Szamorodni Tokaji- Samuel Tinon

by Paige Donner

Recently I had the chance to taste a Szamorodni 1971, a Tokaji « Grand Liquoreux »  made by Samuel Tinon.

This was only the second time I’ve tasted a Tokaj so I daresay that from herein out my palate is completely spoilt. I understand, too, now, why it is said that this was the preferred wine of King Louis XIV.

Samuel Tinon Szamorodni – Tokaji

I do enjoy France’s Sauternes, but aside from their both being sweet wines, the two varieties  have little else in common.

It was explained to me that the Tokaji Sweet Szamorodni is a lighter version of the great Tokaji Aszù, the more famous Tokaj wine. In Polish « szamorodni » means « like it comes. » Connoisseurs find it a surprising wine and the French wine critics Bettane & Desseauve put it in its own class and category as a « Meditation Wine. »

The color is gold, a beautiful gold. The nose gives over to aromas of lemon, quince, almonds, orange zest then citrus and a bit of toast. A smooth body, delicate and spicy. It is an elegant and refreshing wine.

Serve at 10°C and in big glasses to allow for the wines’ aromatic complexity to be enjoyed.

For Aperitif : Dried fruits, nuts, almonds, cocktail toasts with blue cheeses

Starters : Fresh melon, foie gras

Desserts : Macarons, lemon tart, marzipan, fruit tarts, desserts with nuts and almonds

By themselves, in front of a fireplace or a multi-hued evening sunset overlooking a tranquil setting, one that invites a meditative moment.

Technical notes : There is no sulphur added ; residual sugar is at 115 g/l. Grape varieties are 90% Furmint and 10% Harslevelü. Hungarian State control gave this a 10/10.

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SPIT – Science Politique International Tasting (Competition)

by Paige Donner

In a truly wonderful demonstration of Bollinger’s credo, Life Can Be Perfect (with Bollinger), the day of the SPIT competition unfolded delightfully in Aÿ, France…



Gilles Descotes, Chef de Caves Bollinger + student


Jurists – SPIT (me on far right)
Maison Bollinger, Ay














All photos by Paige Donner copyright 2014 

SPIT competing schools this year were:

Oxford University – First Place

Ecole Hotelière de Lausanne – 2nd Place

Saint Andrews University – 3rd Place


France -

EDHEC Lille, EM Lyon, ESSEC, HEC, IFP, Polytechnique, Université Paris Dauphine

International – Cambridge University, Copenhagen Business School, Harvard Business School, Sankt Gallen Universitat

Competition was held at Bollinger Maision and Cellars in Ay, France. With the generous sponsorship of Bollinger, Fouquet’s Barrière, IdealWine, Le Cordon Bleu, Lehmann Glass, Chateau Latour and many more…

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Bollinger R.D. 2002 – New Release

by Paige Donner (with some translation from French original)

The great vision of Madame Bollinger – A Wine of Expertise

For Eternity

Bollinger RD 2002 image002

After much contemplation, and repeatedly going back to the drawing board, Madame Lily Bollinger at long last decided on the term Récémment Degorgé for her prestige champagne.

The date was 1963 and it was during this era that the notion of Prestige Cuvées was starting to pick up tempo in Champagne.

Consulting with her American disstribution agent, she decided to release several of her prestige 1947 Réserve bottles onto the market as prestige releases. What followed was nothing short of a small revolution « champenoise ».

Bollinger R.D. 2002 – Time  Rarity  Boldness

The nose is quince, ripe fruits, a bit of honey. The palate gives way to a carnal encounter, powerful but balanced with great persistence. The finish hints at lemon notes revealing a lovely citrus. Consume at a temp. of 12°C

R.D. 2002 Doc.indd

The highly original idea that Madame Bollinger had at the time was to choose a great – and older – vintage, one that had only recently been disgorged and then give it only the lightest hint of a dosage, not more than an Extra Brut. At the time, this was a daring approach to releasing a new product on the market as consumers then were not accustomed to older vintage champagnes. But she followed her intuition and worked with her team to communicate to her loyal clientele the significance of a late-disgorged champagne.

In a Bollinger R.D. champagne what you will find is the freshness of  Grand Cru champagne along with the developed aromas of a vintage champagne, one that you can keep for a long time. It has everything to do with the « Recently Disgorged » aspect, as that is what has allowed the champagne to mature on the lees for more than a decade, in the case of Bollinger R.D.s, and its recent disgorgement also recalibrates its freshness.

