Sunday, 31 January 2010
Friday, 29 January 2010
This could be good news for Angers - watch this space...
Tuesday, 26 January 2010
We were warmly welcomed by the owner, a smiling and slightly dizzy lady who gave us the remaining table for two by the door with assurances we wouldn't be disturbed. A few nibbles arrived as we had an aperitif (cubes of Comté, slices of salami) and we relaxed for a while perusing the menu which is written up on a blackboard and brought to your table.
The rillettes du Mans was good, served at the right temperature (not cold straight from the fridge) and with good bread. I had an excellent terrine - extremely coarse and clearly home made.
To follow we had crepinettes (a sort of pork pattie, wrapped with caul and pan fried) and kidneys served with a mustard sauce. These were accompanied by purée (the owner was very keen to point out that this was maison fait which amused us - is there any other decent purée). I could have done with a few haricots as well but there is a choice between rice, mash, haricots or pasta.
Amusingly, the owner came over to us and asked if we would like to order a dessert while we were still waiting for our entrée to come out. As she realised her mistake another group came in hoping for a table and as she recounted what she had done there was much laughter.
For dessert we had home made rice pudding which was excellent - served just warm and with a whiff of vanilla, and apple tart.
I'm ashamed to say that I can't remember the producer of the Chinon that we drank. This is probably a good thing because it was nothing to write home about. Sound but a bit austere and lacking in fruit. That aside, we had a really great evening.
Summing up I would say that the portions could have been a little larger and it would have been good to have a vegetable with the main. Dishes are simple and the kind of thing that you would make at home. Having said that, the owner (who used to work in finance), says this is what she is aiming for - simple food as your mother would have made it.
We had a very nice evening - simple food, moderate wine, great hostess, good music and lots of fun. It's not a top of the range restaurant (not cheap either) but it has a nice warm atmosphere.
Le Petit Julien
17 ru Valdemaine
02 41 87 12 53
Wednesday, 20 January 2010
A bio-dynamic producer, natural yeasts are left to their own devices and the wines finish their fermentations in barrique when they are ready. Nothing is added and nothing is taken away. Le Clos was aged for 12 months in barrique and estate bottled.
This dry wine has all the complex minerality evident in his sweet wines but without any of the residual sugar. Hints of ginger, lemon and spice with notes of pear and quince give backbone to the wine. A full rich palate then gives way to a long finish with refreshing acidity and a slight orange rind bitterness. We drank it with slow roasted pork shoulder chops served with red cabbage and apple and it was a great match.
We're looking forward to tasting wines from the 2009 vintage at the annual trade wine tasting in Angers next month. Conditions were excellent this year and Juchepie made 8 passes through the vineyard in total, each time picking only the ripest and most suitable grapes for the wines being made.
If you're looking for top quality sweet wines with a difference, Domaine de Juchepie is one to watch. And they sell the best Belgian chocolates we've tasted in a long while.
Tuesday, 19 January 2010
Le seule déception est sans doute les quantités récoltées faibles (surtout pour les cépages rouges), mais la richesse et l'harmonie des vins nous contentent pleinement. '
Roughly translated this reads as: 'the year 2009 should be a great vintage. The summer was extremely dry but the vine, which is an amazing plant, knew how to manage these particular conditions. I am absolutely convinced that the plant has to be happy where it is, where it believes, that's why we feel the relationship between terroir and grape variety to be absolutely crucial.
The only downside is without doubt, the tiny quantities harvested (particularly for the red grape varieties), but we are completely satisfied with the richness and harmony of the wines .'
So, good news from Domaine de Bablut and also for many other growers - 2009 is looking like a great vintage.
Monday, 18 January 2010
Looking through the menu, there was a dish that meant nothing to me. La buche de sot l'y laisse, chou vert et marrons au curcuma. Sot is French for 'stupid' or silly,' laisse from the verb laisser, to leave. The dreaded 'y' in the phrase meaning 'there, here' and the 'l' referring to 'it' whatever 'it' is. Luckily, our French friends were able to explain. The sot l'y laisse is an expression that refers to the 'oysters' on a chicken (or other bird for that matter). Those two little nuggets of sweet sweet flesh that are tucked away underneath the bird hanging on for dear life to the carcass. Many people aren't even aware of their existence. We always argue over them in our house and I often pick them off the carcass after dinner is done, quietly in the kitchen when noone is looking.
