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Lanson Black Label – preview

This is one of the best videos I’ve yet seen released by a champagne house.

It’s by Lanson and it previews their Black Label cuvée. It also introduces their new cellar master. It’s brief and to the point. Every bit worth watching.

WATCH IT HERE

Lanson  Black Label  The Champagne

Lanson Black Label – The Champagne

Lanson Champagne - Black Label

Lanson Champagne – Black Label

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Champagne – Beyond The Bubbles… And Over The Rainbow

Rainbows are visions

They’re only illusions

Rainbows have nothing to hide …

From, The Rainbow Connection

Beyond Bubbles : The Essence of Champagne

by Paige Donner

I have never seen so many rainbows as I see when I’m in Champagne. Not even in Hawai’i, that tropical paradise, do rainbows make such frequent appearance.

When the heavens open up like that, displaying this seemingly magical burst of color in the otherwise cold, and very often gray, Champenois landscape, it inspires contemplation.

A rainbow over the Champagne vineyards of Avenay. As seen from the train window during harvest 2014. Photo copyright Paige Donner.

A rainbow over the Champagne vineyards of Avenay. As seen from the train window during harvest 2014.     Photo copyright Paige Donner.

So with my frequent sightings of these Champagne rainbows – even, often, double rainbows – my mind has delved into the question, what correlation exists between the magic of rainbows, a phenomenon inspired and derived solely from nature, and champagne ?

The locals, the Champenois, recount the tale of the “discovery” of champagne as “a happy accident.” Many of us wine aficionados, lovers and champagne connoisseurs are only too familiar with the legend of the tinkering monk of Hautvillers’ ancient abbey and how a secondary fermentation of a batch of wine that otherwise would have been termed “bad” or “off” and thrown out, in fact became what is now the world-famous luxury wine product known as champagne.

Does it take a spiritual, singularly visionary person, like a contemplative monk, to perceive the wonder and magic in nature, yes, in God’s ways ? And hence the extraordinary potential and wealth of abundance that “happy accidents” often yield ?

That rhetorical question is one for each individual to answer for themselves.

What is of historical record is that a monk inspired the wholesale production method of a wine that had previously, for centuries, dating back at least to King Henry IV’s, Henri-Quatre’s, time, been a still wine. And with that recognition, he cleared the path for his kinsmen to find that “pot of gold” on the other side of the Champagne rainbow.

Champagne is today the richest viticultural region on Earth and one where the vines are held by thousands of small growers. Nature’s “happy accident,” and a monk’s wisdom to recognize it, now sustains a multi-billion dollar industry whereby thousands of agricultural families enjoy a decent, even above average, standard of living, just by the grace of the yield from God’s good Earth. There is no other viticultural region that similarly compares to this abundant socio-economic structure.

As a wine writer, I am tempted here to go into the intricacies of Champagne’s chalky terroir, the crayères that date back to Roman times, the Kimmeridgean soil, the ancient lake bed with its fossilized shells that lends itself to this extraordinary viticultural zone, one that uniquely yields the distinctive chardonnay, pinot noir and meunier musts that go into the blending of a fine champagne.

But before all of this, before the whole cult of a wine-with-bubbles was created, spawning tomes of reviews, critiques, analyses and studies, it took one person’s penetrating vision and recognition that champagne is not simply a unique wine among the other fabulous French wines, but worthy of value and honor. Vision is all about the ability to perceive. Before any of this mattered, the soils, the cellars, the méthode champenois, it took one person to recognize its potential value. A rose by any other name is still a rose, but there still must be that first who recognizes its valeur. I wonder, who was the first to call champagne the “King of wines?”

Like rainbows, the bubbles in a glass of champagne are ethereal, effervescent, sparkling with nature’s magic. They are each – rainbows and bubbles in a bottle of champagne – a natural phenomenon to be enjoyed. They are to be appreciated with the respect that as a product of nature they are a gift, a gift whose pleasure it is to be enjoyed. And like a rainbow, the bubbles in a glass of champagne defy possession, for like love, rainbows and the bubbles in this wine made from Champagne grapes, they cannot be sequestered in one’s hand, for only the release of their fleeting essence for precious few scintillating moments, allow these extraordinary occurrences of nature the expression of what they uniquely are.

