Posts from November 2009

Crinella 'Russian River Valley' Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir, As Tasty as their Recipes

I did not notice their wine on display in a wine store, I discovered this wonderful family winery from Russian River Valley while looking up wine and food pairings.

They caught my eye because of the incredible number and variety of recipes they shared.

I wrote about it in Venisson stew, Duck and Goose Gizzards and Hearts, Recipes from Crinella Winery and got a warm thank you note from them.

Ramona was very kind to offer since I had not tasted any of their production to send me a couple bottles.

She followed through and a couple weeks later they landed in my mail box (so to speak).

After this coast to coast trip, the wines needed to rest.

I put a do not disturb sign on them.

I had to wait a bit longer than I planned to get acquainted as I suffered from a cold and my taste buds were off.

I started with the Sauvignon Blanc (2006) from their Marino Vineyard which I actually carries "two Sauvignon Blanc clones, approximately 50 percent each: Sauvignon Blanc Clone 01 and Sauvignon Musqué. The Clone 01 produces grapes with classic citrus and fruit flavors, while the Musqué results in grapes with more floral and spicy notes."


The marriage of the two grapes explains why the citrus flavor is more restrained than in other Sauvignon Blancs.

The wine is elegant and with enough subtlety that you'll need to let it grow on you.


As for the Pinot Noir 'Estate Vineyard'
Russian River Vallley 2006 (see map of vineyards above), grapes from different plots are harvested and fermented individually and what I tasted they share is the result of a carefully crafted blend of 7 clones by winemaker Rod Berglund.

Medium bodies, not Tutti Frutti like too many Pinot Noirs from California but a well structured red, a work of patience.
One of their food pairing suggestions is Grilled Lamb Chops.

Inviting friends who share your love of food and wine for dinner, if you happen to find either of these 'Russian River Valley' treats or both, get it and surprise them with this discovery.

Life would be boring if we always tasted the same wines, don't you agree?


Break all the Rules with Les Incorrects, Le Fooding Week, Paris, Nov 30- Dec 7

Back in September, they treated New York to a Fooding d'Amour.

Now back in the hexagon, for their Semaine du Fooding 2009 (8 days actually) they break all the rules with Les Incorrects from November 30 to December 7.

The event site is in French only so let me share a few highlights.


I am not sure if in Elle met du beurre partout ('She puts butter everywhere) they are seriously letting couples cover each other with Creme Brulee, Liquid Caramel with Sea Salt and other creations by cookbook author and TV personality, Trish Deseine, in her Spa Pur Beurre (Nov 30 to Dec 4 ).


With Petales de Cheval, horse meat gets a seat at the table, I remember in my native city of Lanester how there was a 'regular' butcher but also a Boucherie Chevaline. They invited Tonino Simbula the chef of Sardegna a tavola to share his horse meat carpaccio with the willing (Nov 30 to Dec 4).


In Le Baiser du Chef Masque, the caped crusaders of Parisian kitchens offer dishes they would not dream serving and you might not order in a regular setting. Each night a different chef will surprise 150 guests under the glass roof of Piscine Molitor (Nov 30 to Dec 4).


What about the liquid side, I almost forgot to mention Les mouches, la veuve et son amant or nice bubbly looks to mate with cheese for serious flirt, say Veuve Clicquot Brut Carte Jaune with Muenster...each day will see a different cheese pairing I believe. Will Cancoillotte be one of them? (Nov 30 to Dec 4, also at Piscine Molitor ).

All the events required at least a 24H Advance Reservation.

Any of these will sure be an experience for all the senses.

Enjoy if you can make it there.

(* all illustrations from the program of La Semaine du Fooding 09)

Find a Cold Spot, Disconnect from the Web, Get Face Time with your Life

To clear any misunderstanding, I am not talking about paranormal activity which the term 'cold spot' is often associated with.

Wisdom can be found everywhere from my backyard to down under.

In one of my Twitter expeditions, I stumbled upon Anthill Magazine from Australia 'where ideas and business meet' is their tagline.

One article caught my eye instantly Disconnect online to reconnect in life (November 30) by Nigel Malone.

He starts by quoting a
1970s by Harry Chapin called Cat’s in the Cradle that tells the story of a father who misses many of the best moments of his growing son’s life, because he’s too busy working.

I actually discovered when linking to the song on Last FM (above) that "Harry Chapin based the song on a poem written by his wife Sandy about her neglectful father. Sandy showed it to Harry as a warning when he was on the road too much and he made it into a song."

NIgel Malone who is taking his first vacation in 4 years is afraid he might not be able to disconnect and really be present for his wife.

