Wine, Provence, Rose, Uncategorized