I was invited earlier this year to a small Beaujolais tasting at the restaurant Elmer in Paris near République in the 3rd arrondissement (Profile in English here). I love small tastings because there's a better chance that I can taste most of the wines, the tasting was organized by the wine-wise communication agency Clair de Lune.
The tasting was efficient, Simon Horwitz who is the chef at Elmer had prepared a nice line of things to eat while we were tasting, everything was fine. I could find a time slot before going to work later in the afternoon, so here we go.
These region-centered tastings are often a mixed bag, this is the Beaujolais AOC being represented here and you'll find different styles of wines of course but that's fine, I usually trust the organizers for having a few good things in the selection.
__ Domaine Claire & Fabien Chasselay, La Carrière, Chénas 2014. This was so good. The color is not well rendered here on the picture, it was a beautiful delicate, milky and turbid type of red, this color was by itself very promising. Nose : refinedly appealing. Mouth and swallowed : exquisitely delicious, don't miss this wine ! It's fruity, it's delicately flowery too, a real pleasure to drink. For 12 € retail price, an excellent deal. Fabien Chasselay is following the steps of his parents and elders (family has roots in the Beaujolais since the 15th century) and the domaine is farmed organically since 2008. Farming organic is one thing, but when the wine is this good and true, that's what I really love.
Read Aaron's visit story at the Chasselays (published recently), makes me want to taste his other cuvées, including his primeurs which curiously are sometimes filtered.
There were a few whites among the selection (not that many) and I had the good surprise to stumble upon this Dufaitre. The bottles were kept at a cool temperature in plastic bags with a bit of cold water in the bottom, great idea because it was just cold enough so that they could be raised to the right temperature in the glass, there's nothing worse than wines being to warm in a tasting lasting several hours (the down side being that the labels were wet and damaged).
__ Domaine de Botheland Beaujolais-Villages Blanc 2015. That's when I suddenly thought this event might interest Aaron and I texted him the news right away, adding that there seemed to be a few gems among the wines. He could just show up and explain his work on the Beaujolais, the organizers having somehow forgotten to invite him (this was a free professionnal tasting, but on invitation). He happened to come, albeit later, after I had left to go to work, and he was welcomed in, no problem.
Remi Dufaitre's white had this crisp mouth brisk with energy, no doubt about that, and my stomach made this unmistakable noise which it does each time I swallow some real stuff, like it recognized a true liquid food... I'm not into Beaukolais whites usually but that 100 % Chardonnay wine is lovely. Retail price : 14 €
There were only 2 or 3 vignerons attending the tasting event with their wines if I'm right, among them Frédéric Berne whose wine seemed very interesting for me, especially that this was his first vintage. He is not from a winemaking family but he is still from this region, he worked at different domaines for his training including the Bret brothers in the Mâconnais and he started his domaine in 2013 in Lantigné, after he found available vineyards there. tHe owners were ready to follow him in his will to make a conversion to organic farming. Frédéric has 4 cuvées, beaujolais-Villages, Morgon and Chiroubles, but he also makes Beaujolais with the Villages, with the focus to make fruity wines with a 4-day maceration which yields very little tannin (compared with the Villages at 7-day maceration). With the Crus (like the one tasted today) he looks for more concentration, the yields are much lower, there's more concentration with the longer macerations and there's a 12-month élevage in barrels (sourced from a good domaine in Auxey-Duresses). His working surface is 5 hectares now.
__ Frédéric Berne, Chiroubles Les Terrasses 2014. Wax seal, heavy glass bottle. Lovely mouth with deep, meaty, gourmand and throat-coating mouth. 4000 bottles in total for this cuvée, bottled august 2015, on sale only now. Empty glass : terrific aromas... 10-day maceration here, pigeage after 6 or 7 days, the fermentation is kept in check so as not to go too high, and Frédéric makes sure not to fill his fermenters entirely because that makes the temperature of the juice rise out of control. Great job for a start, and sells for only 13,8 € retail. Go read his website, well done and very informative.