This is the conundrum many of us face these days, being easily accessible to the outside world reduces the quality time we spend with friends and loved ones.

I don't think it has just to do with technology.

It can be a manifestation of an addiction to work.

You go away but you feel like trains cannot run on time if you don't check with the office on a daily basis.

Technology might just exacerbate these traits.

By the way, Nigel was sharing his thoughts with us on his first day of vacation (while his wife was sleeping).

His closing idea of 'cold spots' sounds quite interesting.

Once we suffer from enough 'connection' fatigue we might be ready to relish or even pay for 'cold spots' rather than 'hot spots' so we can really relax, spend quality time and come back recharged.

I remember going on hiking trips before GPS and cell phones and it was a real break from the daily rush.

Will we soon see vacation spots advertise their 'cold spot' status (no TV, no cell phones, no internet connection)?

Peggy Orenstein offers her take on same topic in Going Offline: Stop Your Search Engines (NY Times, Oct 23) and references Ulysses Unbound by Jon Elster (cover below).


On disconnecting, vacations and work addiction for Monday Work Etiquette # 118

Previously: Confessions, Failures and Presentations That Are Not Canned

Too Much Rain and High Standards means no La Chapelle Hermitage 2008

Coming back from a potluck party at a friend's house, I was saddened by the news that there will be no La Chapelle Hermitage 08 for any of us to drink.

Paul Jaboulet-Aine announced on their Facebook Fan Page that the pouring rains of September 2008 (a 30 year record) were equal to what they usually get in 6 months in the Rhone


They shared this graph of rainfalls (above), 2008 is the red line, pretty much double the rains of 2009.

The soggy September combined with a difficult vintage made them decide to not release a 2008 vintage for La Chapelle Hermitage.


They felt that they could not come up with something up to their high standards.

As a consolation prize, they are still releasing a 2008 La Petite Chapelle, its sibling.

Jancis Robinson gives La Petite Chapelle a 17/20.

Congratulations for not compromising.

Do Good and Put Your Product in the Spotlight, Donate Prizes for Menu for Hope 6 in December

As December is around the corner, food and wine bloggers the world over are getting ready to work together in Menu for Hope to raise funds and awareness for the United Nation World Food Programme.

Each blogger including yours truly offers prizes donated by a number of sources, people bid on them in December before Christmas and winners are announced in January.


The whole process takes place online so most of the proceeds (except for a couple of percents for credit card processing) goes to the good cause.

How can you help if your passion is to craft heavenly products in the food and wine area, give cooking classes, have a bed and breakfast or offer food and/or wine related travel options?

Very simple, donate a prize such as what I described above as long as it can be shipped to its destination in one piece (retail prize $30 and up).

We will write a piece about your donation which we are sure will be repeated by other participants.

In this season of giving, you do a good deed and gain some exposure.

Not convinced yet read Menu For Hope is Coming. Will You Donate a Wine Prize and Become Famous? by Alder of Vinography.

Ready to donate, contact us at info [at} njconcierges [dot] com with details on your prize (plus a couple of pictures) and we will let you know right away if we have a spot for it.

When the time comes, we will share the prize winner with you so you can ship it to them.

Menu for Hope is the brainchild of Pim of Chez Pim and we are happy to be part of it.

Thank you in advance for your help in making Menu for Hope 6 a success.

Feeling Blue, Check these Lavender Cupcakes from Brussels

You might not get the recipe down pat as Crumbles et Cassonade is a French only blog but I am sure you will fall under the spell of her Cupcakes a la Lavande 'Lavender Cupcakes' (November 16), a little bit of Provence in Brussels.


I found my way to Crumbles et Cassonade thanks to Apolina of Bombay-Bruxelles (Indian food for the French speakers) who was one of those showing their cooking chops at the Salon des Blogs Culinaires, earlier this month.

I noted that the author of Crumbles had a picnic in the same park I mentioned in Beer, Food in the Park with Taste Brussels (September 21). I realized because of the tomatoes.

I found other Lavender Flavored Cupcakes on Cream Puffs in Venice and Albion Cooks, for the sake of diversity.

Have a mouthful!

Chronic City Brunch with Jonathan Lethem at Word in Greenpoint, NY, Sunday, November 29

Jonathan Lethem has been reading parts of his latest book on the Chronic City Tour and decided to add one stop to it.

He will visit the Word Bookstore in Greenpoint, New York on Sunday, November 29.


