Terroir Champagne Expert Caroline Henry Visits The Cave, Ventura 8/20

The dirty secret about Champagne is that the water of that region is the most polluted in France – and possibly the world. Why? Because of all of the pesticides used in growing the grapes to be made into wine.

I learned this fact last summer from Champagne resident, journalist, and wine educator Caroline Henry when I went to get a glass of water from the tap while visiting her.

In the introduction to her book, Terroir Champagne: the Luxury of Sustainable, Organic and Biodynamic Cuvees, Caroline explains what “terroir” means — beyond simply the place of origin– and why she focuses on how the people who make the wine interpret the expression of the soil. To truly express the soil, Caroline argues that the winemaker needs to facilitate bringing the minerals in the soil to the plant which requires that water “be able to freely move in the soil.”

“With all the herbicides generally used in Champagne,” says Caroline, “the soil is often hard and impermeable.”  During a heavy downpour, she says, you can see the water run off the land and erode the soil

According to Caroline, in Champagne

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Madiran: French Basque Wine of Pyrenees With Pintxos #Winophiles

The Basque region of Europe straddles the Pyrenees mountains in Spain and France. Like in the Alps, the rugged terrain made it daunting for invaders and allowed residents of the region to develop their own independent languages, foods, and cultural traditions. Located on the western end of the Pyrenees, the Basque mountains rise steeply on the French side with rare passes and sharp glaciated arcs called cirques while on the Spanish side, you will find more rolling hillsides and extensive viticulture, for example in Navarra.

While a challenging region for grape growing on the French side, Continue reading

Celebrating Climbing Kilimanjaro with Delamotte Champagne

 

About 18 months ago, I was reflecting on my accomplishments and what I still wanted to do with my life while I still had the will and the physical ability. Continue reading

Summer in a Glass: Sauv Blanc from Touraine, Sancerre, Santa Paula CA

3 Sauvignon Blanc from Loire and Ventura County, CA

So how did we really win a spot on the US Open Wine Tasting Team AND a trip to Loire, France in October, where, with ay luck, we will taste sauvignon blanc to our hearts content for at least a day or two?

Credit in part goes to a Loire tasting we did a week or so ago Continue reading

Chablis is… Chardonnay? Comparing 2 from France, 1 from SoCal Paired with Seafood Lasagna #Winophiles

Growing up I remember seeing big gallon jugs of Chablis wine around my grandfather’s cellar and at the grocery store– right there next to the “Hearty Burgundy” and “French Colombard.”

Clearly Chablis was a white wine — but exactly what white wine was in that bottle?

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Navarin French Lamb Stew with Biodynamic M. Chapoutier “Les Meysonniers” for #Winophiles


It’s the heart of winter here in Southern California, and we’ve been getting drenched.

While grateful that this may mean the end of the drought, the intense rain raises fears of floods and debris flows. Indeed, after four days of steady rain, we got about 8″ which is more than half of our average annual rain fall for this desert region. Many people were evacuated and the Ventura River flooded its banks requiring the exodus of people camping in the RV resort along its banks. Continue reading