I also liked this Brouilly by Laurent Martray, I have to admit like Aurelia that I had never tasted his wines before and I liked this first one. The guy farms about 10 hectares on Brouilly and Cote de Brouilly, on a volcanic type of soil. This 100 % Gamay is lightly turbid, clear red color (not exactly like it shows on the picture), the nose was lovely and fresh with dust and fruit notes. In the mouth, likewise nice.
The wine sells for 14 € retail.
I didn't taste all the wines but still manage to taste a bigger proportion compared to these big tasting events where you're supposed to taste shortly,
spit and run to the next table. I liked this wine too, this is the Domaine de Fa, it seems to be a producer from the Rhone (Maxime & Alain Graillot) who invested in several parcels in the Beaujolais, great job as a result.
This Domaine de Fa En Besset 2014 (here tasted by Jamie Goode) was very pleasant, it was very forward with a fruity nose, an excitingly living color, relatively clear by the way. The mouth gave a nice fruit with a sugary edge, nice job indeed. Just keep the bottle with its wax seal for a couple of years and that will be great.
Sells for 13 € retail.
I didn't hurry and hadn't had any prior list of the wines we'd be offered, of course we were each given a nicely-done, efficient booklet for our notes with the list of all the selected wines but I didn't check beforehand, preferring my own casual way of tasting what comes to me on the tables, without preconceived bias and preventive elimination. This almost cost me the opportunity to taste Lapierre's Morgon as there seemed to be only one bottle available for the tasting (the other had stock to reload), and when I showed up in front of the bottle to help myself it was almost empty. I still managed to help myself a pour, keeping even just a bit more for smeone else in the bottom.
This Domaine Lapierre Morgon 2014 was gorgeous if a bit too cold as they had been over precautionary here by adding ice in the cold water basket holding the bottle, but it was easy to warm up the small pour in my glass. Man, that was for sure different from many of the other wines around here, there was so much more depth, I'd say more breath room, there you go, no spitting at all here, a real treat...
On the tasting-note booklet it says it sells for 17,5 € retail, really a deal considering how good this wine is.
This was another great Beaujolais wine, this Domaine Richard Rottiers Champ de Cour 2014 is just gorgeous. The color was turbid and somehow milky (already salivating...), the wine had this very strong albeit refined natural acidity, intertwined with a silky tannin texture. They had great ideas in this Beaujolais Workshop, I don't know if it's Clair de Lune (the communication agency behind this event) or the Beaujolais AOC, but when you had finished and left, they'd give you 2 bottles of your choice and I was lucky enough (I didn't leave that early but some cuvées were "sold out") that among the limited stock for the gifts this one was still available. For the other bottle I was again lucky enough that other tasters didn't all take the Chasselay, so I left with two great bottles.
B. just left for a few weeks' work in Japan and I treated myself with the Rottier Moulin à Vent, man, I had selfishly more than half of the bottle by myself yesterday and this wasn't only to drown my sorrow....
The Domaine Richard Rottiers makes 5 hectares and is organic since 2012. This Moulin à Vent sells for 21 € retail.
Read Lyle Fass' piece on the wines and the domaine. He also sells local cider.
While in Reims I awoke early on sunday and went alone to the street market of the Avenue Jean Jaurès, just off downtown Reims as I had heard there was a guy selling wine from his truck there. The idea is interesting, Clement Georgeton is driving his wine truck to several street markets of Reims, keeping him busy several days a week. Prior to thar he was a caviste in Paris in the 15th arrondissement and last year he decided to come back to Champagne, his home region, but there weren't opportunities to work for local wine shops as manager,
so he thought about creating his own business. But there are already 27 cavistes in town so he thought there would be something to do with the street markets, he himself
loves food markets and he realized there was nothing for wine there while in the south of France you find producers who sell on street markets. So here is how the idea came to him to lauch his wine-shop truck.
