February 29, 2020 - Joncuas Domaine de la Garanciere Seguret 'Blanc' 2016
You got the Clairette (50%), and the rest half Roussanne and Viognier always organically farmed from clay-limestone soils with wild yeast fermentation and aged in enamel vat. Unfined and unfiltered.
Cristal clear pale gold with green tinge featuring a clean dry floral nose of crushed rocks, dry pear and apricot, hay (from the Clairette), honeysuckle and citrus nuances. Medium intensity and a lovely touch of verbena.
On the palate is dry, with medium intensity, medium plus acidity and medium length.
Mineral notes, lemony/stony nuances, ginger, a touch of honey and butterscotch wraps up the wine surprisingly well supported by the acidity that keeps it going.
Mountain herbs and flowers, white plum, pronounced acidity and generous body makes this a very good structured wine with attention to the details offering balance, and freshness at the same time.
Drink now or hold it up to 5-7 years.
We successfully paired this wine with a chickpea velloute’ and spot prawns. For this recipe( for 4) you will need 200gr of dry chickpeas, 20 spot prawns preferable fresh, extra virgin olive oil, 2 garlic cloves, 1 lemon, a spring of rosemary and one of thyme, few mint leafs , black peppercorn and salt.
The night before put the chickpeas in cold sparkling water to soak for 12 hours. Then rinse them in cold water.
Cook them in cold water adding a sac a poche with the garlic, thyme and rosemary. Cook them slowly till the chickpeas will become tender.
Strain them while keeping its water and puree them in a Vitamix to obtain a very smooth cream. Adjust the density with a bit of water from the cooking and a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil per person. Adjust the seasoning.
In a bowl peel and dice the prawns, dress them with extra virgin olive oil, salt, pepper, the skin of a lemon finely diced or grated and mint.
Pour the veloute’ in each plate and garnish with the prawns. Finish it with a drizzle of oil and serve immediately.
February 1, 2020 - Cascina Val del Prete Roero Arneis "Luet" 2017
Cascina Val del Prete or “Valley of the Priest” takes the name from the Bishop of Asti who lived there in 1850. Its Arneis grapes are planted on the East-west facing slopes in a splendid natural amphitheater. This organic estate was bought in 1977 by Bartolomeo Roagna and his wife Carolina. The son Mario runs now the operation.
The wine displays a crystal clear pale gold color with medium length legs and clear rim. It has a clean nose with medium intensity floral notes followed by mineral ones, along with fennel pollen, thyme, sage and green apple. Then the calcareous-sandy aroma compound starts to come out of the glass once the wine gets warmer.
The wine is dry, crispy yet a bit waxy as its barrel fermented with MLF, with medium plus acidity and medium length, displaying notes of citrus peel, chamomile and unripe white peach plus its pit.
A very good aromatic Arneis with medium intensity notes of orange blossom, white flower, and a hint of nuttiness.
Very different from the previous year where the mango and banana were dominating nose and palate.
2017 vintage has the acidity that his predecessor didn’t have, and it’s more linear and minerally structured, with its floral nose note of grapefruit peel, fennel pollen, thyme and sage.
That being said, the sheer weight of this wine gives considerable character and the quality shine through on the long, white peach pit-mineral and mandarin finish.
Mandarin finish that came out while pairing this very nice Arneis with the typical Rabbit all'Arneis dish with shallots and Carrots we eat in Piedmont.
For this course you will need 1 rabbit cut into pieces, three carrots, 4 shallots, 2 cloves of garlic, three bay leaf, one spring of rosemary and one of thyme. Good salt and pepper.
Some good extra virgin olive oil.
1 cup of Arneis wine, and two cups of chicken stock and a bit of finely chopped Italian parsley.
Cut peeled carrots into sticks, peel and quarter the shallots, peel the garlic and set aside.
Cut the rabbit into pieces by taking apart the legs, the shoulders and front legs. Chop the rest of the body into 1 inch thick.
Season the rabbit pieces with salt and pepper, and sear them with garlic, rosemary, thyme and bay leaf in a medium sauce pan till golden in color.
Add the carrot sticks and the shallots to the pot, let it sautee’ gently with the meat for about 6 minutes till aromas start to come out.
Flash the rabbit with a cup of Arneis, let evaporate by half, add the stock and parsley and simmer gently, covered, for 1 and a 15 minutes till tender.
Let it rest (very important for a tender meat!), serve with polenta with tons of fontina melted in or pappardelle with parmigiano, butter and its juices.
