Jump to content

Two Weeks in France


Recommended Posts

Whew, I just returned from two arduous (I know, I know) weeks of tasting in France for TASTED MAGAZINE . The official subject at hand was for the tasting team of sommeliers to score 617 2007 and some 2006 Gruner Veltliners, or Gru-Vee's as we came to call them. Gruners come in all sizes and shapes, from inexpensive bulk wine to elegant Smaragd bottlings in minute lots. The tasting took place in France in Magenta, an industrial suburb of Epernay, home to Peugeot and Renault dealerships and farm equipment distributors. We tasted at the Station Oenotechnique in their laboratory. The 100 wines per day tasting were rounded out with both lunches and dinners with Champagne producers in a number of different venues, including their caves. The most astonishing tastings for me on this trip were to taste Champagnes disgorged a la minute for us. This happened at Champagne Phillipponat and Champagne DeVenoge, where the owners of the houses actually disgorged 30 year old samples of their Champagnes for us for lunch. The single most interesting and delicious Champagnes tasted the entire week were in the Cave of Anselme Selosse, proprietor of Domaine Jacques Selosse. Sadly, this Champagne is no longer easily available in the US, as just 360 bottles entered the country last year.

The week of intense tasting was followed by a welcome 4 days in Paris. It was my first "April in Paris" and it felt good. Really good. Three thrilling meals were had at Drouant, Antoine Westermann's modern French "tapas" restaurant; Michel Rostange, a Michelin 2 star of extraordinary quality, and at Le Bristol (check this out!), another Michelin 2 star that is other-worldly in it's opulence, attention to detail, unmatched service and outright spectacular cuisine. Easily the most expensive meal I've ever eaten (the Poularde de Bresse cuite aux Ecrevisses, Asperges Vertes et Morilles was an eye-popping 210€ for 2), it was worth every centime.

More to come....

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The tasting took place in France in Magenta, an industrial suburb of Epernay, home to Peugeot and Renault dealerships and farm equipment distributors.

The roasting took place in Hades in Zone Three, a subregion of the Ninth Circle, home to Ptolemy and Fra Alberigo and those who betray their guests.

No punishment is more interminable than being a captive audience in a foreign country at a trade tasting.

Been there, done that - ain't gonna do it again, ever!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The roasting took place in Hades in Zone Three, a subregion of the Ninth Circle, home to Ptolemy and Fra Alberigo and those who betray their guests.

No punishment is more interminable than being a captive audience in a foreign country at a trade tasting.

Been there, done that - ain't gonna do it again, ever!

Being force fed hundreds of cheap GV ain't fun, but some of us have to do the heavy lifting so the rest of you have it easier. One of the main rules of wine tasting smacked us all in the face again this time: shitty wine aged 30 years is still shitty wine, just old. ;)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Being force fed hundreds of cheap GV ain't fun, but some of us have to do the heavy lifting so the rest of you have it easier. One of the main rules of wine tasting smacked us all in the face again this time: shitty wine aged 30 years is still shitty wine, just old. :)

;) yup, my friends love to buy wine and age it for years....it goes from real shitty to shitty. LOL.

Was it worth drinking cheap shitty wine to find a gem (I am hoping you did.)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There's an awful lof wine that isn't shitty, given 5 or 10 years, really comes out into its own and, served represents patience and a real value. I'd even make the argument that with about 1000 bottles now most of the wine I am drinking was purchased at least four or five or more years ago; virtually all has improved from when I bought it. Some quite a bit. A number of bottles also somewhat imperceptibly change each year and demand a bottle opened as such.

There are absolute gems found in wine shows overseas such as this or VinItaly: Kurni '04 is the greatest wine ever from the Marche region of Italy, given 98 points from Veronelli and almost impossible to find; it is already cult essentially impossible to find in the D. C. area. Chateau Le Puy '03 Barthelemy (also about $90 retail) is a great French first growth and expression of le terroir. Full bodied with a long after taste-fantastic bottle worth high 90 point range also-just not reviewed by anyone year. And not available in America. But well worth lumping the oversized bottles into a stuffed suitcase @E47 in Nice, nt knowing how much you'll regret buying the store out to take back all you can-it is that good.