Clément goes to 4 street markets now, 3 in Reims (thursday, saturday and sunday), and the 4th is in Sillery just outside Reims. He selected his wines himself, knowing many of the producers. He had all his portfolio here that day except a Coteaux Champenois white, it's interesting to note that Clément sells a few still wines from Champagne, and we're not familiar with these wines at all. Here are a few intersting wines he had that day :
Coteaux Champenois sillery Rouge Grand cru, it's not a single vintage because in Champagne (even for still wines) yu can blend different years, it's a 2009-2010 and 100 % Pinot Noir Grand Cru. A bottle costs 21,5 € and 20,5 € if you take 6 bottles (even from different wines).
Clément also has a wine he likes, it's the Domaine de la Charité, an organic domaine from the Rhone near Avignon (9 to 14 €). He also sells craft beer from the Champagne region (Champagne beers ! watch out for more CIVC bullying), among them the Brasserie des Trois Loups (started in 2009), and also the Brasserie la Bouquine (started in 2010, which is moving inside Reims now), and another, very recent brewery, the Brasserie Orjy, started in 2014 and based in Juvigny.
Clément also works for private events in the region, bringing his truck which can serve as open bar for either a business event or a private event, it's legal when done on private grounds.
Read here the Orwellian bureaucratic document stating the norms ruling public access for everything built in France.
The Japanese (here in their trains) are also good at keeping these common-sense urinals, there's still hope in this world....
I also was supposed to have shot a video of the wife who was busy tying up the canes but somehow it seems I never really pressed the bottom correctly, this is too bad because she took time to explain us things while she was working. She has a day job in town but helps her husband during the weekends. She told us that the family domaine was using the oldest press in the region (can be seen on their website).
Vineyard-work page on the domaine's website.
I shot this video in Marsannay, this is a grower working on his parcel very close from the village. I don't know which domaine this is but this is clearly the owner I think and he seems to be working his soil correctly (or mowing, it's not clear on the video), maneuvering his straddle tractor with care and checking that everything is all right with his tool. Again, I love these old reliable machines, they seem to run for ever and when you're at the wheel you have a direct, close view on what you're doing.
Follow the money trail...
Where else could the Banque de France (the French central bank) could duck away and be replaced in its prestigious original building by a wine bar ? In Champagne of course, and in Epernay in that matter, new money replaces old money in its own marble-plastered local headquarters.
This is the aptly-named Brasserie de la Banque, we didn't go there to check if they had put their bottle cellar into the underground safe deposit room but this symbolic move speaks volume about who are the real power brokers in the region....
I made a stop at Gombaude Guillot (a biodynamic domaine in Pomerol) when I was in the Bordeaux region recently, this was actually supposed to be more than a stop as I had an appointment with Olivier Techer, but the guy just somehow forgot and I was brisked into a wine-tourism group that had arrived in a bus and managed to taste a few wines, including a couple bottles that were barrel samples as the wine wasn't bottled yet.
__ Pom'n Roll 2014, a SO2-free Pomerol, made from different parcels and terroirs (usually the ones that don't yield tannic wines). 75 % Merlot, 15 % Malbec & 10 % Cabernet Franc. Vinified on indigenous yeast, élevage mostly in vats with maybe 5 % in barrels. This cuvée is designed to be more on the fruit. It is indeed very fruity, that's very nice and enjoyable. Sells for 30 € retail (we're in Pomerol). Delicious and so easy to drink.
__ Clos Plince 2015 brut de fût (bottled filled from a barrel), will be bottled in a year. Velvety treat, exquisite, very onctuous and no astringency. No spit here. My notes read that somehow I'm afraid they'd filter it before bottling next year and add SO2, thus removing much of the magic of this wine. I wrote that because although I liked the bottled cuvées I tasted, there was no comparison with these barrel samples. Olivier's mother who poured the wine that afternoon couldn't answer my question about the filtration plans for this cuvée. Retail price at the domaine is 31 € for the 2012 (2015 not listed yet).
__ Gombaude Guillot brut de fût 2015. The top notch wine I tasted there. Delicate nose, the mouth is onctuous, super fresh. Splendid wine. But will it be the same when bottled, that is the question. Retail price at the domaine is 45 € for the 2012 (the 2015 is not listed yet).
