November 03, 2014

October wines

First proper autumn month, but not according to the temperatures. Two days before Halloween and it was +15 and sunshine, bt I’m not complaining. The dark evenings are already here and soon it will be wet and windy as well. For both TheMan and myself October was a month of many hours at the office and long working weeks, which naturally were cured with some really nice wines and time spent in the kitchen cooking.

Peter Leheman Wigan Riesling was one of the first pricey and old Rieslings I bought and I still remember the wonderful first sip back in my tiny kitchen. Lots of peach, lime, mineral and hints of kiwi. An old school Riesling from the new world. So when a new vintage showed up in the wine shop I just had to buy a couple of bottles so TheMan could experience what I did back years ago. And he did. He was very impressed and again I have showed him that Australia makes excellent wine. A lot more than those bulk wines that you can find everywhere

Opening a bottle of Château La Nerthe Châteauneuf-du-Pape brought us immediately back to our first night in Châteauneuf-du-Pape and France this summer and exactly what the doctor order after a long week. Dark plum colour, spice, bay leaf, pepper and some liquorice. Matched with grilled filet of lamb and potatoes au gratin and we were in food heaven.

Sancerre, the golden nectar of angels as a sales woman at Copenhagen airport once said and I tend to agree. Henri Bourgeois La Bourgeoise Sancerre was of course no exception. Gun-flint aromas and a spicy bouquet of subtle wood and a very reminiscent taste of the Sauvignon flower and grape. Matched with grilled salmon, baby potatoes and lime dressing this was a Sunday dinner to remember.

Catstello di Fonterutoli, our all-time favourite winery in Tuscany that just keeps on make wonderful wines year after year. When I found the 2012 vintage of Fonterutoli in the wine shop it was another must to buy. Not only because once again it have received 92 points in Wine Spectator. But mostly because 2012 was the summer we visited Fonterutoli. A hot and dry summer has made it very well proportioned with dark berries and spice flavours with an intense and smooth taste.

2012 Fonterutoli No 10

NV Ruinart R Brut Champagne

2009 Peter Lehman Wigan Riesling

2009 Xavier Châteauneuf-du-Pape

2010 Poliziano Vino Nobile di Montepulciano

2011 Olivier Leflaive Bourgogne Cuvée Margot

2012 Fonterutoli

2007 2010 Campogiovanni Rosso di Montalcino

2009 Château La Nerthe Châteauneuf-du-Pape

2010 Henri Bourgeois La Bourgeoise Sancerre

2008 Brunello di Montalcino Ciacci Piccolomini d'Aragona

2011 Jacquesson Cuvée nº 737

2011 Trimbach Gewurztraminer

2001 Château Cassagne Haut-Canon La Truffière

2012 Barone Ricasoli Torricella

2009 Poliziano Vino Nobile di Montepulciano

2012 Brancia Tre

2012 Domaene Gobelsburg Grüner Veltliner

October 21, 2014

September wines

Summer temperatures continued yet for another month which meant plenty of rosé wines and light summer food. And not to forget summer clothes. I don’t think I put on socks until the second half of the month.

The highlight of the month was of course TheMan’s and my 3 year anniversary. Unbelievable that it has been 3 years already. 3 years since a walk by the sea, followed by a glass of Taittinger Brut Réserve, a glass of Australian Riesling from Tim Addams and a bottle of Château Mont-Redon Châteauneuf-du-Pape. I’m no doubt a true wine geek remembering all this… And in those three years we have managed to visit both Taittinger and Château Mont Redon. A visit to Tim Adams requires some more travelling, but you never know…

As anniversary dinner this year we stayed true to our first dinner and the Rhone Valley with having a very nice bottle of Croezes Hermitage from E. Guigal. Blackberries, cherries and violets in an excellent mix of pepper and herbs.

2010 Rotari Rosé

2011 Olivier Leflaive Bourgogne Cuvée Margot.

2013 Château des Demoiselles Cuvée Madame

2009 Domäne Wachau Riesling Smaragd Singerriedel

NV Delamotte Brut

2012 J M Brocard Chablis Vieilles Vignes Sainte Claire

2008 Kononkop Pinotage

NV Dopff Brut Cuvée Julien

2012 Schloss Gobelsburg Kammerner Gaisberg Riesling Erste Lage

2009 E. Guigal Croezes Hermitage

2005 M. Chapoutier Les Arenes Cornas

2012 Torricella

September 16, 2014

August wines

 Back home again from France our holiday continued for another two weeks. Two weeks that of course flew by and included both DIY-work at home and some boating.

Wine wise we continued with a lots of French with some mix of Italian. Looking at the list below I realize now that it isn’t much other than French and Italian wine in our cellar. I think we need to broaden our horizon a bit…

Favourite of the month was 2008 La Bastide Blanche from Bandol (one of the favourite places of our trip to France). Mourvèdre and Grenache in a perfect combination. And yes you can almost taste and smell the sea.

