Monday, October 29, 2012

The Douro Is Not To Be Observed, It Is To Be Felt

Okay. So I didn't come up with this great saying...

The Douro is not to be observed. It is to be felt.



In fact, I took it off of the press materials of Domingos Alves de Sousa who is a 3rd generation Port Wine producer in the UNESCO World Heritage region of the Douro, Portugal.

The Douro, by all accounts, is one of the wonders of the wine world. It not only reflects the exquisite heritage derived from man and nature working together but is also home to 350 flora species of the 450 total that are native to Portugal. In other words, it's a treasure trove of biodiversity as well as the nesting ground for over 80 varieties of grapes.

And, most famously, it's the birthplace of Port Wine. Port wine, the sweet, usually deep ruby red (sometimes tawny), fortified wine, wasn't always so. In fact, the history of port wine's evolution is one of those "Happy Accidents."


The short version is that the Douro, though hauntingly beautiful, is one of the world's most inhospitable terrains for cultivating vines over its vast 927 sq. kilometers of land surface that sits between Portugal and Spain. So several hundred years ago, when the English importers, along with their Portuguese growers, were trying to figure out how to get the originally dry red wines to market in England without first oxidizing, they hit upon the genius idea of adding brandy and making the wines sweet. Success!

It took another hundred years or so to decide that Sweet Fortified Wine would be "Porto's" official identity as a wine. In fact, heated discussions raged throughout the region for about 50 years before it was decided that Porto would be codified, if you will, as the sweet fortified wine that we know it as today.

Port wine and the Douro is a region I've studied extensively - in books. And not had much occasion to taste. So it was with great enthusiasm I attended a recent Porto Wine Tasting. All these different styles of Port Wine - Lagrima, Tawny, Vintage, Late Bottled Vintage, Colheitas - would be available for tasting. 

My greatest takeaway from this tasting experience is that studying these historic and epic wines without spending time in the region and without meeting the people whose generations of families have made the wines, is little substitute for doing the legwork and actually visiting the region. It's sort of akin to trying to describe to a blind person what colors look like.

So, having little depth in my repertoire of what Portos taste like, but a lot of wine facts about the region in my head, I can simply say that all of the Port Wines I tasted at the event were extra-ordinary. Even the dry red wines the producers opened and had us taste were noteworthy.

This experience is a real case in point that true wine appreciation is a tandem endeavor - visceral and intellectual. The experience is just not complete, the one without the other.

@♥Chérie Du Vin

Producers:  Quinta Do Vale D. Maria

Quinta do Sagrado /  Quinta da GaivosaQuinta do Vale Meao  

Wine & Soul

Friday, October 26, 2012

Bollinger's 002 for 007 and It's Global Champagne Day!

Fill the buckets with ice, get out those flutes and get ready to POP! that champagne cork. Today is Global Champagne Day!!

Timed perfectly with Global Champagne Day is the worldwide release of the newest James Bond installment, "Skyfall."


To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the James Bond film franchise, Bollinger has released a special edition of their vintage '02 (an Excellent Year) named a fittingly Bollinger JamesBond 007. According to Mathieu Kauffmann, cellar master at Bollinger, La Grande Année 2002 is "the most exceptional vintage of the past decade."


Believe it or not, the English actually drink more champagne than even the Americans do. Here are some interesting numbers, as recorded by the CIVC, the official Champagne Bureau who has offices in Champagne, the U.S. and other strategic geo-political points throughout the world. 

France:  181.6 Million Bottles Per Year (of Champagne Consumed)

UK: 34.5 

U.S. 19.4

Germany: 14.2

Belgium: 9.6

Japan: 7.9


One thing's for sure, Bond has good taste in champagne.


@♥Chérie Du Vin - You Will LOVE My Wine Picks!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Truth Is Stranger Than Fiction

Oct. 26th is Global Champagne Day!!!♥♥♥♥♥♥Chérie Du Vin. You will LOVE my wine picks!

The French Wine Society earns mention within the pages of a murder-mystery written by award-winning author J. Michael Orenduff.

[Re-posted from The French Wine Society- visit their site for Wine Education Info]

Yes, truth is stranger than fiction!

While our Education Director was vacationing in New Mexico last summer, she picked up “The Pot Thief Who Studied Escoffier” at a bookstore in Albuqueque. It was a fabulous read especially since its main character was a Gruet-guzzling treasure seeker with a keen eye for ancient Indian pots…that weren’t his own.

The only thing “wrong” with the book was the constant reference to Gruet sparkling wine from New Mexico as “champagne”.


A friendly email exchange followed…along with a newly released sequel, “The Pot Thief Who Studied D.H.Lawrence”. In Chapter 10, as the main character shares a post-prandial drink with a friend …

Suzannah said,”The restaurant got an email blast today from the Education Director of the French Wine Society explaining that you shouldn’t refer to Gruet as ‘champagne’.”

“She mentioned me by name?”

“No silly. And she didn’t mention Gruet by name either. She said we shouldn’t call American sparkling wines champagne.”

“Why not?”

“Because true champagne comes from Champagne, France. Everything else is sparkling wine. It has to do with authenticity. You know, truth in advertising.”

“But the Gruet family is from Champagne.”

“But the sparkling wine they make here in New Mexico is not.”


Thank you J. Michael Orenduff for setting the record straight! And for the record, if you haven’t read one of  Mike’s murder-mysteries…you are missing out on some authentic good fun.

J. Michael Orenduff is a “Lefty” national award winner for best humorous mystery. He has won two “Eppies” for best eBook mysteries and is winner of the New Mexico Book of the Year Award.