The '04 season in the Veneto IS THE GREATEST EVER FOR AMARONE (source: Romano Dal Forno who expects his '04 amarone to be his first 100 point wine ((96 amarone was 99 from Parker and '97 was 98)) along with his '03 recioto just released and also his greatest ever (again, his words). Little of the Dal Forno '04 will come to the states; most will go to Russia, China, India, Dubai, Japan, Europe-it will all see for inflated priced there as THE cult wine from Italy. Alternatively, the '04 TB Amarone from Bussola is also his greatest ever. Probably $150 or so, which is quite a bit less than $550+ for the Dal Forno. Absolute steal of the year will be the TB '04 Valpolicella which will blow away most lesser amarones at about $35.

Anyway, all of this is truly great wine. And, it all needs a year or two or more in the bottle.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There's an awful lof wine that isn't shitty, given 5 or 10 years, really comes out into its own and, served represents patience and a real value. I'd even make the argument that with about 1000 bottles now most of the wine I am drinking was purchased at least four or five or more years ago; virtually all has improved from when I bought it. Some quite a bit. A number of bottles also somewhat imperceptibly change each year and demand a bottle opened as such.

There are absolute gems found in wine shows overseas such as this or VinItaly: Kurni '04 is the greatest wine ever from the Marche region of Italy, given 98 points from Veronelli and almost impossible to find; it is already cult essentially impossible to find in the D. C. area. Chateau Le Puy '03 Barthelemy (also about $90 retail) is a great French first growth and expression of le terroir. Full bodied with a long after taste-fantastic bottle worth high 90 point range also-just not reviewed by anyone year. And not available in America. But well worth lumping the oversized bottles into a stuffed suitcase @E47 in Nice, nt knowing how much you'll regret buying the store out to take back all you can-it is that good.

The '04 season in the Veneto IS THE GREATEST EVER FOR AMARONE (source: Romano Dal Forno who expects his '04 amarone to be his first 100 point wine ((96 amarone was 99 from Parker and '97 was 98)) along with his '03 recioto just released and also his greatest ever (again, his words). Little of the Dal Forno '04 will come to the states; most will go to Russia, China, India, Dubai, Japan, Europe-it will all see for inflated priced there as THE cult wine from Italy. Alternatively, the '04 TB Amarone from Bussola is also his greatest ever. Probably $150 or so, which is quite a bit less than $550+ for the Dal Forno. Absolute steal of the year will be the TB '04 Valpolicella which will blow away most lesser amarones at about $35.

Anyway, all of this is truly great wine. And, it all needs a year or two or more in the bottle.

I tasted Vigna Seré Recioto della Valpolicella Dal Forno Romano 2003 last week (I bought a case). It is, as the Germans say, "Einmalig".

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Chef Antoine Westermann is the Consulting Chef for Both Restaurants in the Willard Intercontinental Hotel in Washington DC!

The Willard Room: Executive Chef Nicolas Legret worked at Le Bristol in France and then also for Chef Antionne Westermann.

The Executive Chef for Cafe du Parc: Chef Christophe Marque worked in Paris, at Le Drouant, France for Chef Antione Westermann. Les deux restaurants ont deux chefs français dans un style classique entraînés.

Le Bristol Hotel: The renowned two-star Restaurant d'Hiver incorporates the decor of what was once the private theater of Madame de Pompadour. About Antoine Westermann : Chef Antoine Westermann is one of the most celebrated chefs in France. Apart from the Haute Cuisine that has earned him three stars, Westermann expresses his creativity, steeped in the traditions of Alsace, in recipes for his two sandwich bars in Strasbourg, and by his generous vegetable cookery in his Paris restaurant on the Ile Saint Louis, "Mon Vieil Ami". He also emphasizes the Franco-Portuguese essence at his, "Fortaleza do Guincho" restaurant. At his highly popular Le Drouant :This Paris French Traditional restaurant is one of the best places to eat French Traditional food in Paris, this restaurant in Paris, Westermann revisits appetizers "à la française", putting the focus on quality products with a predominant emphasis on vegetables.

Paris is Thrilling...... but ""Check this out!".....You should check out Both Restaurants located at The Willard Intercontinental Hotel in Washington DC!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...