I shot this picture on a street flea market, no value at all but the painting depicts a scene from Marius, an old (and iconic) French movie from the early 1930s' where the main characters are having a Pastis on the vieux port in Marseille (see here a scene where Marius lectures his waiter on how to prepare a cocktail).
Spring has been taking its time to come especially for the temperature and we long for the summer days when we'll have our apéritif in the breeze in the evening...
Incidently, I had a couple of Pastis at home from a bottle we'd been offered and didn't pay attention to except that the extravagantly-long bottle (34 cm for 50cl) couldn't fit anywhere on our cabinets. This Pastis was pretty good (I'm not much into Pastis though), it was Pastis Lou Félibre, can't find a website.
Speaking of Pastis, I found in a street flea market (a vide-grenier) in Paris a vintage Israeli Pastis. I didn't even know they were making pastis in the Middle East. I usually don't buy spirits in the flea markets, just wine (I've been pretty lucky with them lately) but decided I'd do it exceptionally.
This Anisette Apéritif Phénix was made in Israel under licence by Carmel Rishon Le Zion, probably in the late 1970s' or early 1980s' if I can judge through the bottle and lable appearance. Carmel is also a winery in Israel, the oldest one of the post islamic rule. This kosher pastis is still made to this day as you can see on the linked page (sells for 25 € a liter) and the company was initially founded in 1868 by Clovis Lesieutre until it was purchased by the Algeria-born Taïeb family who expanded its product range (from what I understand of the history of the company) including kosher apéritifs.
This kosher was a great find, it's onctuous and (like all such anisettes) easy drinking and again I remind myself that I have to be careful not to fall into this so-French pastis addiction...
B. and I went the other day to the tasting of the Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux, we both hadn't too much time but managed to taste a few wines, it had been quite a long time that we hadn't attended and we wouldn't miss the opportunity as our schedules allowed it this time. You have for the occasion under a single roof (a nice one for the matter, le Carreau du Temple) a good number of prestigious domaines showing their wines, see here the list of the Chateaux for these Primeurs, even if you're a Bordeaux basher, somewhere in the side of your brain you want to have a few try of these. There were a few things to eat as well like bread, charcuterie, smoked ham and a big meule of Comté cheese (I picked quite a few cubes) as well as oysters (B. had some, said they were terrific).
One of the first wine we got was this excellent Graves white 2013 from Chateau de Chantegrive. The woman from the domaine told us that in 2013 their yields were 20 hectoliters/hectare for this blend of Sauvignon and Sémillon (old vines). She said they also planted some Sauvignon Gris (Fié Gris) but it's fairly recent and the parcel isn't productive yet, but I understand that they'll put it in the blend in the future. This wine has a nice palate-coating feel, with freshness and menthol notes. Good job. Sells for 14 or 16 € retail.
Not far from the white Graves we tasted this Pessac Léognan Chateau Malartic Lagravière 2013, that's a nice wine with silky-paper tannin, if probably still young and at its beginning. Nice classy mouth.
Yields : 24 hectoliters/hectares with sorting of the grapes, 55 % Cabernet Sauvignon, 5 % Cabernet Franc, 38 % Merlot and 2 % Petit Verdot. Vinified in big-volume Burgundy barrels (demi-muids). Sells for less than 25 €, good deal.
We also tasted the Chateau Pape Clément 2013, another Péssac-Léognan which had more tannin and a high acidity; B. liked the aromas range here but I found the mouth to be short.
Saint Emilion Grand Cru Chateau Trotte Vieille 2013. What a nose ! Tannin and bitterness at this stage, still some time to wait before fullfilling its promises. 54 % Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon 2 %, Cabernet Franc 44 %. Yields 16 hectoliters/hectare, a normal year giving 20 ho/ha. Ages og te vines : about 35 years.
Chateau Troplong Mondot, Saint Emilion 1er Grand Cru Classé 2013. 89 % Merlot, 8 % Cabernet Sauvignon and 3 % Cabernet Franc. Yields 34 ho/ha instead of the usual 36 or 40. That was another great wine. Nose : superb, deep. Mouth : light sweetness, ready to drink already. Beautiful. No spitting here. Costs 80 € or 90 € retail.
