Posts from June 2009

June 25 to 28, Pinot Noir Fever Hits San Franciso with Pinot Days 2009

I jotted down June 25 as the opening salvo for Pinot Days 2009 but when I checked the program realized that it actually kicked off a day earlier with Newcomers in Pinot.

Pinot days

It gave those attending a chance to try 16 different pinots (from 16 'young turks') in flights of four in a blind tasting.
Maybe a chance to discover future stars?

The New Kids on The Pinot Noir Block were:

Coterie Cellars, C.Donatiello Winery, Thomas George Estates, Kokomo Wines, Couloir Wines, Spell, Expression Pinot Noir, Zepaltas Wines, Baxter Winery, Richard Berridge Wines, Bjornstad Cellars, Kendric Vineyards, Suacci Carciere Wines, Périple Wines, Sand Hill Wines - Durell Vineyard, Black Kite Cellar

I have not tried any of them yet.

I picked Couloir Wines (label below) to see who these Young Turks were and discovered that it is not a newbie operation.
Its founder and winewaker Jon Grant I realized upon visiting the Couloir site is also the Assistant Winemaker at Turley Wine Cellars. The name Couloir means "a steep mountainside gorge, appeals to Jon's predilection for ski mountaineering. Couloir Wines delivers handcrafted wines with a sense of
place and time", these are single vineyard pinot noirs.


Mirroring this New Kids program and using the same format of 16 wines blind tasted in flights of 4 will be 2 Events on Saturday, June 27.

First the Gems from Southern AVAS Areas (Santa Maria Valley, Santa Rita Hills, Santa Lucia, Santa Barbara and Central Coast) from 1 to 3pm featuring:

Rusack Vineyards, Pelerin Wines, Tudor Wines, Landmark Vineyards, Tantara Winery, Hope & Grace Wines, Clos Pepe Vineyards, Testarossa Vineyards, Native9 Wine, Paraiso Vineyards, Alma Rosa Winery & Vineyards, Gainey Vineyard, Arcadian Winery, Melville, Failla.

You get an hour break before the Gems from Northern AVAS Areas (Russian River Valley, Carneros, Anderson Valley, Santa Cruz and the Sonoma Coast...) from 4 to 6pm with:

Kanzler Vineyards, Winderlea Vineyard and Winery, WesMar Winery, Adastra Wines, Shandel's Oppenlander Vineyard, Clos Saron Abiouness Wines, Tudor Wines, Dutton-Goldfield Winery, Picket Fence, Kosta Browne Winery, Sojourn Cellars, Lynmar Winery, Olson Ogden Wines, Paul Mathew Vineyards, Keller Estate.

Tickets for each of these Saturday events are $80 a piece.

As for the rest of the program, check the Event Details Page.

Happy Pinot Days.

Salesman, How many times can you say Thank You before sounding Desperate?

OK, you are in the business of selling whether it's clothing, food, financial products ( a tough nut to crack right now) or anything else.
You get a customer to buy your stuff.
How many times can you say thank you before you start sounding like a desperate 'dope'?
Can you still channel genuine thanks or are you starting to sound like the shadow of your smile?

Just wondering how much is too much

Charm Offensive, Parisians Turn their Homes into Bed and Breakfasts

The June 24, 2009 Edition of The World (PRI) shared a report by Genevieve Oger on How French are encouraged to turn on the charm.

In a 2007 study delivered to the mayor of Paris, it was reported that even though visitors to the city of lights were thrilled by the sights and restaurants they felt that service and hospitality at hotels could be best described as surly.

Of the junior of senior grade I don't know.

Genevieve Oger notes that in "a program to boost tourism in tough economic times, the City of Paris is encouraging Parisians to turn their homes into Bed and Breakfasts, and to become charming hosts."

Services such as Alcove and Agapes help you find a Bed and Breakfast in Paris that suits you.

The Official Paris Tourist Office counts Alcove and Agaves amongst the list of Chambres d'hotes (French term for B&B) it offers in At home with the Parisians
who have adhered to the “Hôtes Qualité Paris” quality charter for B&B.


See an example of the accommodations offered by another member Good Morning Paris (above).

Today's report on The World as I later discovered was a repeat performance of a similar piece that was broadcast on Deutsche Welle (June 6).

Bonfires, Let me add Hogueras-Fogueres de San Juan in Spain to the list, June 23?

Right after I wrote about Fete de la Saint Jean and its bonfires, I noticed that a friend of one of my sons who now lives in Spain was planning on attending a San Juan Fiesta in Valencia and bonfires were part of the program.