 Bollinger R.D. is the perfect testament to our everlasting loyalty to Madame Bollinger and her vision for the House of Bollinger Champagne .   – Jérôme Philipon, Président de Champagne Bollinger


It was in 1967 that Madame Bollinger and the House finalized the name of R.D. after toying with several others ( Late Disgorged, Late Disgorged Reserve) and retained the title Récémment Degorgé for their prestige label.

Several vintages were released simultaneously on the market that initial year of commercialization : the 1952 to the English market, the 1953 in Switzerland and France, and for the U.S. market and Italy the 1955. It was with the 1959 vintage that the house first did a full-on international release of the prestige cuvée.

This newest R.D. release, the 2002, will stand out among greats. The 2002 vintage in Champagne is one of the best in recent history. For this blend, the house of Bollinger blended 23 crus using 60% Pinot Noir and 40% Chardonnay. 79% are Grand Crus and 21% are Premier Crus.  The maturation of this wine is more than 3 times longer than is mandated by the Champagne AOC regulations. The dosage is very light, no more than 3 or 4 gr. per liter thus keeping it very much an Extra Brut.

In addition to the exceptional quality of this champagne, all bottles are handled exclusively by hand.  This 2002 release, which marks the 50th anniversary of the Bollinger R.D. prestige cuvée, is available in a case of 6 bottles, a luxury gift box, a magnum and even a limited edition Jerobaum (price upon request).


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Moet & Chandon’s Pop-Up Restaurant with Yannick Alleno

by Paige Donner

On a recent round-up of Paris interviewsI succeeded in doing the near-impossible – catching up with the man-in-motion, the chef who never stops, Mr. Yannick Alléno, 3* Michelin chef and champion of local-sourced ingredients for his outstanding cuisine.

Chef Yannick Alleno, Terroir Parisien Brongniart
Chef Yannick Alleno, Terroir Parisien Brongniart

You can catch my interview with him on World Radio Paris by clicking on the World of Wine play button Here.  He talks about his upcoming book that re-envisions French sauces and also his winemaking endeavors with M. Chapoutier in the Rhône Valley.  Episode will air shortly…

Yannick Alleno Kitchens Terroir Parisien photo by Paige Donner copyright 2014 IMG_1173Yannick Alleno photo by Paige Donner copyright 2014 IMG_1172Yannick Alleno in Terroir Parisien wine cellar photo by Paige Donner copyright 2014 IMG_1175Yannick Alleno in Terroir Parisien cellar photo by Paige Donner copyright 2014 IMG_1177Yannick Alleno Terroir Parisien photo by Paige Donner copyright 2014 IMG_1168


Until then, here’s what’s new:

Moët & Chandon, Épernay team up with Chef Yannick Alléno for Summer Pop-Up Restaurant in Champagne 

Starting in a few short weeks, mid-April to be exact, you will be able to make reservations for a very special dining experience:


Where - Moët & Chandon’s l’Orangerie in Épernay

This is the private l’Orangerie on the Trianon Garden grounds just across from the main cellars on Avenue de Champagne in Épernay.  The grounds are only open to invited guests, except for once a year when they give tours of the gardens, including the l’Orangerie, on France’s national Garden Day.

A dining experience in this magical setting is sure to be a memorable one.


Who - Yannick Alléno, 3* Michelin Chef and Benoit Gouez,

Moët & Chandon’s Chef de Cave.

Chef Yannick Alléno, already a legend not just for his 3* Michelins but also for his extraordinary re-visioning of French cuisine and his dedication to local foods and ingredients which he uses exclusively when creating his menus and dishes.

When - June 9 2014 to July 9 2014.

What -  A sublime dining experience.


Photos were taken at his newest Terroir Parisien, at Palais Brongniart in Paris, otherwise known as La Bourse.  Photos copyright Paige Donner 2014.


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A Year In Champagne – The Film


2014 SBIFF laurels


Metro 4 Theatre 2 Sat 1-Feb 7:20 PM
Lobero Theatre Sun 2-Feb 11:00 AM
Metro 4 Theatre 3 Tues 4-Feb 10:20 PM

‘Drink the Film’ Find the wines of the film in Santa Barbara

General Release Spring/Summer 2014

Santa Barbara Showing Times HERE


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China Leads World In Red Wine Consumption


According to the market survey commissioned by Vinexpo, the international wine and spirits exhibition, whose Asian show is to be held from 27 to 29 May this year in Hong Kong, China has become the world’s largest red wine consuming nation ahead of France and Italy.

Which countries are the biggest consumers of red wine? France, Italy and the US, right?

