Monday, March 29, 2010

Route to Burgandy Part 3

Leaving Vergisson was sad, but the next stop was bringing us to Beaune the center for pinot noir in burgandy. Making the first stop in the village of Volnay, we were shocked to see how small it was. In fact it turns out that every village in the Cote de Beaune is small- really small! Like half a football field small. Having property there is really just owning a small garden with some vines planted it on- now I understood why these bottles can end up costing so much. The land looks more like a long bump which extends for miles, but its surprising to see only one hill. The fields that make it onto the hill have specific names, and the bottles (and the wine) are therefor named after the field. The wine produced from the grapes grown at the bottom of the field are named after the city- like volnay, and the flat area in front is called village. The higher up on the hill the better the wine and the more pricey.
We stopped for a drink in a restaurant- the only restaurant in a 5 mile range. We were given their list of wines- all Burgandys of course! and were told that each tasting glass was 2 euros each. Tasting a few wines from different field but all from the same village, it really is something that you can see and taste the difference between one another, even if the fields are right next to each other. Its the perfect example- Burgandy that is, of the reason that terrior is so important in creating wine. We bought a bottle of Clos des Chenes, by Domaine Henri Delagrange et Fils to take home with us- ruby/purple red, intense aromas of fruits and flowers, warm, full bodied and to be honest just plain excellent.
Once again trying to find a place to sleep for the night was looking to be a bit difficult- and finally decided on a room in a hotel in the center of Beaune. Not the best of places for sure- I swear this cave like hotel was haunted and it smelled and was not that clean, but at least it keep us out late after dinner and up early the next morning. We headed to the Village Vosne-Romanee, one of the most prized area in Burgandy, mainly because it is the only village that can be labeled as a grand cru. We met 2 different wine producers- the only that were around to let us taste their wine- but they explained the situation of the last- how it was divided up, and how they make their wines. They also explained that for the most part, everyone that produces wine there has their wine sold off before it is even bottled. The land is so small, the quantity of wine produced even smaller, so exporters and distributors buy the wine before is even comes out. That doesnt leave us with much left, but we do buy a few bottles from Yves Chevallier, which is an excellent example of pinot noir- fresh, clean, intense fruits- still young, but with great potential. When we will open the bottles we bought in a few years I have no doubt that the liquid inside will have grown into something amazing. The other wines we bought were from a man who definitely had the moldiest cavern we have ever seen, Serge Gravel Domaine Audifred. Not quite as good or promising as Chevallier but still with that warm fruitiness carried by all pinot noirs. For lunch we headed back to the restaurant in Volnay and enjoyed the best meal we had on our trip accompanies by a wonderful bottle of Volnay Les Aussy, premier cru, by Domaine Bitouzet-Prieur. My friend and I split steak fondue, Paolo had steak tartar and our other friend a chicken cutlet covered in a brown cream sauce. All of these plates were accompanied by the best most extraordinary potatoes ever made ever. Im sure they were cooked in tons of butter and were definitely the reason I gained 5 pounds on this trip, but they were worth it! Stuffed to the limit, we got into our packed car and headed for Italy.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Osteria a Marcon (Ve)

Often we bring people to this delicious restaurant in the center of Marcon, the food is always good, and so is the wine and the service. Osteria uses fresh fruits and vegetables and offer an array of appetizers like baccala, raw scampi and my choice the eggplant tower. Grilled slices of eggplant and tomato with melted mozzarella and fresh basil drizzle. Most pastas, if not all all are homemade, giving them a softness that absorbs the sauce poured on top. My cousin tried the tagliolini with crab and zucchini, which was an interesting and delicate and filling. Paolo and I had the roast veal, accompanied by roasted potatoes and artichokes. We opted for Due Santi by Zonta as wine, which is red from the area around Bassano di Grappa. Granite colored with ruby highlights; the fruitiness was represented both on the noise and on the tongue, a bit too much alcohol, but over time the bottle opened nicely. The dishes were a bit delicate for the wine, so I wouldnt recommened this as a good pairing, but overall everything was great.
Vote 89/100
Una cena - una osteria, forse questo binomio veste bene con l'Osteria di Marcon gestita con professionalità dalla signora Giovanna. Locale noto a Marcon e dintorni per i suoi piatti di qualità e la sua carta dei vini di tutto rispetto con una sezione dedicata anche alle bottiglie magnum. In tre ci siamo divisi come antipasto un tortino di melanzane e mozzarella ben presentato. Poi Andrèa è passata a dei tagliolini alla granseola, interessanti, io e Dana siamo passati all'arrosto di vitello, morbidissimo con patate al forno a cui ho accompagnato della verdura cotta. Zonta due santi è il vino interprete della serata. Granato con sfumature di rubino intenso. Consistente, le lacrime scendevano con giusta lentezza sul bicchiere di corpo con una grande componente alcolica. Il frutto è buono sia al naso che in bocca persistente e avvolgente, i profumi sono chiusi e sebbene la bottiglia sia aperta da almeno mezz'ora l'intensità dell'alcol si fa ancora troppo sentire. Mi lascia più di qualche dubbio. L'arrosto squisito forse un po' crudino se mi permette lo chef, era troppo delicato per il vino che lo sovrastava forse era meglio optare per un vino come il valpolicella. Locale molto particolare.
Ottima l'atmosfera , molto cordiale il personale, da annotare al vostro personalissimo taccuino.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Route to Burgandy part 2