It took place at the beach from Tuesday the 23rd at 5pm to Wednesday the 24th at 2pm.
One long party.

Other cities in Spain such as Alicante  with Fogueres de San Juan according to Spain Info "celebrate this great homage to fire for several days, a relation of the “Fallas” in Valencia, where the main characters are genuine works of impermanent art: the bonfires and the large cardboard and wooden figures which go up in flames on the night of San Juan."


A sign of our impermanent existence?

Just wondering

Related: June 24, Bonfires and Festive Night, La Fete de la St Jean

125 Wines and a Few Beers for 50 Bucks, Uncorked 'Best of' Tasting, June 24, San Francisco

As I am writing this, it is still morning in California so you might still be able to grab some tickets for the 3rd Uncorked 'Best of the Best' Tasting on June 24 from 6 to 9pm at Ruby Skye in San Francisco.

Having a chance to sample a 125 plus wines and a few Belgian and German beers for $50 (in advance) is a steal.

As an extra incentive, I noticed on the reservation page that for each 3 tickets purchased you get a 4th one on the house.

You can even purchase (some, all?) wines that thrilled you.

My friends from Olson Ogden (Russian River Valley) will be there and they have a special deal for you, buy two of their 2007 and you get a 2006 as a gift.

Ruby skye

And let me ask, when was the last time that you went to a wine tasting in a night club (Ruby Skye, pictured above).

Hopefully you won't be so dizzy that you can't enjoy the grooves of DJ Sol.

Related: Great Wines, Poor Attendance at Golden Glass-Slow Food Tasting in San Francisco

Battle of the Bridge sees Strong Men of Pisa in Action on Night of June 27

It is not just the French who kick off the summer season with a bunch of festivities, so do Italians.

June is a busy month in Pisa with Giugno Pisano (Pisan June).

Tradition will be on show in the evening of June 27 with the Battle of the Bridge (Gioco del Ponte) on the Ponte di Mezzo.

Here's what's on the program according to TuscanyPass (picture below from their site):

"This year the battle will run by night: at 8 pm the historical pageant, at 9.30 pm the race.

The Battle consists of two distinct moments: the historical pageant along the Arno river (a huge military parade with over 700 participants) and the Battle on the Ponte di Mezzo, during which the two opposing teams give proof of their physical strenght in a strongly competitive atmosphere.

The Mezzogiorno (Midday or South) and Tramontana (North) sides march separately but at the same time anticlockwise along the four streets running along the Arno river close to the Ponte di Mezzo. There is also a third parade composed by the Judges, that is 81 more partecipants.

Victory goes to the team that conquers the Bridge by pushing a cart and all the opponents to the opposite end of the sliding rail."


Giugno Pisano also offers culinary delights with Degustando Pisa which runs until June 30.

Restaurants such as Osteria dei Cavalieri (The Knights Tavern, pictured below) offer Local Cuisine with Prix Fixe Lunch and Dinner.


The Degustando Pisa site shares that "Tuscan cuisine is very simple and generally use local products, avoiding spices and expensive or refined products. That's why you could find oil instead of lard, not so much salt, and plenty of soups made by bread and vegetables."

Here are some of the most popular dishes according to them:

Bruschetta, Crostini, Tuscan Panzanella, Cecina

First Course:
Bread Soup, Green Tagliatelle with Pecorino Cheese, Pappa col pomodoro, Pisan style rice with truffle

Main course:
"Tagliata" Sliced Steak, Pisan style wild boar, Tuscan style duck, Marinated wild boar, Pisan style mullets, "Mucco pisano" steak

Side dishes:
Tuscan Tomatoey Beans, Kale, Fricassee Mushrooms

Cantuccini biscuits, Bischeri cake

Makes me want to hop on the next plane to Pisa.

Thanks to Gloria of At Home in Tuscany for putting this festive month on my radar.

Related: Telescope and Paintbrush, Science and Art in Age of Galileo, Palazzo Blu, Pisa

June 24, Bonfires and Festive Night, La Fete de la St Jean

The Fete de la Musique is barely over and the cheering of the arrival of summer keeps coming in France with La Fete de la Saint Jean on June 24 for the summer solstice.

Across the country, bonfires are set, cities treat their residents to fireworks and sometimes an aperitif.
It is also often an excuse for a night out sampling the local food fare.

