Monday, December 30, 2013

THE BEST OF FRANCE. VOL.1


ST. EMILLION GRAND CRU

While it is easy to make noise about a country or place you live at and disagree with the way things are done,  the locals have a point in stating that we are temps, visitors and if we don't like it, we can just up and leave. Not an intelligent argument, but a point of view nevertheless. 
I wrote this post a while ago (http://theceliachusband.blogspot.fr/2013/11/its-complicated.htmland took some heat for it, so in order to make up for my opinionism I am typing a few posts about the very best this country has to offer.  Which does not mean I'll stop pointing out some truly bad french stuff once in a while. How does THE WORST OF FRANCE sound as a counter weight? If for nothing else, to get some of the french readers going......about us foreigners. Did I mention that the local Front National politicians wanted to rent our store for the upcoming mayoral elections? Ironic, to approach a foreigner for something they need. They couldn't afford it either.

Anyway. An Austrian newspaper recently opined about France in a very good way and how this country is a mystery to most. http://derstandard.at/1385172164522/Frankreich-eine-erstaunlich-erfolgreiche-Zeitbombe
The article does not translate well, but you may get the idea of it. One paragraph though came through very much to me. 
Outside of Paris this is very much a farm country still. Granted, Toulouse has the AIRBUS plant, there is major shipbuilding going on at St. Nazaires and there are other heavy industries in the north. But deep down, when tourists go back home to their own cultures after a whirlwind Tour de France what is it they rave about most? Exactly. The bread, the cheese, the food and the WINE! Maybe the Eiffel tower. And really, right they are.  This country has some of the best small agricultural producers anywhere. True farmers.

How about wine? While being produced around the world, we all associate wine with France and Bordeaux in particular. Marketing maybe, history for sure. Well over 1500 wine chateaux in the Bordeaux region alone have been making some of the world's best wine for centuries. 
Very shortly after we moved here, we were introduced to one maker in particular. I have yet to meet the vintner, but he has a strong connection to Jarnac. He used to own the bar next door and has many friends in town because of it. 
His Chateau is called Jaugue Blanc in St. Emilion, where his focus is on natural production, not bio, but less and less harmful influences. The result, a Grand Cru is really really good. If it would just me saying that, that would be one thing,  after all I never graduated beyond the "Wine for Dummies" book and have been seen drinking this Grand Cru from an IKEA water glass, but I have served this wine to many locals, visitors and even took a few cases back to Austria and all have liked it. Loved it. 

Last year at an agricultural exhibition in Paris this vintner achieved a gold medal for his 2011 vintage and if that is not enough for you, Robert Parker gave his 2010 vintage 89 points.  Add to that a price of less than 15.00 US$ and you have a Best of France kind of product.  I stashed some boxes for you. Come and visit.

Here is more of a write up:


Chateau Jaugue Blanc Saint-Emilion Grand Cru. 

5.75 ha property consisting of 75% Merlot 20% Cabernet Franc and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon. Family owned for 3 generations. It is a vineyard terroir gravelly, sandy with a basement dirt iron. For the sake of qualitative approach at the highest level, we work mechanically ground and thus no herbicide use.Green grapes are followed by stripping, helping to bring a healthy grape quality to optimal maturation. This wine bottling in French oak barrels (we work with 4 different coopers each bringing their own complexities them), thus benefiting from subtle and refined notes of wood. soft tannins, hints of vanilla, toast 
This wine is a deep ruby red, the nose develops aromas of ripe fruit: cassis, blackberries and licorice. The palate is soft with a beautiful more structured development and a long velvety final. I hope this fine and elegant wine will delight all lovers of traditional and fruit products in high respect for the land.


A BEST OF FRANCE

THAT'S A RIEDEL GLASS

 THAT'S AN IKEA GLASS

ANYWAY YOU DRINK THIS WINE, IT'S GREAT

STANDING ORDER. 3 BOXES


Monday, December 23, 2013

MERRY CHRISTMAS



This year has gone by as fast as no other. It just seems so recent that both our daughters from Canada were here and yet it's one year ago.
So here we are, getting ready for another holiday, the fridge is full of good food to prepare, the fireplace is roaring at ten int he morning already and we are happy and thankful for another year gone good.

Wherever you are, whatever you celebrate, we wish you and your loved ones a merry Christmas.




MERRY CHRISTMAS

I'LL BE DRINKING A FEW OF THESE OVER THE HOLIDAYS

AND THEN SOME OF THESE TO WAKE UP.....

SAMANTHA & LAUREN WHO WE'LL MISS A LOT THIS CHRISTMAS

Saturday, December 21, 2013

AT THE MARKET IN ANGOULEME



On this last weekend before Christmas Isabella and myself took a quick road trip to Angouleme for no apparent reason. We did end up at a mall eventually, but not before visiting the market in the city.
I mentioned the place before, but today I took advantage of Isabella's new camera for better images.....all taken by her again.
The Jarnac market is undergoing a new build and will not re open until May. Cognac is not much larger than ours, so I always enjoy a visit to Angouleme. My favorite at this location is that there are two eateries which serve market fresh food for lunch. Sadly, Jarnac will not offer such service, very much a miss in my books. They are enlarging the floor space, but apparently did not have enough interest for at market dining. 

Anyway. There was a small petting zoo at the entrance today and Isabella enjoyed that as much as I did visiting the stalls inside. The halls were all decorated and people seemed to be int he Christmas mood, some vendors showing their season's best.  Markets can get repetitive, but Angouleme seems to change around quite a bit, or maybe it's that we don't visit that often.

Enjoy the pictures.



LES HALLES DU ANGOULEME

A GREAT VIEW OVER THE COUNTRY SIDE AND THE TRAIN STATION


CHRISTMAS ZOO

CUTE SHEEP

TAKE ME HOME....



MAKE YOUR OWN FOIE GRAS.....

ALL FESTIVE



ONE OF TWO EATERIES INSIDE THE MARKET

OPEN KITCHEN







LOOKS GOOD

SOME FUNKY HATS

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

ISABELLA'S NEW CAMERA



Isabella received an early Christmas gift. A brand new Canon camera. It's a small part Christmas gift and a very large part reward for having toughed it out on a brutal regime for the last 12 month. A regime her mother only lasted for 6 month on, her father did not even bother.  That restrictive regime takes a gigantic amount of will power, especially in a food driven household as ours. I am very proud of Isabella.

As fascinated as I am with the quality of the pictures that Canon takes, I am even more amazed how different we can see the same thing. Flowers, animals, objects, the whole town through Isabella`s eyes and lens looks very different than my images that I have posted over the years. I like her perception, the way Jarnac looks.

In no specific order, here are some of Isabella`s images: