Wednesday, April 30, 2014

A Spanish Wine Dinner

Every once in a while, our wine club expands its horizons beyond the borders of France to taste wines from another country.  Two years ago I organized a Tuscan wine dinner, and this week it was Paco's turn to share with us his knowledge and love of Spanish wines.  

After a dry sherry accompanied by chorizo and tortilla canapes, we started with three tempranillo-based wines from different parts of Spain.  For me, the most accessible was the Opta wine (a Grenache  blend) followed by the  Enate (a cabernet sauvignon blend) and then the Quixote (a merlot and petit verdot).  

The wines paired beautifully with the sweetness inherent in the pigeon, prune, foie gras, and maple syrup starter. 

Then the controversy began.  Freddy had earlier opened a classic 2005 Muga wine from Rioja that he deemed "corked" and put it aside in favor of a 2006 Muga and a Carmelo Rodera from the Ribera del Durero (tempranillo and cabernet blend).  The Muga and the Carmelo were both lovely wines but the latter seemed to be preferred to accompany our lamb dish.

Freddy brought the 2005 Muga back to the table and when the assembled tasted it, opinions were divided whether it was corked or not.  I found it  to be not bad at all and mused whether a wine could be lightly corked.

Freddy, however, stood by his opinion.

We then had a fruity Albariño that went well with the cheese course and even the strawberry dessert.

But the star wine of the evening was a sweet sherry, a 2010 PX Pedro Ximenez.
It poured like syrup and had burnt caramel color and flavor of treacle.  We couldn't get enough of it; Kiff imagined it would go well with Christmas pudding.  Club members were searching the internet to see if it was available in France...not a bad ending to our Spanish dinner. 

Monday, April 28, 2014

Dressed to the Nines

I couldn't resist posting this lovely photo of my Mom ready to attend a tea party at her church.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Soirée Degustation at Clos Troteligotte

Over the past few years I have had the pleasure of being one of the judges of the English abilities of the future wine-making students of the Lycee Agricole et Viticole.  This year I was also invited to attend a soiree degustation by the students which they conducted in French at a dinner held at the Clos Troteligotte winery.

We were warmly welcomed by Emmanuel Rybinski and his family in their large reception room.

The 40 or so guests included staff from the Lycee.

Before the tasting began, we were given a brief tour of the winery which included showing us the innovative clay pots used for making wine.

Then it was time for guided wining and dining of our ambitious menu that included a dozen wines from the Southwest paired with dishes prepared from local produce.

The students knowledgebly presented the wines, some of which we tasted blindly.

We enjoyed a sparkling wine with bruschetta,  roses with charcuterie,  whites with scallops, 
reds with the beef and cheese, and sweet wine with the dessert.

It was an enjoyable evening of good food, good wine, and good company.  i look forward to future events at the Clos Troteligotte, especialy since Bosco was received so well.


Sunday, April 20, 2014

Spring painting

After years of resisting, I finally decided to paint the kitchen window the same color as the door and shutters.  Changing from dark brown to "vert gris" certainly has brightened up the front of the house.

And when I needed a couple of pieces of word to do some repair work on the wooden frame, I decided to use parts of a Bordeaux wine case.  You can just make out the name of Sociando Mallet, a favorite of the wine club.

And then add a few geraniums for the finishing touch.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014


Over the past few weeks, I've been watching my neighbor's 7 French bulldog puppies transform from indistinguishable to real personalities.  There's the outgoing one, the shy one, the ring leader, the follower... I could watch them all day.  Sadly they have reached 8 weeks old and they will be departing one by one for their new homes.

I had thought about getting one, perhaps as a companion for Bosco.  Unfortunately every time I picked up one of the puppies and cuddled it, Bosco had such a sad and disapproving look that I knew it would not work out.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Bosco does Paris

Grandmother's Lunch

I was looking forward to Sunday lunch at the trendy brasserie Lazare at  Gare St. Lazare with Laurance and Beverly There would be no a la carte ordering, just a single menu that would be served family style...just like at grandmother's house.  And what a fantastic menu it was: lentils and foie gras, beef with puréed potatoes, and Apple crumble with ice-cream and sorbet.  

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Lot of Wine

I love coincidences.  One evening in Paris, Beverly and I decided to visit a wine bar called "Lot of Wine".  We thought the owners were trying to attract English-speaking tourists, but when we entered the bar, we were surprised to see several references to the Lot department in the bar's logo and choice of art.

Le pont Valentre in Cahors

The Peche Merle caves

It was only when I began talking to the owner that I learned he was from Cahors and the brother of Gilles Marre of the Hotel Terminus with whom I just had dinner a few days earlier.   Of course, this was Laurent Marre, the charming, besuited sommelier at the restaurant who would expertly guide you through the restaurant's impressive. wine list.  I didn't recognize him in his Parisian bobo  (bourgeois bohemian) guise but his wine advice at his bar was still spot on.