January 18, 2020 - Stephane Roussett Crozes-Hermitage 2016
This plot of precious land within this appellation was previously owned by the legendary Raymond Roure, one of the few Master Winemaker Crozes-Hermitage has ever seen-in red especially.
Not all of his vineyards got sold to Paul Jaboulet in 2015 tho. Stephan’s dad Robert Rousset purchased a few as well, mostly notably a piece of the lieu-dit, “Les Picaudieres”, a merely one hectare planted with 90+ old vines.
This prestigious site in the commune Gervans is historically the most revered vineyards on this side of the river. A steep, south-facing granite hill.
With its brittle granite and schist-like shards, nearly void of topsoil thanks to the gravity, it may produce one of the most singular wines from the entire appellation and surely one of its most recognizable when tasted.
There is nothing quite like Les Picaudieres, alone and surrounded by forests on steep slopes, high altitude , close to the river and with a unique geology and microclimate area that creates the perfect growing environment conditions.
It carries the brilliant fusion of Cote Rotie-like elegance with penetrating mineral textures and Hermitage’s rich, upfront earthiness and darker fruit.
Wine is made by typically destemming the clusters with spontaneous yeast fermentation in stainless steel vats and with minimal pumpover to avoid too much extractions of harden tannins from the seeds. Time on the skin before pressing can be up to a month in order to move past some primary fruit and superficial fermentative aromas, bringing more emphasis to the wine’s deeper complexities at an earlier stage in its life.
Very little new oak is used as new wood is brought in only to replace spent barrels.
The wine displays a deep ruby colour and purplish-red tinge. It has a rich, medium plus aroma intensity displaying deep black fruit like black cherry, cassis and blackberry and very well integrated soft oak nuances. Then the raspberries and the granite mineral notes start to come out from the glass. At this point you already know this wine has something special.
In the mouth the wine is dry, warm, round but elegant, with finesse. Soft, carrying red and black berry fruit like blueberry, cassis and a touch of grapefruit zest. Very well balanced with medium plus tannins and medium plus acidity and a long harmonious finish with notes of minerality that keep it going for a very long time.
This wine can be enjoyed now by previously decanting it for an hour. It will last for a decade or so.
We paired with a “Turkey breast au vin” and it was a great match. Use a chicken supreme if turkey is not your thing. Rabbit could be great as well by using the same method (de-boned, stuffed with herb and rolled up into a roulade).
For the turkey, you will need a turkey breast skin on, one onion, two carrots, a handful of fresh sage, fresh parsley, fresh rosemary and two cloves of garlic. A small piece of guanciale or pancetta and a handful of dried porcini (to be soaked in a cup of hot water). Red wine and a bit of chicken stock.
A spring of fresh thyme and two bay leafs. A half cup of cognac
Ask your butcher to butterfly your turkey breast leaving it at least two inches thick if possible.
At home chop fine herbs and garlic, season the inside of the turkey breast with salt and black pepper. Spread with half of the herb-garlic mixture and tie the breast or use the net.
Sear the breast in two tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil till golden in color. Set aside.
Add the guanciale cut into thin strips and crisp them up, three minutes at medium heat.
Add the thin sliced onion, chopped carrots and sweat. Five more minutes. Splash if with half cup of cognac, let evaporate. Add a cup of red wine, a spring of fresh thyme and two bay leafs and reduce it by half. Return the turkey breast in the pot, cover half of it with stock if necessary and simmer, covered with a lid, slow till internally reach 160f.
Take the breast out of the pot, reduce the juices and serve this sliced with your favourite greens.
January 4, 2020 - Karthäuserhof Riesling Alte Reben Spätlese Trocken 2015
With almost a millennium of history behind this estate, it’s safe to say that this wine is hundreds of years in the making.
This wine comes from the estate’s oldest vines, or “alte reben’ and the grapes are harvested later in the vintage (Spatlese), but still fermented dry (Trocken)-hence the nomenclature ‘Spatlese Trocken’ on the label. So even though the wine is ripe and dense, it finishes dry and electric. Full and dry wine from an ‘epic’ and one of the ‘best of the century’ vintage.
The region is the Mosel, the Sub-Region is the Eitelsbach, the soil is Devonian Blue Slate & Iron, the wine is organic and of course 100% Riesling.