Another favourite and also amazing fizz for the money was NV Dopff Brut Cuvée Julien from Alsace. The perfect aperitif to get a dinner going with winter apples, biscuits and hints of grapefruit.

It was also with great fondness we opened a bottle of 2010 Mas de La Grange Blanche Châteauneuf-du-Pape from Domaines Moussett., where we stopped the first night on our trp. Lots of red berries, cherries and pepper. Smells of leather and cocoa. A young CdP at clearly at its best.

2011 Arthur Metz Gewurztraminer

2012 Leth Duett Riesling Grüner Veltliner Trocken

2013 Henri Bourgeois Sancerre Les Baronnes Rosé

2012 Epicuro Zinfandel

2010 Poliziano Vino Nobile di Montepulciano
NV Taittinger Brut Réserve

2011 Trimbach Riesling

2009 Domaine du Vieux Lazaret Châteauneuf-du-Pape

2007 Castelnau de Suduiraut Sauternes

NV Louis Roederer Brut Premier

2012 Barone Ricasoli Torricella

2008 La Bastide Blanche

NV Pol Roger Brut Réserve

2011 Le Volte

2005 Conde de Valdemar Gran Reserva

2008 Palmer & Co Blanc de Blancs Brut

2010 Mas de La Grange Blanche Châteauneuf-du-Pape

NV Dopff Brut Cuvée Julien

2012 Domaene Gobelsburg Grüner Veltliner

August 31, 2014

July wines

Nothing is like waiting and after having planed our trip to France since January it was finally time to go in July. On Bastille Day (July 14) we arrived in Châteauneuf-du-Pape and Château des Fines Roches. Sitting almost next to the vine we had dinner watching the sun set over the different châteaus and wine yards. What a fantastic way to start a holiday. And guess what we were drinking?! The obvious choice of course - 2009 Château La Nerthe Châteauneuf-du-Pape from the château next-door

We spent one week in Rhone visiting both small family owned wineries and large well known wineries such as Château Mont Redon, Château La Nerthe, Paul Jaboulet Aîné and M. Chapoutier. Despite being small or large they have one thing in common and that is passion for wine and winemaking. Just like last year we met with very passionate and proud people who work very hard to craft some of the best wines in the world.

Our second week started with a weekend in Marseille. A city that neither of us really liked. It was extremely hot (even in the middle of the night), so eating bouillabaisse was totally out of the question. But most of all we didn’t like the mix of old and new that everyone finds charming. For us it was just a loud, dirty and worn down city. Leaving Marseille behind and driving east along the Mediterranean coast we headed for Cassis and Bandol and of course the wines coming from that area. The highlight of that area was most likely our visit to Château Pibarnon. The drive on a steep narrow road higher and higher up was quite an experience and I think we both let out a sigh of a relief when we finally arrived at the chateau. A magnificent chateau with a magnificent view and magnificent wine.

The final days of our trip was spent on the Rivera in Cannes and Nice. Both TheMan and I had been there before so instead of hitting the beach like everyone else (we did that too) we visited several little villages in the mountains. Visited the home of painters Renoir, Matisse and Chagall and of course just enjoyed being away from home. Sitting in a park watching people can be wonderful relaxing.

As usual we enjoyed the French food and never really had a bad meal. Some meal were of course a lot better than others. For example one night at Le Park 45 where we sat in the garden watching the sun set in the Mediterranean having gambas, sea bass, duck breast and coriander-apricot ice cream. To drink our favourite domaine in Bourgogne - Olivier Leflaive Montrachet Puligny 2009.

Another wonderful and interesting meal was at Keisuke Matsushima in Nice on my birthday. French fine dining by a Japanese chef. How about foie gras and nougat? Or pigeon breast in a Japanese style bird nest?

Also as per usual when it was time to go home after 14 days on the road neither THeMan nor I wanted to go home. For us there is something special about France, the food, the wine and the people which make us want to come back again and again. And again. And we will.

2013 Henri Bourgeois Sancerre Les Baronnes Rosé

2006 Taittinger Brut Millésimé

2001 Clos du Mont Olivet Châteauneuf-du-Pape

2009 Château La Nerthe Châteauneuf-du-Pape

2012 Château Gigognan Cotes du Rhone Vignes du Prieure

2013 Domaine d'Eole Rosé

2013 La Lauza Cuvée Aurelia

2013 Domaine de Cagueloup Bandol Blanc

2011 Telegramme Châteauneuf-du-Pape

2013 Domaine du Paternel Cassis Blanc de Blancs

2013 Château Sainte Marguerite Cru Classé

2009 Domaine Leflaive Puligny Montrachet

2010 Château Romassan Rouge Bandol

2012 Le Domaine de Frégate Cru Classé Rosé

2013 Domaine Guilbert Rosé

2013 Domaine Des Trois Filles Rosé

2011 Domaine Le Clos des Cazaux Gigondas

2003 Tenimenti Angelini Brunello di Montalcino

2011 Couly-Dutheil Domaine Rene Couly

2013 Château des Demoiselles Cuvée Madame

July 10, 2014

June wines

Yet another month with nice summer weather and temps far above average. But as always it did rain and was cold as well on Midsummer. Why change an old tradition?!