Here's the program in Word's words:

"Join us on the Sunday after Thanksgiving for a relaxed brunch event. On Nov. 29 from 12:30-2:30 we'll gather for a casual post-holiday reading in our event space -- Jonathan will read about 40-60 pages from his latest novel, but not continuously - he'll take breaks along the way to sign books and chat with listeners about the book. Bagels, donuts, fruit, pie + a great story"

Read Leftovers with Lethem - The Chronic City Tour Comes to Greenpoint! for Event Details and Reservation Info...

Feed your mind on this post Thanksgiving Sunday

Taking the Pain out of the Wine at Borough Wines, Borough Market, London

I never stepped into their shop yet upon checking Borough Wines (the site) I imagine it to be the modern version of a Cave a Vins not that they pour wine by the glass besides selling bottles as far as I know.

They have that spirit of wine without the fuss.

They take the pain out of wine buying as their poster above shows.

Mostly French choices, Italy, Austria and New Zealand round up the selection.

The shop is located in Borough Market, London.

The market is opened
Thursdays: 11am - 5pm
Fridays: 12pm - 6pm
Saturdays: 8am - 5pm

With extended hours for the Holidays

Did you Have a Buy Nothing Day, Attending the Freecomomy Feastival?

I cannot lie and pretend I had a buy nothing day, I stayed local, got a few things from the grocery store and a little vino.

That was it.

I've never been caught up in the Black Friday craze.

The item with the biggest discounts today might have been Dubai' s debt anyway.

The militant and the humorous celebrate Buy Nothing Day 2009 on November 27 in North America and November 28 in the rest of the world.


There is even a Freeconomy Feastival taking place on the 28 at Hamilton House in Bristol (UK).

I beg to differ on that one though.

I like Douglas Rushkoff idea of "going past 'Free' (there will not always be Venture Capitalists to pay for it) and learning to exchange value again".

There are examples in the food area like CSA (community supported agriculture) or a step close to that for wine with Naked Wines in Europe.

Don't confuse them with Naked Winery and Orgasmic Wine Company from Washington State.

Everything gets sold including 'Buy Nothing Day'.

Fetes des Vignes in Montpellier or Gastronomades in Angouleme, Week End in France

You might not have had a Thanksgiving break but if you are a foodie or a wine fan, live in France or happen to be there between November 27 and 29, you might be torn between 2 events.

First one is the 6th Fete des Vignes taking place in Montpellier which came to my attention thanks to Terre de Vins, a French site and magazine dedicated to wine in the hexagon and beyond.


The format for Fete des Vignes is simple.

On Saturday, November 28 (since Friday's over), pay 2 € (Euros) and you get a glass of wine and a voucher allowing you 3 tastings with 3 different producers plus a chance to win a prize in the raffle and also a free wine bottle for 6 bottles purchased at one of the event's participants.

I noted on Eazy Food (in French only) that last year 100,000 people showed up and that the producers set shop in 44 stands on Place de la Comédie in the center of Montpellier, a farmers market feel I guess.

Want to widen your knowledge on Saturday from 10:30 AM to 11:30 AM you can attend 'Rosé, Everything you wanted to know but were afraid to ask'.
Is Woody Allen the MC?

Sunday events are local in nature, visit the producers at home.

Maybe you don't care that much about being near the Mediterranean.

In that case the Gastronomades (French only site) in Angouleme (Poitou-Charentes) might be appetizing enough.


This is the 15th edition and Gastronomades is also a 3 day event, from November 27 to 29.

If your French is basic, you'll understand that some activities take place on all 3 days ('pendant les 3 jours') while each day as its own specific happenings.

It has a FREE admission policy and no less than 200 exhibitors of all stripes will be present.

An interesting take on food is the exhibit on BD (Comic Strips) and Food.

It runs throughout the festival.

If I was there, I would take the pulse of the Local Talents on Saturday.

I would be curious to find out what Xavier Taffard of L’Aquarelle restaurant in Breuillet (near Royan) will come up with in a culinary creation using Pineau des Charentes which was one of the prizes we offered in Be a Hipster for Menu for Hope 5 a year ago.

Sunday's program reaches out to les Belges with the table.

First with Chef Gaetan Colin of Le Jaloa restaurant located near the fish market.

Visiting his site I noticed that Young Ethiopians Restaurateurs menu was one of the options, interesting.

Second Belge on Sunday is Laurent Gerbaud, a chocolatier describes as non-conformist and open to experimentation and the world flavors.

As you can see, the Gastronomades offers a very diverse calendar.

If you are attending either the Fete des Vins or Gastronomades, I would be happy to hear your impressions and/ or see a few snapshots live and from the scene.

Thank you, Merci!