Tag Archives: French Wine

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

Welcoming In The New Year!

We have never had a New Year’s Eve Party. The most we ever did was invite another couple over for dinner.  Since 1981 we have been going on and off– mostly on–to a friend’s party where we always have a great time. This year, however, another friend called Michele and invited himself to our house for New Year’s Eve.  We were going to be with him at Bern’s Steak House in Tampa the night before and I guess he figured why not make the party last longer.  Not only was it New Year’s Eve, but it was also his birthday.  Michele could not turn him down so she invited the whole group of friends who would be with us in Tampa to come for dinner.  It turned out to be a perfect New Year’s Eve with great food, wine and dear friends.

Since we were welcoming in the New Year we had four Champagnes.IMG_2595

The Champagne

Delamotte Brut NV Made from 50% Chardonnay, 30% Pinot Noir and 20% Pinot Meunier. It was light and fresh with citrus aromas and flavors and good acidity. This Champagne works well as an aperitif and was a nice way to begin this festive evening. It is a good value at $35IMG_2615

Bollinger Vieilles Vignes Françaises Blanc de Noirs Recolte Brut 2002 100% Pinot Noir. The grapes come from plots owned by Bollinger that were not attacked by phylloxera in the Grand Crus of Chaudes Temes and Clos St. Jacques in Ay and Croix Rough in Bouzy. These three plots are maintained traditionally following the provignace method (burying a branch which is separated from the parent vine once it has taken root) and worked by hand with the help sometimes of a horse cart. This is a great Champagne – one that gets your attention and you drink very slowly.
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Krug Brut Grande Cuvée Made from Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay– the percent depends upon the vintage. They blend about 120 wines from 10 or more different vintages and it is aged for at least 6 years in the cellars. All of their Champagnes are aged in used small oak barrels. They are all prestige cuvees- -made from Grand Cru and Premier Cru villages and are aged longer before release. The overall rating for the vineyards is 98% with Krug’s own vineyards rating 100%. This is the wine we drank at midnight to ring in the New Year.IMG_2599Krug Brut 1988 It is aged 10 years before release.
What can I say about Krug but that it is Krug! IMG_2601

The Red Wine
Burgundy
Corton-Bressandes 1990 Joseph Drouhin 100% Pinot Noir. There are 10,000 to 12,500 plants/h
Harvesting is by hand, sorting in the vineyard and again in the winery if necessary. Maceration and vinification take 2 to 3 weeks with the use of indigenous yeast and temperature controlled fermentation. Pigeage-pumping down of the must during fermentation tales place once a day until one half of the fermentation is complete. Then remontage- pumping over takes place until fermentation is complete. The wine is aged in French oak, mostly Troncay, 20% new barrels between 14 to 18 months. The barrels are weathered for 3 years before they are used. A fining collage is done to clarify the wine after a careful tasting. This could not have been showing better -great Burgundy.IMG_2602

Nuits-Saint- Georges Les Vaucrains (infertile land) 1980 Robert Chevillon The vineyard exposure is East by Northeast and the altitude is 206/280 meters with a grade of 15%. They are old vines, the vineyard is 1.6h and the harvest is by hand. The soil is regularly plowed and the vines are only treated when necessary. Once the grapes have been harvested, destemmed and vatted, they remain in the vat 5 to 6 days during the cold maceration process, fermentation starts naturally. There is a long slow fermentation. Primary fermentation is in stainless steel cuvees and then the wine is racked into the barrel. It is aged in oak barrels of which 20% are new for about 16 months. The wine is bottled by gravity. This was a very interesting wine with nice fruit and a hint of blackberry. This is a producer that I have very little experience with but after tasting this wine I will try to correct this in the New Year.

Hermitage 1990 E. Guigal 100% Syrah old vines. The soil is limestone gravel and sand. At the time Guigal did not own vineyards but purchased wine that had been vinified by growers according to the Guigal method. Robert M. Parker Jr in his book The Wines of the Rhone Valley and Provence states: “Guigal does not fine the wine and will not filter it.”  The wine is aged 3 to 3 1|2 in wooden barrels and large foundres. Parker goes on to say “He (Guigal) is a great believer in long wood aging and is always the last to bottle his Hermitage. On the Guigal 1980 Hermitage Parker says “ Giugal bottled two separate lots of the red Hermitage in 1980. One is good- deep in color, spice and rich in fruit though somewhat short finish. The other lot is more austere, tart, and surprising lean. There is no way of telling the difference between them before pulling the cork”.  Parker’s rating for this wine is a” ?”.
I guess we were lucky because the bottle we drank had good fruit with a hint of spice, long finish, and nice aftertaste and was not showing its age.IMG_2605
Barsac Chateau Suau 2 Cru 1947 – I believe the grapes are 80% Sêmillon, 10% Sauvignon Blanc and 10% Muscadelle. It was still drinking but really showing its age.IMG_2603

Madeira Sercial 1910 Leacock Made from the Sercial grape. Sercial Maderia is the driest of the four classic varieties of Madeira. It is also the lightest and most acidic and delicate expression of Madeira and takes the longest to mature. Maderia Sercial is a white fortified wine made on the volcanic island of Madeira, which belongs to Portugal. I just sat there and drank this wine into the New Year.

We are back on I-Italy|TV:   This Saturday at 11:00 PM repeated Sunday at 1:00 PM.

Michele’s new book  The Mediterranean Slow Cooker comes out this week

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Filed under Barsac Chateau Suau, Bollinger Blanc de Noirs Recolte, Bollinger Champagne, Champagne, Delamotte NV, Drouhin, Guigal, Hermitage, Krug Champagne, Robert Chevillon, Vintage Madeira