A trip through the French Basque country is one of distinct sights, scents, and flavors. Rolling hills of green pastures are punctuated by craggy mountain peaks and deep valleys, and sheep are everywhere! When Ihsan, Valerie and I traveled through the area in the fall, we tasted a huge array of sheep milk cheeses and an assortment of intense but beautiful wines. Here, we’re featuring a few of our favorite tastes: Ardi Gasnas from Fromagerie Pardou and Ekiola, and a killer red wine from Domaine Ilarria of Irouléguy. Ardi Gasna (or gazna) is Basque for “sheep cheese,” and these smooth, rich sheep cheeses are a specialty in the Pyrénées mountains.
Archive for the ‘Wine’ Category
Posted in Cheese, Jams & Preserves, Pairings, Wine, tagged affineur, Ardi Gasna, Arraya, Arraya jam, biodynamic wine, brebis, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cheese, cheese pairings, cherry jam, dîme, Domaine Ilaria, Ekiola, Ekiola Ardi Gasna, fermier, fermier cheese, food, France, fromage, Fromagerie Pardou, Irouleguy, pairings, Pardou Ardi Gasna, Pyrenees, red wine, sheep, sheep cheese, Tannat, tithe, Wine on March 27, 2014 | 1 Comment »
Posted in Pairings, Producer Profile, Wine, tagged Araignan Blanc, brebis, Brebis Pardou, Carignan Gris, Côtes du Brian Blanc, Clos Centeilles, La Livinière, La Livinière cru, Minervois, pairing, Patricia Domergue, Picpoul Noir, Riveirenc Blanc, Riveirenc Gris, white wine, Wine, winemaker on March 13, 2014 | Leave a Comment »
Patricia Domergue is the leading lady behind the delightful wines of Clos Centeilles, a 14 hectare estate located in the La Livinière cru of Minervois. Minervois is an appellation in the westernmost part of the Languedoc in southern France. Before purchasing this property in 1990, Patricia studied oenology and worked in the Bordeaux region, but she was ultimately drawn to the Languedoc for its rich viticultural history and unique terroir.
Posted in Cheese, Producer Profile, Wine, tagged Cheese, cheese pairing, Chignin, food, France, Gilles Berlioz, Jacquère, kumquat, kumquats, La Piquette, organic wine, pairings, Pantaleo, Savoie, Wine, wine pairing, winemaking on February 27, 2014 | Leave a Comment »
Each winter, I chuckle when I hear myself describing 30 degree weather as “balmy,” while simultaneously shaking my head at the arctic outcrops of snow outside. With all the white snow setting everything in frigid, monochromatic contrast, I find myself craving shades of yellow and orange, and the warm spectrum of flavors that go along with them. A delicate, understated Savoie white from Gilles Berlioz, made of 100% Jacquère, is the perfect complement to one of my favorite aged Sardinian goat milk cheeses, Pantaleo. Coupled with some thin slices of exuberantly tart kumquats, I get all of the sunshine and fresh aromas I need to make it through the deep-freeze of winter. (more…)
Posted in France, Valentine's Day, Wine, tagged Alexandre Chartogne, Brut Réserve, Champagne, Chardonnay, Chartogne-Taillet, Cuvée Sainte-Anne, half bottles, Jean Vesselle, Laherte Fréres, Pinot Meunier, Pinot Noir, Ultradition, Wine on February 12, 2014 | Leave a Comment »
A half-bottle of Champagne is the perfect size for starting off an evening of romantic dining for two. The bubbles refresh and perk up your palate, but you still have room to share a full bottle of wine with dinner. Likewise, a half bottle of bubbly can give you just the right amount of buzzy cheer if you’re serving it with a bit of cheese in lieu of a large meal. Here are three of our favorite Champagne halves paired with three Valentine’s Day moods. (more…)
Posted in France, Producer Profile, Wine, tagged Bourboulenc, boxed wine, Carignan, Côtes-du-Rhône, Cinsault, Clairette, Counoise, Grenache, Jean David, Martine David, Mourvèdre, red wine, rosé, Roussanne, Seguret Village, Syrah, Wine, wine box on January 30, 2014 | 1 Comment »
Last fall, I had the opportunity to visit the winery of Jean David in the town of Seguret in the southern Rhône valley. Seguret is a walled medieval town perched on the edge of the Dentelles de Montmirail mountains, equidistant between the towns of Rasteau to the northwest and Gigondas to the south. We were there in October and the weather was great! We had come directly from cool, rainy Burgundy where everyone was clad in thick sweaters, and when we arrived in the Rhône, we saw people everywhere walking around in flip-flops and t-shirts.
Jean David and his wife run their small winery together with just a bit of help harvesting in the fall. They farm around 17 hectares of vineyards where they grow red grapes – Grenache, Syrah, Cinsault, Mourvèdre, Carignan and Counoise – and white grapes – Roussanne, Bourboulenc and Clairette. Jean also has a little Tempranillo in his vineyard that his father planted. When asked about the proportions of grapes in the vineyard, Jean replied: “sometimes I say to myself, ‘Jean… you should plant more Syrah…but then…’” and he shrugged and smiled. (more…)
Posted in Food History, Wine, tagged amontillado, El Puerto de Santa María, fino, flor, Gutierrez Colosia, Jerez, Jerez de la Frontera, Manzanilla, Muscatel, oloroso, Palomino, Pedro Ximénez, Sanlúcar de Barrameda, Sherry, solera, Wine on January 10, 2014 | 10 Comments »
Every year, when January’s winds hit, and the temperatures settle down to numbers that are far too low for my liking, my thoughts wander to exotic places. I see sun-drenched vistas in my mind’s eye, I watch spaghetti Westerns to warm up, and I hibernate with something inspiring to sip: like a delightful Oloroso Sherry from the windy, sun-soaked southern coast of Spain. (more…)
Posted in Christmas, Wine, tagged after dinner wine, Banyuls, Barolo Chinato, biodynamic wine, Bordeaux, Cabernet Franc, Cappellano, Carignane, Château La Grave, Domaine du Traginer, Grenache, Grenache Gris, holiday wine, Jean-François Deu, La Fleur de Cailleau, Malbec, Merlot, Paul Barre, Rimage Mise Tardive, Wine on December 19, 2013 | Leave a Comment »
The holiday season has arrived! We all look forward to these long nights around the table, sitting with friends and savoring dishes to keep us warm. Braised meats, slow cooked beans, root vegetables, rich desserts: all of them cry out for wines that can stand up to the plate. Here are a few treats from our shelves that we look forward to savoring all year-long – wines we save for special occasions, just like this month’s holiday gatherings. Here we present a show-stopper right bank Bordeaux for your holiday meats, as well as two after-dinner wines: the first, a Barolo Chinato to sip with dark chocolate, and the second, a rich red Banyuls from southern France. Enjoy! (more…)