This beautiful countryside estate of Karthauserhof (which translates to “Farm of the Carthusians”) has a rich history dating back to the 11th century, when it was first established as a monastery. More recently, however, the past six generations of winemaking have belonged to the same family, with legendary Christoph Tyrell overseeing operations from 1986 (he won winemaker of the year in 1997) until 2012.
2015 marked the beginning of a new period in the estate’s history with the comeback of the great winemaker Ludwig Breiling, supported by the collaboration of Sascha Dannhauser, now head winemaker.
Most unique is their continuous 19-hectare monopole (single-vineyard, single owner) named Karthauserhofberg. Organic farming is practiced, and, instead of pesticides, pheromones are applied in order to keep insects at bay.
Post-harvest, as many as 60 different batches of grapes are vinified separately in stainless steel tanks and a final blend is created before a short period of rest in their vaulted stone cellars.
In the glass this Riesling reveals a pale, light yellow hue color with green reflections throughout.
The wine has a wonderful concentration noticeable to the eye and most certainly on the palate.
The nose is intense, with green mango peel and peach pit, lime zest, lemon blossom and white Rainier cherry. Thanks to old vines and an ancient terroir, classic Mosel notes of wet slate, crushed rock, petrol and benzene and honeysuckle also come through jumping from the glass.
The palate very much confirm the nose, while unveiling the weight behind the wine. It’s not a light Riesling, it has great purity and intensity with again aromas and flavors of wet slate, citrus and stone fruit. Give it few more years and you’ll get the honey, dry apricot and more petrol aromas compounds that will come with age.
It’s a dry, high acid, medium plus body masterpiece of a wine. Still it its’ youth this vine needs an hour minimum of decanting to be enjoyed at a temperature of 10C.
We tried the wine with achiote marinated & grilled chicken breast supreme and with achiote Australian lamb chops but the one that really made the difference was a Vietnamese Spiced Pate’.
You will need 1lb of pork ground shoulder, 1 lb of chicken liver, 1 /12lb pork back fat, 15 slices of raw bacon, 2 garlic cloves, crushed, 2 minced shallots, 1 egg, 1 yolk,1 1/2tbsp fish sauce, 1 1/2tbsp cognac, ½ tsp cinnamon, ½tsp ground coriander, ½ tsp ground cumin, a pinch of allspice, a pinch of nutmeg, 2 tsp salt, 1 tsp ground black pepper.
Clean livers from sinew and webs. Ground liver, pork, fat back, garlic and shallots. Grind twice with a food processor for a smoother texture.
Ina bowl fold meat texture and remaining ingredients together except the bacon.
Preheat the oven to 350f. Lay down the bacon strips in a 24oz plate terrine or loaf pan of 8x4x31/4, overlapping slightly and hanging over the sides of your pan. Fill pan with meat texture and fold over the remaining bacon.
Place pate in a large roasting pan and fill it with water till it reaches about 2/3 up the sides of the loaf pan. Bake the pate’ till it reach the internal temperature of 150f.
Allow the pate to remain in the fat, in the pan while cooling down.
It will last in your fridge for about 5 days.
December 28, 2019 - Clos Siguiers Cahors 2016
Giles Bley knows the history of Cahors and can trace his wine growing roots in the AOC back many generations. His profound understanding of the Malbec and Tannat wines on his 15-hectare estate gives him the capability to highlights the unheard potential for delicacy in his wines beside the fact that this appellation is traditionally known for its heavy and brooding black wines that takes years to reveal any fruit.
This is not the case with Clos Siguier and his vines as they are on the lesser-known, better drained terroir, up on the flat terrace above the Lot River, producing wines that are surprisingly bright and fruit-driven with depth and red and black fruit, subtle terroir and silken tannins.
This organic wine comes from 60 years old vines, 95% Malbec and 5% Tannat is readily accessible but also age-worthy for few years.
Displays a clear, medium red ruby colour with purplish red tinge and slow tears.
It has a clean nose with medium intensity flavour characteristics of leather, tobacco, cherry and wet box. A touch of dill and loads of tar as well as cool dark tea that dominates the nose.
A fruit driven palate follows and is backed by pounded stones. It has a medium body with medium acidity, silken tannins and medium intensity flavour characteristics of black currant, forest nuances, again black tea, tar and tobacco.
This is a very good wine, to be enjoyed now and for the next 5 to 7 years.
The wine paired well with house made Soppressata salami and hard cheese like Parmigiano, but the curry beef and curry lentils brought out the spices present in the wine, clove and cinnamon with the mushrooms, calcareous notes and cocoa nuances.