Wrong. Having downed more than 155 million 9-litre cases or 1.865 billion bottles of red wine in 2013, up 136% compared to 2008, China, including Hong Kong, is now the largest red wine market worldwide, followed by France, now in second place with nearly 150 million cases and Italy with 141 million.

Chinese consumers have become increasingly attracted to red wine since 2005. Between 2007 and 2013, the Vinexpo/The Iwsr study reveals that red wine consumption was multiplied by 2.75 in China, while it decreased by 5.8% in Italy and 18% in France.

 The symbolic value of red

localfoodandwine red wine 1Apart from its virtues with regard to health, which have been widely lauded as an alternative to the impact of excessive consumption of rice-based spirits, the popularity of red wine is largely due to the symbolic importance of its colour. Red is a very positive hue in Chinese culture, associated with wealth, power and good luck. In business circles, these three values are fundamental. Red wine is therefore an obvious choice for business hospitality, where partners can drink to each others’ health. Red is also the colour of China.
 Mainly wines Made in China, but more and more wines are imported

More than 80% of the wines consumed in China are made there, and the nation is currently the 5th largest producer in the world.

However, imported wines are rapidly gaining market share. Between 2007 and 2013, wine imports were multiplied by seven and account for 18.8% of all wine consumed in China today.

To meet this growing demand for imported wines, Asian buyers will obviously benefit from meeting the wide range of exhibitors present at Vinexpo Asia-Pacific in Hong Kong on 27, 28 and 29 May this year, where they will be able to travel round the world of wine and spirits production in just three days!


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Grey Goose’s Sundance

by Paige Donner

As Hollywood hitches itself once again to the Sundance Film Festival post in Park City, Utah as it does every winter, Grey Goose will be there to welcome the filmmakers, revelers and partymakers with specially designed cocktails. And lots of celebrities at their film nights and lounges.

Local Food And Wine Grey Goose Le Fizz

grey goose le fizz

Local Food And Wine Grey Goose Cherry Collins

grey goose cherry collins

Local Food And Wine Grey Goose Hot Apple Cider


grey goose hot apple cider

The Cocktails (And below is a sampling of past years Celebs in Attendance at the Grey Goose Lounge).

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Each year GREY GOOSE Vodka brings in its celebrated master mixologists to create unique specialty cocktails in honor of the films.  Guests will once again enjoy the sparkling Le Fizz or the vodka infused warm apple cider upon arrival at the cozily decorated lounge, and this season bespoke cocktails such as the will Cherry Noir Rudderless Ale and the Cherry Noir Song Spice be highlighted.

For the third year the GREY GOOSE Blue Door has played host to the Festival’s top film casts and served as one of its prime hubs, holding press junkets and welcoming the In Style Photo Studio for the last two Festivals.  Located in the center of the Park City at 449 Main Street, the crowd in the two-story space swells to capacity nearly every night.

Past highlights have included a seated dinner hosted by Matthew McConaughey for Mud; Nicole Kidman’s glam entrance at the party for Stoker; the crowd dancing late into the night with DJ Spider at the party for The East alongside Alexander Skarsgaard and Ellen Page; and from 2012, a dinner to toast Sigourney Weaver and Elizabeth Olsen for Red Lights,  James Marsden and Liv Tyler at the party for Frank the Robot; Richard Gere at the dinner for Arbitrage;  and Rashida Jones (with proud dad,Qunincy Jones), Andy Samberg, Elijah Wood, Emma Roberts at the Celeste and Jesse Forever party.

2014 lineup:

Saturday, January 18

SKELETON TWINS (Director: Craig Johnson); Kristen Wiig, Ty Burrell, Bill Hader, Luke Wilson, Boyd Holbrook, Joanna Gleason

WISH I WAS HERE (Director: Zach Braff); Zach Braff, Kate Hudson, Jim Parsons, Ashley Greene, Joey King

Sunday, January 19

LOW DOWN (Director: Jeff Preiss); Glenn Close, Flea, Elle Fanning, Anthony Keidis, Peter Dinklage

THE VOICES (Director: Marjane Satrapi); Ryan Reynolds, Anna Kendrick

LIFE AFTER BETH (Director: Jeff Baena); Aubrey Plaza, Dane DeHaan, John C. Reilly, Molly Shannon, Cheryl Hines, Paul Reiser

Monday, January 20

SONG ONE (Director: Kate Barker-Froyland); Anne Hathaway

RUDDERLESS (Director: William H. Macy);  William H. Macy, Billy Crudup, Anton Yelchin, Felicity Huffman, Selena Gomez, Laurence Fishburne



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