Chateau Rauzan-Gassies Margaux 2013. 68 % Cabernet Sauvignon, 32 % Merlot. Not many notes on my tasting boklet : nose is not very expressive. Mouth : classy and powerful. Jean-Michel Quié was at the stand to pour the wine, the man was in good mood and has a lot of humor.
Chateau Kirwan Margaux 2013. 61 % Cabernet Sauvignon, 18 % Merlot, 11 % Cabernet Franc, yields 37 hectoliters/hectare instead of the usual 45. Lots of sorting at harvest. Sappy wine in the mouth. Very promising young wine.
I jumped at the opportunity to ask Mr Philippe Delfaut who was manning the stand about the great pick I had done a few weeks before with buying this old vintage of Chateau Kirwan for a handfull of euros [7th picture on this story]. Showing him the picture of the bottle on my phone I was stunned to learn from him that it might date from 1900 to 1915 considering the labelling...
This Lynch Bages Pauillac Grand Cru 2013 was a very nice wine with freshness, illuminating literally the palate. Tannic texture akin to silk paper. Nice sap feel in the mouth. I don't write that because it's a Lynch Bages but it is truly a beautiful young Pauillac.
72 % Cabernet Sauvignon, 20 % Mermot & 8 % Cabernet Franc. Yields that year at 31 hectoliters/hectare instead of the usual 45-50.
B. shot this picture in a shop near Tsukiji in Tokyo recently on her last trip, she sent it over to me asking if I knew about it, I replied no, grab one for me please ! But her bags were planned to be pretty full and she couldn't fulfill my wish. Too bad, I feel that as Japanese whisky is getting really mainstream in France there's a possibility that the Japanese may resort to replicating the success story of domestic whisky with vodka and I'd have liked to have a try of one. Good vodka can be so great, and it may be less difficult to do than whisky actually, the filtration being where you must work skillfully. This Okuhida vodka, if I'm right, is made from rice and the price was very affordable : 2700 Y which makes 22 € or 24 USD.
Suntory is making its own vodka, Ao vodka, also made from rice and which is certainly at bargain price in Japan. You may be wiser to look for your purchases in town rather than in the duty-free shops at Narita. I used to shop at Fasola, the main source for spirits at Narita but there's been a price hike (because of high-spending Chinese visitors I think) and also they tend to list high-end products. In town, go check the shops now and then, you can find great picks that are unlikely to be on the shelves at Narita, and at bargain prices even though the tax is included.
Speaking of prices it's very affordable to buy spirits in Japan compared to France. The bottle of Japanese whisky on the right, a Mars Cosmo costs in this normal shop (not a tax free shop) 4536 Y which makes 37 € or 40 USD, and the same whisky goes for... 89 € in Paris at the Maison du Whisky.
I was invited recently at a professinal tasting for the Côtes-de-Gascogne wines, an area from the south west of France, this took place in a good restaurant named Uma (read story below). Gascogne (or Gascony) wines are not well known but I was favorably impressed by what I tasted although most of this was no-doubt conventionally made, but it's good to be non-judgmental and give all wines a try. The local varieties are interesting too with their odd names, Colombard, Gros Manseng, Petit Manseng, Ugni Blanc, Folle Blanche...
__ Domaine Pellehaut, Harmonie de Gascogne 2015. Don't pay attention to the odd name of the cuvée, it's certainly not helping to sell to wine-wise amateurs but the wine is worth a try : It's a low-alcohol (11 %) blend of 7 varieties : 20 % Chardonnay, 20 % Sauvignon, 20 % Ugni Blanc, 20 % Colombard, 10 % Gros Manseng, 5 % Petit Manseng and 5 % Folle Blanche. The domaine is a large family farm growing also cereals and raising cows, its vineyard surface is 250 hectares, not reall next door artisan.
The wine had this nice gliding feel on the palate with an acidulous edge that underlined the whole experience. Retail price is 5,5 €, not a big risk indeed.