Which took as to drink it with Braised Beef Rump (or better Beef Shoulder Clod) Piedmont style cooked with a bit of cocoa and of course the wine. Delicious.
For the Brasato you’ll need a piece of Rump or Shoulder roast, an onion, two garlic cloves, a couple of carrots a piece of celery tied up with a spring of rosemary, Italian parsley and thyme.
Also two bay leaves, a small piece of lard and a bit of extra virgin olive oil, a table spoon of cocoa and lots of wine.
Tie up the Rump roast to keep its shape and for better cooking. Roughly chop the onion, the lard and carrots. Put everything into a bowl with a little piece of cinnamon and three whole cloves and whole black peppercorn. Cover it completely with the wine, wrap it with cling film and put it into the fridge to marinate for 12 hours.
Drain meat, vegetables and herbs. Keep the wine of the marinade.
Dry and season the meat.
Dust it with a touch of cocoa and sear it on one side with a bit of oil till for a nice golden crust is formed.
Turn the meat to sear the other side, add the chopped vegetables with the lard and the herbs. This will take about 12-15 minutes to sear properly the meat and for the herbs to release their aromas to the Brasato.
Transfer the meat, vegetables, herbs and spices into a bigger pot with high sides.
Season with salt and pepper. Cover 2/3 of the meat with the wine (if you don’t want to use the Cahors use Nebbiolo, Barbera or better Barolo!)
Bring it to boiling point then drop it to a very low simmer.
Cook a two kg of meat for at least two hours (at least 1 hour per kg of meat), turning the meat upside down once at halftime.
Once it’s done transfer the meat onto a plate, and make the sauce by blending the cooked vegetables, lard and the juices from the pot with an hand-mixer till smooth.
Now that the meat has rested, untie it and slice it in a quarter inch thick pieces.
Put a slice of meat on the centre of the plate, nap it with the smooth sauce and serve it with your favourite side, where is polenta or a smooth puree loaded with butter and Parmigiano.
December 21, 2019 - Domaine Giraudon Bourgogne Chitry 2018
Aurelie Giraudon runs with her brother Thibaut Domaine Giraudon in Chithry-le-Fort.
She’s a master in blending wines coming off from both, the north and the south slopes, to achieve freshness and body in their blends. From one of the Burgundy’s smallest and least known appellation- Bourgogne Chitry. 7ha planted with Pinot Noir .
Displays a clear, dark ruby, purple tinge color with medium tears.
A clean youthful nose, with medium intensity and primary aromas characteristics of red berries, strawberries, raspberries and tart cherries.
In the mouth the wine is dry, carrying medium acidity and tannins, medium alcohol and medium body. Its matched with medium flavor intensity and primary flavor characteristics of red berries, strawberries, tart cherries, raspberries and a touch of violet liquorice .
A note of tobacco comes out from the glass, supporting the beautiful integration between ripe tannins and acidity blended perfectly to achieve a medium finish with fresh typical aromas characteristics.
This is a very well made wine, to be enjoyed now and for the next 6 to 8 years.
While incredible refreshing when paired with spicy food we paired with two dishes, a wild Vancouver Island Porcini mushrooms Carnaroli (Acquerello rice 3 years aged) Risotto cooked with the Chitry and a Chitry red wine AAA Angus butcher Block Reserve Striploin steak which killed it .
For the steak, bring a 15 oz striploin steak at room temperature before cooking it.
Season it with inter-medium salt and black pepper. Lightly coat it with extra virgin olive oil and sear it in your preferred pan till medium rare, if its two inches thick it will take 12 minutes or so. I like to turn the steak constantly, every 30 seconds or so. This way I don’t overcook the first 5 mm of the steak and I distribute the heat evenly to cook the steak to my likening.
On the last two minutes of the cooking time I add a pinch of fennel seeds, a garlic clove, a bay leaf and a rosemary spring. Drop 2tbsp of butter and start basting the steak till reach the right caramelized surface.
Take the steak aside and rest it for 5 minutes while you make the sauce in the pan by flashing the pan with the Chitry, about 2oz, reduce it, add half cup of hot stock or water and emulsify it with 2tbsp of cold butter. Stir it constantly to bound the juices into a smooth sauce.
Pour over the steak and enjoy it.
December 14, 2019 - Olga Raffault Chinon 2017
Olga Raffault. Chinon 2017 Appellation d”Origine Protégee 100% Cabernet Franc.
The wine has a clear, moderate purple color, purple tinge and fast tears.