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Double Rainbow

Double Rainbow

 

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Episode 2 GOODfood+wine aka Paris GOODfood+wine Airs February 15th

Episode 2 GOODfood+wine aka Paris GOODfood+wine Airs February 15th

LocalFoodAndWine:

EPISODE 2 GOODFOOD+WINE AKA PARIS GOODFOOD+WINE AIRS FEBRUARY 15TH 2015

Originally posted on Local Food And Wine:

by Paige Donner

If you read French and keep on top of French culinary news, you may already have bookmarked several of these articles that buzzed around the social media waves these past weeks, namely how France is mounting a campaign of Gastro-Diplomacy.

Well, we here at GOODfood+wine (aka Paris GOODfood+wine) applaud these efforts. In fact, I wholeheartedly embrace the synergy of the first episode airing the very same month that the French government officially launched the spearheading of their formal worldwide communications campaign about the abiding merits of French cuisine.

EPISODE 2 AIRING ON WRP Sunday, February 15th, 2015

The second episode of Paris GOODfood+wine (aka GOODfood+wine) airs this Sunday on World Radio Paris.  If you live outside Paris and don’t get the station on your radio dial,not to worry. You can catch the episode on replay, along with Episode 1 as well, at WRP/ListenAgain.

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Paris GOODfood+wine Episode 1

Paris GOODfood+wine airing on World Radio Paris

Paris GOODfood+wine airing on World Radio Paris

by Paige Donner

The first episode of Paris GOODfood+wine was aired, as scheduled, on January 11th. What could never have been foreseen is the tragedy that happened just days prior, the Charlie Hebdo massacre, that left a dozen people, most of them journalists, dead.

This inaugural episode of Paris GOODfood+wine is dedicated to their memory and to their courage in staying true to and living by their guiding principles of freedom of speech and Liberté.

The first episode of Paris GOODfood+wine aired on January 11th on World Radio Paris. It’s dedicated to the Charlie Hebdo journalists. #JeSuisCharlie

You can catch the episode on replay by clicking here on World Radio Paris and pushing play where you see the program Paris GOODfood+wine listed.

This program is the first of its kind for Paris. Meaning, it is the first long-format radio show broadcast in English about food and wine from Paris and produced in Paris. As the host and producer of the show, I want to thank the team for showing up to be interviewed and for putting in the work to submit their reports. I especially want to thank our technical producer, David Blanc, for creating the space at World Radio Paris, which he is also the station manager of, to air this show. We will be airing monthly to start.

This first program begins with an interview conducted by me of Rémi Krug, who chairs the specialized gastronomy study program at the University of Reims called the Institut des Hautes Etudes du Goût. It is a two week certificate program that is about the study of French gastronomy and Art de la Table.

The second segment is an introductory interview of my guest restaurant reviewer, Alec Lobrano, who talks to us about what he likes most about the Paris food scene and fills us in on his latest books, Hungry For Paris and Hungry For France.

Paris Bistro – Hear Alec Lobrano’s Review on Paris GOODfood+wine

That’s followed by Alec Lobrano’s restaurant review of the Moulin à Vent, a beloved Left Bank bistro specializing in French comfort food that you can find in Paris’ Latin Quarter.

The final segment is by our contributing Market Reporter, Emily Dilling, who is the founder of the blog, Paris Paysanne. She takes us with her on her spin through the Marché Batignolles where she talks to a local producer about the fabulous winter squash there.

Thank you for listening to our first ever half-hour food show, in English, broadcast from Paris. We hope you enjoy it. And join us again next month on World Radio Paris for the next episode of Paris GOODfood+wine.

À bientôt!

I love Paris GOOdfood+wine title and end slide text only

 

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Pacherenc du Vic-Bilh AOC – The Other Sweet French Wine

by Paige Donner

The World of Wine has endless gems in store for you to discover. That is what’s so riveting about continuing along the path of wine exploration. Just when you think you’ve come across most of France’s highlights, there are still more yet awaiting your discovery.

pacherenc du vic bilh vineyards

pacherenc du vic bilh vineyards

Pacherenc du Vic-Bilh is one of these wines. In a culture that tends to evoke the wines of Sauternes and Barsac when discussing sweet wines, this is a lovely discovery that comes from a different region in France, the Southwest. AOC Pacherenc du Vic-Bilh is just 40 km from Pau and in fact faces the Pyrénées.

The real difference of this sweet wine is not the time of its harvest, as it’s harvested late in the year, from mid-November up until mid-December, similar to other sweet wines and much like the famous German and Canadian ice wines. No, the real difference is that these wines take their sweetness from their maturation and not from botrytis (noble rot).