__ Domaine Hauret 2015. 70 % Colombard, 20 % Ugni Blanc & 10 % Gros Manseng. Makes only 11,5 % in alcohol. I was surprised to find many light wines, it may have to do with high yields, but still, these are southern whites and they're pretty easy drinking. Quite elegant wine, not too demonstrative; my stomach makes its aproving noise here. Retail price is 7,5 €.
Domaine de Maubet 2015, 59 % Colombard, 21 % Ugni Blanc, 13 % Gros Manseng & 7 % Sauvignon. The 80-hectare domaine is also known as Vignobles Fontan, it was a multi-crop farm until recently.
Acidulous edge, sharp, enjoyable wine. Nice energy in the mouth too. I like this one. Residual sugar 7 grams. Retail price 4,8 €.
__ Dommaine des Cassagnoles, Gros Manseng Selection 2015. 100 % Gros Manseng. Another large domaine, about 80 hectares.
Enjoyable wine, very acidulous; even at 13% alc. it's quite easy to drink with this interesting mouth/tongue touch, like a perly thing. Gros Manseng rocks...
Professional tasting events offer a wide type of experiences regarding the food, it may be so-so, or too trendy but lacking on the food side (like a wine experience where there'd be no alcohol) and this tasting of Côtes de Gascogne wines was really helped by the small dishes prepared by chef Lucas Zeldine, great job, for me now, Uma restaurant is on the map as a trustworthy venue ! Professionnals including wine writers often behave like if they had been starved for days and were relying on the free food for the week, but in this case I could understand their appetite... Sorry I haven't shot any picture of the small dishes (I'm not too much into visual food porn) but you can see some food on one of the linked pages.
Lucas Felzine has worked in top tables in Paris and his cuisine is a mix of French, Peruvian and Japanese food cultures (Nikkei), just delicious and savory. I walked upstairs to the other room where he prepares the food in full view of the patrons, he was beginning to prepare this large block of meat that had marinated several days if I remember.
Oh, and Uma has a horse-shoe bar downstairs (pictured here on right) with a good choice of Japanese whiskies.
We met Sandi in early may in a village flea market, I spotted her honey along the other stuff she was selling and B. and I spoke a bit with her, she is from British Columbia and lives in the area along the Cher river where she keeps bees and makes honey among other things. But what she told us was really utterly interesting : she didn't know we were in the natural-wine thing but everything she said about honey making and the gap between real honey and the product people call honey (including the amateur beekeepers who pretend they make artisan honey) was strikingly similar than the gap between conventional/commercial wine and uninterventionist/natural wine.
It all started when I asked about the bees and if they kept being threatened by the use of chemicals, insecticides in the fields, but she pointed to another bigger danger for them which has its origin in the fact that virtually every beekeeper (both the amateur or retiree keeping a few hives, and as well the commercial operation) gives sugar and syrup to the bees in the flawed belief that this way they'll be compensated and make more honey. She says this practice makes the bees more fragile as it's totally unnatural and that's one of the reasons they're disappearing. The other thing is that most beekeepers tend to use and favor a type of bee which unlike the black bees are not a robust, ancient breed. She personnally uses these black bees, doesn't feed them anything and still gets good returns in terms of volume of honey. I didn't take notes but she also added that most beekepers (inculding "artisanal") heat the honey to homogenize it in the glass jar, which kills the health- and tasting qualities of the honey (feeding syrup to the bees also do this) and deprives it of its health properties. another thing, she said she has diabetes but she can eat all her own honey she wants because this is a naturally-produced suger and it's very light and unlike conventional honey doesn't interfere with her health limitations. She says the INRA (the French agricultural research body) is not doing its job on this issue, pointing to some implicit complicity between the honey industry and the state research body.
Sandi plans to write a book on the issue, I'll keep you informed about it.
B. bought a small jar of honey (250 grams -- 15 €) and this tastes really so different, there's not this forward sweetness that strikes you in most wine, it was so delicate and enjoyable. Awakening experience : after real wines, go discover real honey and ask discreetely to your "artisan" honey provider if he feeds his bees with syrup of sugar...