With a short stop over in Beaujolais- it was a ghost town in February- we arrived in the area of the Maconaise. Following the signs for Pouilly-fuisse, we curved down into a picture perfect valley covered in vines all centered around a little old town made of stone. We were surprised to find almost no one around and became a little worried when we couldnt find a place to stay for the night. We drove on to the next town, finding a modern gite owned Belgium couple. Vergisson is one of the 4 towns under then name Macon, which produce a wonderfully refreshing version of the Chardonnay. I have to say I was completely surprised- we all were, by the not heavy, buttery taste typical to this grape. The awfully cute Belgium couple told us to visit a vinyard just around the house from theirs called Domaine Saumaize, by Jacques and Nathalie- it was on of the best. He called them up for us and we headed out. They offer a variety of Macon's starting with the standard, obviously named Macon; three types of Saint-Veran: Poncetys, Le Vieilles Vignes (which were my favorite) and En Crèches; and four types of Pouilly-Fuisse: Les Courtelongs, Les Vieilles Vignes, La Roche, and the base Pouilly-fuisse. With my broken french, we discussed the terrior, the history and the wine. We left with a case of wine and in shock of the quality of wine that we found at this place. Almost a clear and brilliant yellow, with vegetable and citrus hints (more typical of a sauvignon blanc) but extremely elegant, well rounded and warm- the chardonnay shining through. Before we headed for dinner, we stopped at another vineyard- that of Domaine Delorme et Fils. Smaller with interesting and more chardonnay-like wines (although I have admit that Saumaize was clearly a more refined and delicate taste) Delmore offers a Saint-Veran and three choices of the Pouilly-Fuisse. The German woman, who owns this land, explained to us how sales have dropped over the years, due mainly to the economy, but also because the interest in Macon is dropping compared to their big brother the pinot noir or big sister the white burgandy. This is really unfortunate because the wines are like non other. The ground from this area really shows through in the wine and is constantly changing. Each year is totally different and representative of the temperature and rainfall produced during the year. Not all wines can do this and in the end its this that makes Pouilly-fuissè and Saint-Veran so special.

Con un piccolo 'pit stop' in Beaujolais-una cittadina fantasma a febbraio-siamo arrivati nel Macconaise. Segundo le tracce per Pouilly-fuissé, abbiamo curvato all'interno di una foto perfetta, una valle coperta di vigne tutto centrata attorno la città fatta di pietra, Poully-fuissé. Siamo stati sorpresi non c'era nessuno in giro ed eravamo preoccupati perchè non trovavamo nessun posto dove passar la notte. Passando al villaggio successivo mentre le luci del giorno si spegnevano pian piano alle nostre spalle siamo arrivati ad un 'gite', un B&B, di una coppia belga. Vergisson è il nome del paese ed è uno dei 4 villaggi che costituiscono Macon che produce una versione molto interessante del Chardonnay. Spesso il gusto dello Chardonnay se vinificato in purezza si presenta spesso pesante e burroso mentre questo era totalmente differente. I belgi ci hanno suggerito di visitare la cantina Domaine Saumaize di Jacques e Nathalie, uno dei migliori. Ci hanno offerto una varietà di vini interessantissima, 3 Saint-Veran: Poncetys, Le Vieilles Vignes e En Créches e 4 tipi di Pouilly Fuissé: Les Courtelongs, Les Vieilles Vignes, La Roche e il base Pouilley Fuissé. Dana con il suo francese è riuscita a farci discutere di 'terroir', di storia e di vino. Ce ne siamo andati con un box di vino e ancora 'shokkati' dalla qualità dei vini assaggiati. Colore giallo brillante con profumi vegetali, sfumature citriche simili al sauvignon blanc, ma estremamente eleganti, molto rotonde e calde al palato e qui lo chardonnay si riconosce. Prima di andare a cena ci siamo fermati in un altra cantina il Domaine Delorme et Fils. Piccola ma interessante con Chardonnay meno caratterizzati dal terroir e con prezzi leggermente inferiori per i vini base. Il terroir di questa zona si fa sentire nei vini come pochi assaggiati da me personalmente e la prova chardonnay tipicamente adottato da tutti ovunque nel mondo quindi ben presente nelle menti degli assagiatori e amanti del buon bere è una prova molto dura da realizzare da qualsiasi vignaiolo intendo differenziarsi uno dall'altro e qui signori il sole sprigiona la luce tra i grappoli.
Escargot e piccoli volatili son 'preda' di questo abbinamento.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Route to Burgandy part I