In Saint Jean de Luz, the Saint Jean festival started on Saturday (June 20) and run until Tuesday (June 23), pretty much non-stop if I am to trust the on site report from Basque Bylines and everyone wears black and red clothing.

Shame on me, I did not realize until this year (2009) that on the same day, June 24, Quebec celebrates its national holiday Saint Jean Baptiste Day (Fete St Jean Baptiste).

French are not the only ones to light bonfires as the Finish video above proves

Related: Light my Fire: La Trobada on the Canigou, June 22-23 (Feux de la St Jean)

An Organic Verdejo with a Montrachet Bent, Ossian 2006 from Rueda

I am ashamed to say it but I have to confess that I have barely scratched the surface in sharing the wines that caught my eye and my attention at the numerous tastings I attended in the Spring 2009.


Let me get at least one off my list today with the Ossian 2006.

The wine is 100% Verdejo, from 180 years old, organically farmed vineyards near Rueda in Castilla y Leon.

This is the fruit of a collaboration between Aalto’s Javier Zaccagnini and Burgundian enologist Pierre Millemann and its style was inspired by the great Montrachets.

The 2007 Vintage has also now been released.

This is not a mega production.

Eric Asimov sings the praise of Rueda's white wines in Emerging, in Spain, to Warm Applause (NY Times, March 2008)

Green with a Spanish Tinge for Green Day # 82

Previously: Will Personal Farmers make Lawn Services obsolete?

My Little Paris, A Local Guide that Says it Softly

As I was looking for updates on Merci, a Parisian shop, I stumbled upon My Little Paris.

No brash, flashy statements here, what makes this guide to shopping, foodie things, culture and other things local stand out is that they say it softly.

Credit this soft touch in no small part to the charming illustrations of Kanako like her tip of the hat to the song by Jacques Dutronc 'Paris s'eveille' (below) for the Culture pages.


Want to leave categories behind, check the Unusual section whose latest suggestion is Lunch at the Market (June 4) featuring Le Marché des Enfants Rouges,39 rue de Bretagne, in 3rd Arrondissement, Metro Arts-et-Métiers.

I did notice that it is even open on Sunday from 8:30 am to 2pm.

Cecile Debise in Le Marche des Enfants Rouges (L'internaute, in French) notes that people visit this small indoor market (only 20 merchants) as much to have lunch as to do their food shopping.

She writes that this is the oldest market in Paris and that its name has its origins to the previous occupants of the site, an orphanage founded in the 16th century where abandonned children were dressed in red.

This market counts a wine shop as you can see in the slides accompanying her piece.

On a closing note, want to brush up on your French, try the French Version of My Little Paris which seems to be updated more often.

There in P'tits Luxes (June 23), if you are looking for something more than the usual restaurant experience, they suggest Art-Home a table d'hote with a view for 12 on the rooftop of the Palais de Tokyo.

Actually an unusual eaterie, Art-Home (or 'arome' in French) is a collaborative project between Electrolux and the Palais de Tokyo...

An exciting tour around Paris

I hope you enjoyed.

Related: Merci, Do-Good Haute Shopping in Paris, Opened March 5th

Argentina and Cahors battle it out in Malbec Tasting with Anthony Rose, Bordeaux, June 22

Take 40 minutes, 12 Malbecs, 6 from Argentina, 6 from Cahors add to the mix British wine personality, Anthony Rose and you have a great wine session.


It took place earlier today, June 22 at Vinexpo (photo above courtesy Vinexpo) in Bordeaux.

The 12 wines were:

Malbecs AOC Cahors : Mas del Périé 2008, Château de Gaudou 2006, Château la Caminade Cuvée la Commandery 2006, Château de Haute Serre 2005, Clos Triguedina cuvée Probus 2007, Château le Cèdre cuvée le Cèdre 2006

Malbecs from Argentina : Catena Zapata Adrianna Vyd 2005, Mendel Unus 2006, Sophenia Synthesis 2007, Colomé Malbec Estate 2007, Ricardo Santos Malbec 2007, Vinalba Patagonia Malbec Syrah 2007.

Check Anthony Rose piece At Mendoza's 1,000 or so metres of altitude, the malbec grape thrives on sunshine (Independent, January 24, 2009).

Want to explore some of the less traveled appellations and offerings from Southern France besides Cahors such as Gaillac read Anthony Rose wide ranging piece on his Journal South-West France: Ancient and Modern - Part 1 (June 9) includes suggested wine buys.

Got wind of the Bordeaux tasting thanks to Blackisphere, All Things Cahors, All the Time (in French or English).