Favourites of the month are:
2010 Cuvée Sextant
2012 Fonterutoli No 10
2012 Domaine Weinbach CuvéeTheo Gewurztraminer

All wines with strong characteristics, great craftsmanship and knowledge behind.

Being summer there has of course been a lot of rosé wine, where again just like last year and the year before Henri Bourgeois Sancerre Les Baronnes Rosé has become my favourite.

2012 Henri Bourgeois Sancerre Les Baronnes Rosé

2009 Fonterutoli

2012 Mas du Rouyre Viognier

2010 Cuvée Sextant

2012 Fonterutoli No 10

2012 Joseph Drouhin Bourgogne Aligoté

2007 Palmer & Co Blanc de Blancs

2012 Domaine Weinbach CuvéeTheo Gewurztraminer

2013 Clos Henri Sauvignon Blanc

2009 Fratelli Revello Barbera d'Alba

2007 Campogiovanno Brunello di Montalcino

2008 Brunello di Montalcino Villa Poggio Salvi

2009 Masi Amarone Costasera

NV Ariston Fils Champagne Carte Blanche

June 16, 2014

May wines

One week it was Easter and the next week it was May. Calendar is slightly crazy this year. Just like every year May disappeared somewhere in between busy working schedules trying to finish up before the summer and wonderful sunny days when you just want to be outside.

Three wines stood out particular well this month. From the New World and Napa Valley, California - 2005 Corison Cabernet Sauvignon Kronos Vineyard. Dark red colour with a medium body. On the nose blackberries, liquorice, cassis and leather. On the palate cherries, blackberries, chocolate and liquorice. Just amazing and clearly a proof that Cabernet Sauvignons from the New World are as good as the French ones.

From France and Margaux, 2007 Château Brane-Cantenac which we opened in honour of Dad’s 80th birthday. It was also the first bottle I bought when getting serious about wine. Again in honour of Dad and remembering the (pretty) golden label from his cellar when I was a child. But I’m sure it said 1984 on his bottles… (At his death there were plenty cases of 1984 Bordeaux in the cellar which Mum happily drank without knowing what goldmine it actually was...) Nevertheless the 2007 vintage wasn’t too shabby either. Still young with a medium body. Dark fruity nose with both hints of cedar and minerals or gravels really. On the palate black currant, plums, earth and oak with a slight herbal finish.

Last but not least from Italy and Tuscany, 2007 Castello di Fonterutoli. The Fonterutoli Estate is avery special place to TheMan and I after celebrating my 40th birthday there a couple of years ago, but we would not have gone there in the first place if it wasn’t for their amazing wines. 85% Sangiovese, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot makes it a wonderful intense and complex Chianti Classico. Great structure. Plenty of cherry, chocolate and vanilla on the nose. On the palate lots of cherry and dried flowers with a rich and persistent finish.

2009 Domäne Wachau Riesling Smaragd Singerriedel

NV Henri Giraud Esprit Rose

2004 Baron de Ley 7 Viñas Reserva

2009 Tim Adams Semillon

NV Bruno Paillard Première Cuvée

2010 Seghesio Cortina Zinfandel

2012 Mazzei Codice V

2012 Henri Bourgeois Sancerre Les Baronnes Rosé

2011 Trimbach Riesling

2009 Château des Jacques Morgan

2005 Corison Cabernet Sauvignon Kronos Vineyard

2009 Fonterutoli

2012 Chateau Ste Michelle Chardonnay

2010 Rotari Rosé

NV Taittinger Brut Réserve

2012 Schloss Gobelsburg Kammerner Gaisberg Riesling Erste Lage

2010 Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Poliziano

2009 Château Grillon Sauternes

2007 Château Brane-Cantenac

2012 Barone RicasoliTorricella

2007 Castello di Fonterutoli

NV Champagne Henri Giraud Esprit de Giraud Blanc de Blances

May 09, 2014

Eating in Paris

Paris is of course heaven for food and wine lovers. Without thinking about it we managed to get a theme for our dinners– old Belle Époque brasseries and restaurants. Our first dinner was at Brasserie Julien in the 10th arr. Two different colleagues had spoken very well about the place, all though the area was a bit run down and dodgy. Especially if you arrived by Metro. It’s very rare that I feel out of place when I travel. I usually manage to mix in and act confident (thanks to many years of solo traveling), but the short walk from the metro to Brasserie Julien got me feeling somewhat uncomfortable and I was definitely on the outlook. I noticed that TheMan felt the exact same and when we were about to say something about it we had arrived at the restaurant. Opening the door we were transferred back to the early 1900’s. A waiter in waistcoat and a long black apron greeted us and showed us our table. The menu was full of classic French dishes such as steak tartar, escargots, foie gras, onion soup, steak et frites, calf liver, crème brûlée, profiteroles, crêpes suzette and many more.

