Exploring Flavors of Jura Food and Wine Take Two: Trousseau and Melon #Winophiles

Two wines from the JURA, France 

Four years ago almost to the day was the first time both my writing partner Sue and I had our first tastes  Vin Jaune and Trousseau, from Jura, a mountainous region in Eastern France, near Italy and Switzerland.

In our naiveté, we thought they’d be like other red French wines. Sue researched and developed a menu of classic rich creamy and mushroomy dishes to pair with the split of Vin Jaune and the Trousseau. With six adults, and October being MerlotMe, we figured these dishes would work well with several expensive Napa merlot wines.

But surprise surprise: Continue reading

A Toast with Leclerc Briant and an Invitation To Unexpected Pleasures in Champagne #Winophiles

Bouzy Rouge from Gaston Collard. It’s a thing– an unexpected pleasure, a red wine in Champagne!

Red still wine? In Champagne?

During my visits to Champagne just before harvest in 2018 and at the end of harvest in 2019, I tasted many unexpected pleasures including Gaston Collard’s biodynamic red wine made from Bouzy pinot noir in the barrel and the bottle.

Yes, red wine from Bouzy is a thing– a Champagne thing — and it’s called Coteaux Champenois. What an unexpected pleasure!

Because when we think about wine from Champagne, usually it’s the big sparkling wine houses that come to mind– the labels we see on a regular basis in the grocery store like Moet & Chandon, G. H. Mumm, Laurent Perrier, Bollinger, Veuve Cliquot, Taittinger, Piper-Heidsieck, Nicolas Feuillatte.

Just like when we pop open a bottle of Coca-Cola we expect a specific flavor, we expect these big brands, and their flagship labels, to have a certain, consistent, standard profile which they achieve from their proprietary dosage which is added before bottling.

All roads lead to Champagne! Also– these cookies– biscuits of Reims–another unexpected pleasure.

But Champagne is full of unexpected pleasures!

These include biodynamic wines like Vincent Charlot (read more here) and Leclerc Briant (discussed below) and organic wines too that express the terroir and the vintage, wines full of distinct personalities, wines with little or no added sugar, even red and white still wines like they are allowed to do in Bouzy!

So let’s virtually visit today in advance of the June #Winophiles exploration of unexpected pleasures in Champagne along with some picnic pairings!

Above are photos from our visit to Gaston Collard in Bouzy. We tasted through the wines and visited the cellar where we tasted the Bouzy rouge from the barrel.

Continue reading

WW2 and Today in Champagne with Harmel’s “The Winemaker’s Wife”

The Winemakers Wife features scenes from Champagne France, past and present

Living in coastal California 75 years after World War II and 100 years after World War I makes it hard to imagine what it was like to live in Europe under the threat of invasion and occupation. Knowing that 6 million Jews were methodically taken from their homes to work in the concentration camps and exterminated is horrible and heartbreaking.

Closer to home, along our coast, round concrete structures remain as sentinels at the shore testifying to our fears of invasion by the Japanese. Worse, Continue reading

Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is: Biodynamic, Organic Absinthia

“We’re no longer citizens, we’re consumers,” pointed out Patagonia founder and owner Yvon Chouinard at Ventura College on Earth Day, April 22, 2019. “Webster’s says someone who’s a consumer is someone who destroys.”

Chouinard’s agenda these days has less to do with selling fleece and making money and more to do with saving the planet.

To do so, Chouinard’s passionate about regenerative agriculture which shares many of the same goals and techniques as biodynamic agriculture which I’ve written about many times this year.

Continue reading

“Our land is our life and our life is our wine:” Biodynamic Cooper Mountain Pinot Noir Paired with Duck #WinePW #OregonWineMonth

 

Located just 10 miles west of downtown Portland, Cooper Mountain Vineyards is located in the far northern reaches of Oregon’s Willamette Valley on Cooper Mountain next to the vines that Dr. Robert Gross and his wife Corinne planted in 1978; Corinne was from the area, and they wanted their three children to grow up there too.

“Our land is our life and our life is our wine.” Cooper Mountain’s Motto

After 10 years of growing grapes, they decided to make their own wine by turning an old horse barn into a winery. By the early 1990s, they evolved to grow organically (certified by Oregon Tilth in 1995) and biodynamically (certified by Demeter in 1999).

Back then there were only a handful of wineries and a few vineyards; today there are over 500 wineries, with many of them making world class Pinot noir and as of 2015, more than half of them (52%)  are certified sustainably farmed with a significant number of them biodynamically farmed (about 2500 acres in 2015 with more added just this year from Troon and possibly others). See below for links to discussions of many of these biodynamic wineries)

Why biodynamic? Continue reading

For Earth Month, Go Biodynamic with Bubbles from Oregon’s Montinore #WinePW Preview

Sampling Montinore’s biodynamic bubbles in their Oregon estate tasting room near Portland

Monday April 22 is Earth Day, and the whole month of April is Earth Month.

So what should you be drinking to celebrate? How about biodynamic wine? We’ve got a bottle of biodynamic bubbles from one of the world leaders in biodynamics, Oregon’s Montinore Estate, that we recommend you toast with (see below).

I took this photo in the Montinore tasting room; for more info

I took this photo on a visit to the Montinore tasting room last fall; read more about the biodynamic calendar here

And The Wine Pairing Weekend crew is getting into the swing of Earth Month by searching out and writing about biodynamic wines of the world– and what to pair with them this month. Read the invite post here; in it I explain about biodynamics and share wo biodynamic reds from Mendocino’s Bonterra. Continue reading