Deciding on a road trip to Burgandy was obvious. We have been wanting to go to one of France's many wine regions for a while now, and with our friends from New York we thought Burgandy would be the easiest and closest. After an eight hour drive, (and a flight for our friends) we arrived in Lyon for our first nights rest. Tired from the trip, but excited to find out what great tastes the Lyonese had to offer, we headed straight out to dinner to a cute little place we found in the center of the city called 'Un Moment A Part.'[there is no website but click on this for pics] We ordered our first bottle of wine- a red from the Rhone Valley by Domaine de la Gayere. A deep red color between purple and ruby, with violet, leather and intense alcohol smells, mainly due to the high percentage of alcohol at 14.5%. On the palette it was quite pleasant. Dry, tannic, warm of course, floral and velvety. perfectly paired with our meal. Andouillette was recommended as a typical dish from Lyon and although none of us are really crazy for tripe, one friend did try it and let me say, it took a few days for him to get over the acidity and cream. The rest of us choose duck, which was cooked perfectly and served with a drizzle wine reduction and potatoes. What makes this restaurant so memorable was its deserts. An assortment of fruit tarts and chocolate cakes, I think I remember dreaming about them for days to come. The restaurant offered us all a shot of Manzana, which we discovered to be an apple based liquor from spain, which was out of this world.
The morning was rainy as we set out to tour the city. Beautiful building, cute cafes, pastry and bread shops- with some of the most amazing bread I think Ive ever had ever. People talk about the french having good bread, but I never expected it to be this good. Walking through the old town, we stopped to rest and have a drink at a wine bar called 'La Cave des Voyageurs.' Quant and beautifully restored, the owner, who was so polite and helpful in our wine choices, even gave us names of wineries to visit on our future route into Burgandy. Three bottles of wine later and a few plates of cheese and salami, we stumbled back to the hotel to prepare ourselves for the road ahead the following day.

Decidere di andare in Borgogna era ovvio, da tanto tempo volevamo scoprire alcune regioni vinicole francesi e con alcuni amici da New York abbiamo pensato che la Borgogna era la più facile e la più vicina. Dopo 8 ore di guida (e un volo per i nostri amici) siamo arrivati a Lion, prima tappa della nostra route.
Stanchi dal viaggio ma molto eccitati di provare nuovi sapori che Lion ci poteva offrirci ci siamo immersi alla ricerca di un posto per la cena e abbiamo trovato un piccolo locale chiamato 'Un moment a part'. La nostra prima bottiglia di vino era un rosso dalla Valle del Reno del Domaine de la Gayere. Rosso profondo tra il rubino e la porpora con profumi di violetta, cuoio e alcol, infatti il titolo alcolometrico arrivava a 14,5%. In bocca è piacevole, Secco, tannico, caldo naturalmente, floreale e vellutato. Si abbianava bene al nostro cibo. 'Andouillette'ci è stato raccomandato come piatto tipico di Lyon e sebbene nessuno di noi fosse pazzo per la trippa, uno di noi l'ha provato e per parecchi giorni s'è portato con se una grande acidità nello stomaco. Il resto della truppa ha scelto anatra cucinata alla perfezione servita con una riduzione di vino rosso con patate al forno.
Quello però che ci è piaciuto di più erano i dessert: un ottimo assortimento di torte alla frutta e al cioccolato. Dana se li è sognati per alcuni giorni. Abbiamo bevuto dei 'shot' di Manzana un liquore a base di mela.
La mattina era piovosa. Bellissimi palazzi, caffè, pasticcerie e panifici, con del pane dal gusto veramente buono. Passeggiando sulla parte vecchia della città ci siamo fermati in un bar 'La cave des Voyageurs'. Sotto il livello del suolo ben restaurato questo bar è stato secondo me il fiore all'occhiello di Lyon. Il proprietario così gentile ci ha aiutato nelle scelte del vino e ci ha dato nomi di cantine che hanno arricchito il nostro viaggio in Borgogna. Dopo 3 bottiglie di vino e piatti di formaggio e salame eravamo completamente 'stonati'. Qui finisce il primo vero giorno del nostro viaggio.


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