After much thinking I went with foie gras (my weakness), steak frites and crème brûlée. Au contraire to fine dine dining restaurants brasseries serves a lot of food and pretty big portions. Quite a bit value for your money and the goal is that no one leaves hungry. TheMan went with onion soup, stek et frites and profiteroles. All very nice. On the menu we also found wine from Couly-Dutheil, one of the estates we visited last year in Loire, which we of course ordered. So things couldn’t have been better on our first dinner in Paris.

On Friday night we had made reservations at La Couple, an art deco brasserie in Montparnasse, famous for its dome (couple) based on the idea of an upside down champagne coupe glass. Arriving just in time for our reservation we had to queue to get in as the place was huge. Actually so huge we didn’t notice that some UK friends were seated at one of the tables, and during the evening our paths never crossed.

Seated with a glass of champagne we looked at the menu and quickly decided to go with the today’s special. White asparagus as starter and grilled fresh sole as main. Sadly enough they were all out of sole when ordered we had to do with halibut instead (which really never is a bad choice either). Usually two or three of those large white asparagus is enough as a starter. Here we got six of them. Nevertheless perfect and the Sauce Mousseline to go with them was divine. The halibut was unfortunately a bit dry but baby potatoes and buttery greens made it all up. To drink we had a bottle of Pierre André Meursault, which turned out to be a wonderful match. When it was time for dessert I couldn’t make up my mind if I was going to have some cheese (you really can’t go to France without having cheese) or profiteroles with warm chocolate ganache. After some debate my sweet tooth got the better of me and I decided to have profiteroles. When they arrived it wasn’t just one profiterole, there were three of them and they were big, very big with both ice cream and whipped cream along with plenty of chocolate ganache. Too much? Absolutely! Did eat all of them? Absolutely, but skipped out on the whipped cream which never has been a favourite of mine.

Usually a railway station restaurant gives you bad vibes, or at least it’s not a place you make reservations to have a nice dinner at. But that is just what we did for our final night in Paris. We made reservations at Le Train Blue at Gare de Lyon. A restaurant built at the turn of the Century - 1900 - mixing brasserie style food with gourmet and fine dining food. After a brief look at the menu we both decided to go with their Tasting Menu which included 6 courses and a bottle of Pommery Royal Brut Champagne.

  • Baked scallop, grilled leek, creamed sea-urchin tongues
  • Home-cooked duck foie gras, stewed red onions with blackcurrant berries
  • Pike and crayfish dumplings in Nantua sauce
  • Green apple sorbet, chilled Manzana
  • Heart of fillet of beef Rossini, veal truffle gravy, mushroom cannelloni with capes and chanterelles
  • The pastry chef’s inspiration – chocolate and nougat cake

The food was very nice, but maybe not as good as we had expected. Again it was brasserie food with a touch of gourmet food and unfortunately trying to be both it became nothing special. For a while we thought that we might have become too picky, but there was nothing wrong with the food. Great quality and prepared with love. It just didn’t stand out. Still it was quite an experience having dinner watching the TGV trains come and go. And of course all the people you see at a busy station.

For lunch on Sunday before heading to the airport we ended up at Le Grand Hotel’s winter garden or Le Bar. Having entered through the doors of Café de la Paix next to the Opera we were kindly guided through the café and restaurant since they were very busy (being Easter Sunday) and we were showed into a lovely winter garden style lounge area. After some confusion we realised that the whole block including café, bar and restaurant all belonged to the Grand Hotel. Despite being a bar menu the menu was very good and the wine list excellent. Haven’t had enough cheese (there isn’t a thing called too much cheese, is there?) I ordered a cheese plate with a glass of Côtes du Rhône-Villages whereas TheMan went with a shrimp salad and a glass of Chablis. The hustle and bustle of busy Paris streets were far away when sitting there and if it wasn’t for our flight home I’m sure we would have stayed on.

Summarizing our trip on the train to the airport we both agreed again that food and wine in France is divine. (Might be the reason why we are going there again this summer…) Food in France is always produced with love, prepared with love and served with love. Food is without a doubt serious business and that is probably why everything is so fabulous.