Display a clean, youthful nose with medium intensity and primary aroma characteristics of dark berries, blackberries, blueberries and herbal notes.
Dry, with medium acidity and tannins, medium alcohol and body matched by medium flavor intensity and again primary flavor characteristics of black berries fruit, leather, green peppercorn and cassis. A touch of tobacco and minerals keeps the wine balanced with great dimension. Medium finish
A very good wine, to be enjoyed now and over the next 5-6 years.
An early easy drinking wine, tank-aged from the younger vines on the sandy & alluvial plain along the Vienne and Loire Rivers. Organically grown, harvested by hand and destemmed but not crushed. The whole berries are fermented with native yeasts in tanks and the maceration last about two weeks.
The wine is age in stainless steel tanks for about 6 months before bottling.
This wine screams for an “Entrecote au Poivre” sure, but a duck confit with spring vegetable ragout or “Peking Duck” could do its magic.
We tried with three great pairings: Vegetable Spring rolls. Eggs en Cocotte with Alba white Truffle and Tajerin with Alba white Truffle, insanely good.
You will need spring roll wrappers, carrots, cabbage, thin glass noodles, Shimeji mushrooms, Wood Ear mushrooms (or fresh Oyster mushrooms), Shiitake mushrooms, snow peas.
Soak 2oz of dried Wood Ear mushrooms in water overnight if using them. The next day finely slice them.
Soak the glass noodles in hot water for 30 minutes then chop them into 2.5 inches long.
Drop 2tbsp of vegetable oil, 2oz of julienne carrots, 2oz of julienne cabbage, 2oz of Shimeji mushrooms, 2oz of Shiitake mushrooms,2oz of julienne snow peas.
Stir fry them till the aroma comes up then add 1tbsl of Oyster sauce, 2tsp of Soy sauce, season with a pinch of salt & black pepper, a pinch of sugar, and a dash of sesame oil.
Mix if gently, add two oz of chopped galls noodle and stir gently till combined.
Mix 1tsp of cornstarch with 1tsp of cold water and stir into the vegetables glass noodle blend to keep the mix from being too watery when you wrap the rolls.
Make the “Glue” to close the rolls by mixing 2tbsp of flour with 3tbsp of water.
Place 2tsbp of the mix on a wrap on one corner closed to you. Close it like and envelope using the glue on the edges to secure the inside. Cover them with cling film while making them to keep them from drying.
Fry them in hot oil till nice and golden in color while moving them gently constantly.
December 7, 2019 - Domain du Cros, Lo Sang de Pais 2017
The wine has a purple red color with purple tinge and medium long tears. Clean nose with medium intensity and primary aroma characteristics. Youthful vibrant nose of spices, liquorice, black currant and raspberries.
In the mouth it is dry, with medium acidity, medium tannins and medium alcohol. Medium body with medium flavor intensity and primary flavor characteristics of spices, black liquorice and small black berries. A touch of graphite and green olive round up the medium finish.
A very good quality wine, can be drunk now but has 5-7 years of aging potential.
Traditional pairings are: Aligot a’ la saucisse ( potato puree’ mixed with melted cheese, cream and garlic, served with sausages or Tripoux ( stuffed sheep’s tripe). Also served with local cheeses such as Roquefort, Cantal, Laguiole, Salers, Rocamadour.
The wine is beautiful in its freshness (vines lies at elevations as high as 450m on different hillsides that surround the village of Clairvaux on iron rich clay soil with outcroppings of limestone) and approachability for food pairings with its blackcurrant and cherry aromas, subtle notes of liquorice and spices. On the palate the black fruit is supported by firm but well integrated ripe tannins shoving great balance and finesse.
Try with chocolate truffles!
II3 (recipe below)
For the dry rub: 1c dry parsley, 1 c sugar, 1 c Lawry’s seasoned salt, 3tbsp black pepper, 3 tbsp garlic powder, 3tbsp dried oregano, 3 tbsp sweet paprika, 1 tbsp mild mustard powder, 1tbsp celery salt, a pinch of cayenne. (makes 4 cups, keep the rest in an airtight container for up to 6 months in your cup-board)
For the ribs: Generously sprinkle the rub on the ribs, roast them in the oven at 350 for 20 mins, then flash them with a cup of cider, cover them with aluminum foil and drop the temp to 300. Cook for another hour and they should be tender and juicy!
Serve with potato puree’ with Chantal cheese all over.
PS: works well also with light curry lentils!