Monthly Archives: October 2012

A Terroir legacy

There are many reasons why vintners decide to embrace sustainable, organic, or biodynamic wine growing, but the key among them are authenticity and quality.

What is so unique about wine is its diversity. Indeed, all wine producing countries have great terroirs. However, it is vintner’s capacity to find the perfect piece of soil for a specific grape and to express  flawlessly this terroir’s personality that makes great wines.  The difference between good wines and great wines is that the second are made by vintners who follow those principles.

Jacques PUISAIS* used to say :

Wine should have the face of its birthplace and the guts of the man who made it.

It is natural that a vine living in harmony with its environment will produce grapes more complex in aromas and taste. This complexity originates in the communion between the plant and its home environment, communion allowed by the great vintners.

By environment, we mean both soil (geology, minerals) and the living nature that surrounds it (microbiological life)—the two elements which allow the vine to feed itself and which are under the care of the vintner. This is what lies behind the French word “Terroir.”

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A climate for harvest in Champagne

I was lucky to join the harvest team at Champagne Sélèque vineyard one day during grape picking. This year is like no other, they say around there. Indeed, some people remember analogue situation only forty years ago. Very small quantity but a great vintage… considering the difficult weather conditions.

Let’s see what lies behind the scenes…

Pierry, a small village classified as first growth in Champagne, where is located the Sélèque winery not far from Epernay, in the Côte des blancs. 30 acres vineyard slit in 40 plots. Which means more work and more attention needed but also a great opportunities in terms of diversity.

Everything starts in the vineyard with the grape selection because only mature grapes have to be picked. Everything is done by hand as required by the Champagne appellation. Here more or less all the workers are regular pickers some of them for more than 15 years and the atmosphere is quiet and joyfull despite the changing weather, and unfavorable climate conditions.

Here are some pictures of a “day of harvest”, from the vineyard to the cellar…

 

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A tribute to Corsican gourmet cuisine

CLE DES VIGNES explores wine relationships between Terroir, Culture and Gastronomy.

Today, we decide to question wine and food alliances to match with gourmet cuisine from Corsica. For that purpose, we use the «Grand Chefs de Corse »  cookbook, vol.2

I am a great fan of Corsican wines and all the more for the local grapes they managed to preserve. There are really great vintners over there and the gourmet cuisine is really something too. I would compare it with Italy in many ways, first for the pursuit of the best product ever and second the delicacy of harmony in textures and savors.

We opted for the following menu:

Appetizer: A brandade interpretation

A creamy garlic potato puree that softy coats the fresh cod along with a savvy brunoise (small cubes) of eggs, candied lemon, black olives and basil leaves

Recipe from Julien ALLANO, Palm Beach in Ajaccio

 

First course: Pumpkin risotto and octopus

The secret in to slowly cook the pumpkin with olive oil in a large saucepan and make it a puree. Added to the risotto when the rice is three-quarters cooked and thickened afterwards with the Parmesan cheese the texture is creamy and the crispy octopus comes perfectly to entertain a beautiful contrast in the mouth.

Recipe from Simon ANDREWS, A Nepita in Ajaccio

Main course: Lamb declension

Just for this recipe the book is worth buying. It is just marvelous, the combination of a 5 hours cooking lamb shoulder with Madeira wine, pine kernel, raisins, cinnamon and golden onions and a loin of lamb just grilled in the oven. A tomato sugary compote and stir fried eggplants.

Recipe from Simon ANDREWS, A Nepita in Ajaccio

To pair with this menu I choose the following wines…

Figari – Clos Canarelli, from Corsica so a regional alliance with the brandade interpretation. Round and fresh at the time for this 100% vermentino local grape, perfect to pair with the creamy texture of the puree and the steamed fish.

Champagne – Sélèque Or Blanc, 100% chardonnay. Such an elegant cuvee and so light should I say floating.An expression of Terroir on the limestone part of Champagne that is perfect with octopus and at the same time a round gastronomic wine (40% in oak barrels) that accompanies greatly a risotto .

Madiran – Château Bouscassé, Flavors of cooked red fruits for this virile and silky cuvee that is a perfect match for a salt and sugar meal like the lamb declension. Strong, deep and intense, it is no news that Madiran wines can offer one of the best elegance out of power.

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