@♥Chérie Du Vin -You will LOVE my wine picks!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

AB 1616 The California Homemade Food Act

by Paige Donner

For the longest time, in fact, up until just a week or two ago, folks in California were committing a crime when they made bread or apple sauce, say, at home and took it to the market to sell. It was illegal. But now, with the recently passed “California Homemade Food Act,” people can cook, bake, stew and roast to their heart’s delight at home, and sell their goods wherever they can get them in the door, under the tent or on the shelf.


AB 1616, which was signed into law by California Governor Jerry Brown on September 21st and will take effect as of January 2013, is a real milestone for artisanal food makers, especially those who don’t have the capital or the funding to rent commercial food processing facilities which was previously a requisite in any food preparation meant for sale. Yes, even, technically, those church bakesales. [Who knew "Aunt Betty" was a cookie criminal!?]

But no more.  This new law allows Californians to sell
 “non-potentially hazardous goods” they produce at home such as breads, jams and preserves, pickles, pickled vegetables, granola, nut mixes, coffees
 — but NOTHING that contains meat or dairy. The NO MEAT OR DAIRY clause is in there to protect consumers from the potentially hazardous bacteria like botulism.

Also, AB1616 
caps the earning revenue of these businesses at $35,000 this year. That 
increases to $50,000 in 2015, significantly higher than in other 
states. For many small food producers, this will give them a good start and some are even already eyeing the Williams-
Sonoma Artisan’s Market as a place to take their treats. If nothing else, it gives people a cottage industry outlet, keeps them legal, and might even be the germinating platform for the next Famous Amos or Newman’s Own. One never knows!

“Providing people with the opportunity to make and sell these foods directly to their neighbors at the local farmer’s market or through the specialty shop up around the corner is a matter of access to opportunity,” said Gatto. “I am happy that the Governor has joined me in my efforts to restore economic activity to our neighborhood economies and to the state of California by allowing people to produce and healthy, nutritious or culturally relevant foods in their homes.” – Assemblyman Mike Gatto

It’s thanks to Assemblyman Mike Gatto of California’s 43rd District who sponsored the bill that people now have the way cleared to pursue their artisanal food production dreams. Read More about the bill HERE.




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Posted via email from Local Food And Wine

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Cognac Charity Auction Raises €136,800 ($177,046)

[From Press Release]

The prestigious annual Cognac Awards were presented before the auction, going to two Americans. Ann Tuennerman, Founder of Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans, was presented with “Cognac Personality of the Year Award”, and acclaimed spirits writer David Wondrich was awarded “Cognac Writer of the Year Award.” The Cognac Awards celebrate personalities in the trade and media who have championed Cognac through their work.


The 7th Annual “La Part Des Anges” Cognac charity auction raised a record sum of €136,800 ($177,046), donated entirely to charity.

This new record perfectly illustrates the loyalty of collectors for Cognac, a spirit that embodies the values of passion, generosity and solidarity shared by its growers and merchants. All proceeds went to the Order of Malta—France.


The auction took place on Thursday, September 20th, in the magical setting of the Château Chesnel in Cherves-Richemont near the city of Cognac. 650 people from around the world gathered for the special event. Under the hammer of auctioneer Vincent Gérard-Tasset, 26 rare bottles of Cognac, along with a sculpture, were sold for a record total of €136,800 (last year’s sales totalled €100,600). A Martell lot received the highest bid of €21,000, followed by lots from Hennessy and Prince Hubert de Polignac (€14,000 and €10,500 respectively). See Appendix below for a complete list of sales.




COURVOISIER, Réserve Edward VII : 4 500 € 

LOUIS ROYER, Cognac Grande Champagne Reserve Royale : 900 € 

HARDY, Caryota / Privilège : 6 000 € 

CHÂTEAU DE MONTIFAUD, Millésime 1972 : 2 200 € 

FRAPIN, Frapin Baccarat Aigle Royal : 6 200 € 

MEUKOW, Nec Plus Ultra : 4 500 € 

LEYRAT, "Partage" - Exemplaire n°01/52 : 4 800 € 

DELAMAIN, Cognac Grande Champagne 1972 40 ans d'âge - Bouteille n°1/1 : 6 200 € 

PIERRE FERRAND, Memorable : 3 200 € 

HINE, Monnet Extra Capiello Collector : 3 700 € 

REMY MARTIN, Coupe Historique Extra Porcelaine : 5 000 € 

MARTELL, Coffret Martell Cordon Bleu - Edition du Centenaire : 21 000 € 

DUPUY - BACHE-GABRIELSEN, Borderies Millésime 1971 : 2 500 € 

A.E. DOR, Vieille Réserve Limitée - N°9 et N°10 : 2 500 € 

BRAASTAD, Stetangen : 4 800 € 

PRINCE HUBERT DE POLIGNAC, 888 Trunk : 10 500 € 

HENNESSY, Hennessy "Réserve Spéciale" : 14 000 € 

LEOPOLD GOURMEL, Petite Champagne 1972 : 2 200 € 

NORMANDIN-MERCIER, "La Péraudière" : 1 300 € 

OTARD, Exception - La Part des Anges : 2 000 € 

A. DE FUSSIGNY, Vintage 1970 : 1 400 € 

ABK6, Famille" - Carafe N°01/27 : 4 000 € 

CAMUS, Cuvée 2.105 - Family Legacy - N°1228/1228 : 4 200 € 

GODET, Trésor de Guerre : 4 700 € 

LA COGNATHEQUE, Collection Privée : Millésime 1840 Pinet Castillon : 8 000 € 

DE LUZE, De Luze Extra Single Barrel Finish Grande Champagne : 2 000 € 

ELEVATION : 4 500 €



Posted via email from Local Food And Wine