Sandi Bartlett's Facebook page
I was invited recently to an event co-hosted by Laurent Ducasse for the release of a new product designed by a French company : Mojito-In is a ready made mojito which you buy in kegs of different volumes and can be ordered and delivered online.
The drink is said to be 100 % and 100 % natural, no preservatives, you just have to add the finishing touch like cucumùber slices, mintleaves and ice cubes.
Not being available for the event I was shipped a sample which I tried as such, nothing added, that's a mojito indeed already, add ice, mint and gingember and you get your instant mojito. This can be good for improvised corporate events where you have to treat your guests without time for preparation. For a private individual this may be less useful, you may have more fun doing your mix yoursef.
I was pretty luck the other day : I went to the flea market at the Porte de Montreuil the other day and found great wine picks. This flea markt has been mostly deserted by brocanteurs and antiquarians as most of the stands sell new cloth and shoes, mostly junk for
the immigrant population living in the area, but there
still remains here and there a few people selling the attic stuff you're usually looking for in a flea market.
There was this guy with his son who had maybe 10 bottles obviously coming from the cellar of an elderly person who had passed away recently. I guess it happens often in a big city like Paris that elderly people die with no close family to take care of their belongings or the next of kin have no room to store their things and they ask brocanteurs to come and empty the appartment.
Most were Alsace wines from 1970 to 1982, I didn't spot the Sancerre bottle at first and asked how much the guy wanted for the bottles, he said 2 € each. That was already a deal for the Alsace bottles and I decided to take two (Dopff & Irion Riesling -- Frederic Baltzinger Sylvaner 1977) and spotted the Sancerre in the middle : Very dusty bottle but what a pick, it was a Joseph Mellot 1970 with a hand-written note on the upper right corner of the label saying "offert par Mr Mellot [gift by Mr Mellot].
I asked how much he'd ask for the 3 bottles together, pointing to the Riesling where a few centimeters of wine was missing (not that worrying actually, the wines of that time hold quite well this type of light oxidation coming after years of slow leaking through the cork in the cellar). This was a trick to divert attention from the Sancerre but the guy (who was from north Africa) didn't know about the appellation names anyway and he kindly asked for 5 € for the three bottles together. I know, I know, I should have taken the whole batch, I'm sure all these Alsace were pretty good and at least had something to say, but I had come on motorbike and my backpack couldn't hold all that wine.
I have yet to decide when to drink these wines, we'll begin certainly with the Alsace.
I have yet to go see how the vegetable garden coped with all these rainfalls, but this is how my pumpkins looked two weeks ago. I had just brought from Paris a batch of young plants, having planted the seeds there in small plastic pots on the windowsill. I became since last year a fan of pumkins, especially that B. cooks them very well. I poured a few gargage bags of cow manure which I sourced in a milk-cow farm nearby and I finetuned the location of the plantings, having realized through my first experience las year that this plant behaves better in the shadow.
I was invited also at the Bartender Contest 2016 by Brown-Forman, I usually love this type of events because even if it's high on marketing and commercial motivation it's fun and usually relax. 8 contenders were competing for the title including several women (and one of them won), you could see them live perform a couple types of cocktails, all the while sipping the one you ordered at the 2 or 3 stands in the venue. Among the jury was Forest Collins who runs the cocktail-centered blog 52 Martinis, the one blog to follow if you're looking for mixology and cocktail bars in Paris, like for example the recently-opened Gravity bar in the 10th arrondissement.
You can see on this video some of the contenders, Pauline Lafuste, Rachid Ounnih (with a cap - Titty Twister, Paris), Erick Lebreton (guy with a topper hat - Shangri La, Paris), and Mathieu Gouret (Santeuil Café, Nantes).
The winner was Barbara Si-Dris who works at the Palais de la Méditerranée in Nice, she won a trip to the U.S. to visit the distilleries of Jack Daniel’s & Woodford Reserve. She convinced the jury with her cocktail handling of Le Jardin de Pépé (recipe).
This video above may be banned in certain countries (according to the warning displaying on my Youtube account), possibly because of the music in the background.
On the video on the left you can see the performance of Elodie Hodin who is bartender at Duc de Savoy in Courchevel (French Alps).