I just had to order this - for the name alone. What came was a large cabbage leaf in which were tucked, 4 large juicy 'oysters' or sot l'y laisse, with a rough purée of chestnuts flavoured with turmeric.
So, 'sot l'y laisse' roughly translated means, the fool leaves it, only a fool would leave it, it would be foolish to leave it. I totally agree - what about you though - do you eat the sot l'y laisse?
Wednesday, 13 January 2010
Unlike many producers in Alsace, he markets a number of wines using the vineyard alone as identity not the grape variety as we often see from this winemaking region. He calls these Vins de Terroirs and they are 'field blends' of varietals that are dominated by their soil and position.
Engelgarten is one of these wines - we enjoyed a bottle the other night with an Aisian inspired dish of duck cooked in orange juice with star anise, lemon grass, chilli, fish sauce and spring onions.
The Engelgarten vineyard is just a stone's throw away from the Bergheim medieval fortress. Its gravelly soil and particularly dry September provide super ripe Riesling grapes whose style dominates the final wine although Pinot Gris, Beurot, Muscat and Pinot Noir are also in the blend being planted alongside in the vineyard.
A delicious dry wine with a tight minerality and with notes of white flower, bitter orange rind and pear. It has a slight hint of petrol on the nose and great length.
As a food and wine match - if I were honest - a wine with a little residual sugar on the palate would have worked better. The orange notes in the wine worked well with the flavours of the dish but the heat from the chilli would have been softened by a slightly less mineral note.
Monday, 11 January 2010
In Savennières it’s long lived and has notes of grapefruit and even a hint of whisky on the nose. In Vouvray it’s delicate and refreshing with hints of pear and zesty fresh acidity. The wines of Jasnières even take on a Rieslinglike aroma given time and don’t forget the sparkling wines made from this most underrated of grapes.
So, come and see for yourself - join us for a one day Loire wine tour in 2010 and let us share our passion for Chenin Blanc with you.
Thursday, 7 January 2010
Il m'est arrivé une histoire dont il faut que je vous donne, si je puis dire, la primeur.
C'était il y a quelque temps, au bal de la Nuits Saint- Georges que j'ai rencontré la petite Juliénas, une fille drôlement Gigondas, un sacré beau Meursault, bien charpentée, et sous sa robe vermillon un grand cru classé, avec des arômes de cassis et de fraises des bois.
On a dansé Anjou contre Anjou sur un Sylvaner à la mode et plus tard lorsque je lui ai proposé de l'emmener dans mon Châteauneuf-du-Pape, elle est devenue toute Croze-Hermitage !!! Le temps d'aller chercher un Chablis au vestiaire, de mettre un petit Corton dans ses cheveux, on est monté dans ma Banyuls et on a roulé jusqu'au matin.
Ah quelle belle journée ! On s'est baladé Entre-deux-mers, il faisait beau, on a Vacqueyras sur la plage, les pieds dans l'eau Clairette, on s'est Pouilly-Fuissé dans les dunes et puis comme le Mercurey montait sérieusement et qu'on commençait à avoir les Côtes-Rôties on a décidé de rentrer.
Mais voilà, en partant nous nous sommes retrouvé coincés dans les embouteillages, enfin les bouchons, quoi ! Je commençais à Minervois sérieusement et là, Julienas et moi, nous avons commencé à nous crêper le Chinon . D'un seul coup elle a claqué la Corbière de la Banyuls et elle est partie ! Je me suis retrouvé comme Macon. Quoi, me suis-je dit, elle s'est déjà Sauvignon avant même que j'ai le temps de la Sauternes ! Mais je vous Jurançon, je l'avais dans la Pouillac, en effet, j'étais tellement Tokay que j'ai couru après elle dans Lalande et les Chardonnay pour la rattraper.
Quand on s'est retrouvé, et que je l'ai vue devant moi en Gros-plant, je lui ai dit " Ne fais pas ta Pomerol, et ne t'en va plus Gamay ! " En pleurant, elle est tombée dans mes bras en Madiran: "Ne m'en veux pas, je voulais juste être sûre que ton Saint-Amour était vraiment Sancerre".
Thanks to Thierry & Yolaine Auger at Chateau de Verrières in Saumur who originally sent this to le tasting room.