The first historical reference to this wine, Pacherenc du Vic-Bilh, is from 1745 in a document found that forbids harvest that year before November 4th in this particular region of Southwestern France. That year the harvest took place mid-November during what’s known as a sort of Indian Summer in that area of France, locally called the Summer of Saint Martin, l’été de la Saint-Martin.

Pacherenc du Vic-Bilh Doux Saint Albert 2012

Pacherenc du Vic-Bilh Doux Saint Albert 2012

Named after the festival day during that Indian Summer, the cuvée Saint-Albert 2012 made by Alice and Paul Dabade (Barrique and Lot 7.1-7.2-7.3-7.4) is exemplary of this AOC Pacherenc du Vic-Bilh sweet wine. It’s a blend of Gros Manseng, Petit Manseng and Petit Courbu.  It was harvested late in 2012, starting December 12.

For the bouquet you can expect rhubarb and mandarin orange. On the mouth, the silky suaveness of the sweet is balanced nicely by a fresh acidity that hits you on the finish. As it ages it picks up notes of white truffles. If you like sweet wines this is truly one of the privileged sweet wines and relatively unknown simply because so little of it is produced.

Pairs well with foie gras and Roquefort; Also as an aperitif. For dessert it goes nicely with a fruit pie or tart and also light fresh sorbets such as passion or lemon. Serve 8-10°C.

Awards: Gold Medal, 2013, Paris Agricultural Fair

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Gérard Bertrand’s Book About His Life In Wine

All photos by Paige Donner ©

Gérard Bertrand celebrates his Book Launch Faust Paris December 17 photo by Paige Donner copyright 2014

Gérard Bertrand celebrates his Book Launch Faust Paris December 17 photo by Paige Donner copyright 2014

Gérard Bertrand is one of those rare Frenchmen in wine – a former rugby star who took over the family business of wine when he retired from his illustrious sports career. Since his father George’s death, Gérard has overseen the vast family business entirely, even launching the brand with considerable success into the US market in 2011.

A champion of bio-dynamic wines, Bertrand is also one of the biggest grower-producers in France’s Languedoc region, a region that has historically been considered the wine barrel of France for its sheer volume of production.

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At his recent book launch at Faust in Paris, celebrating the release of his new book, Le Vin à la belle étoile, celebrated personalities from both the fields of sports and wine, as well as the Parisian demi-monde, came out to congratulate him – and to sip some of his new releases from his more celebrated estates of Cigalus (bio-dyanamic), Domaine de l’Aigle, and the wine from the Bertrand family estate, Domaine de Villemajou.

If Domaine de Villemajou was a person it would be a generously proportioned Mediterranean woman with lots of charm to illustrate its rounded, silky, fine tannins.

The eight hectares that make up the plots of Villemajou are referred to as La Forge. These plots were Georges Bertrand’s, Gérard’s father’s, favorite of his estates. It is part of the inland terroir of the Boutenac region in Corbières. These Villemajou plots, La Forge, reside on a Miocene hilltop.  The blend of the wine is of two emblematic regional varieties, Syrah and Carignan.

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Posted by on December 29, 2014 in Chérie Du Vin

 

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Gallery

Food Books by French Authors Make Good Gifts

Food Books by French Authors Make Good Gifts

LocalFoodAndWine:

There’s a book about wine included in this lineup, by none other than Gérard Bertrand, one of the south of France’s biggest and most notable wine producers. Read all the way through to get to the wine parts…

Originally posted on Local Food And Wine:

by Paige Donner

Any season is a good season to give the gift of an exquisite, illustrated book about food and/or wine. Here you will find three selections, all of which are authored by French experts in their fields of food and wine, Gérard Bertrand (wine), Eric Kayser (pâtisserie) and Régis Marcon (mushrooms). The books are printed in French, for now, but with such exceptional picture illustrations, they very easily span the cultural divide.

Champignons by Régis Marcon

Selected here are Régis Marcon’s book about Champignons, and I mean all kinds. This Loire-based three-star French chef came out with his book from Martinière publishing in 2013. In early December he won another accolade for it, this time from Champagne Collet who holds a culinary book competition every year, the Livre de Chef. The event’s official name is Champagne Collet du Livre de Chef and you can read more about it

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Posted by on December 11, 2014 in Chérie Du Vin

 
 
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