|Bonjour Mes Amis,
I’ve been attending a lot of weddings as of late & this week we got to prepare a selection of cheeses for a couple’s upcoming nuptials. Because why shouldn’t great cheese be a part of your big day?! (This particular cheese cake idea came from Hitched
Félicitation pour votre mariage!
PS-In my haste to get my last newsletter out, I made a typo. I have been married to my amazing husband for 10 years, not 1 year. Sorry mon cher!
À bientôt, j’espère,
The Best Moules Marinieres adapted from Serious Eats
A 15 minute dish that’s perfect for summer–imagine yourself on the coast of Normandy…
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 small leek, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced
- 1 small shallot, thinly sliced
- 4 medium cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 2 bay leaves
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup hard dry cider or white wine
- 2 pounds mussels
- 2 to 3 tablespoons Papillon Creme or creme fraiche or aioli
- 1 tablespoon juice and 1 teaspoon grated zest from 1 lemon
- 3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves
- Additional Papillon Creme for serving
- 1 loaf rustic sourdough bread, thickly sliced, drizzled with olive oil, and broiled until heavily toasted
Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add leeks, shallot, garlic, and bay leave. Season lightly with salt and heavily with black pepper and cook, stirring, until vegetables are very soft but not browned, about 10 minutes.
Increase heat to high and add cider or wine. Bring to a boil and let reduce by half, about 2 minutes. Add mussels, stir, cover, and cook, shaking pan constantly and peeking every 30 seconds to stir. As soon as all the mussels are open, transfer mussels to a bowl using tongs. Place pan lid over bowl to keep mussels warm.
Remove from heat and whisk in remaining butter along with aioli or crème fraîche. Return mussels to pot, add parsley, lemon juice, and lemon zest, stir to combine, then transfer to a warm serving bowl. Serve immediately with additional mayonnaise (and broiled bread.)
Papillon Creme $5.99 150 g
This is the secret ingredient to perfect Moules Marinieres. Substitute Papillon Creme for mayonnaise/creme fraiche.
“To quote one of our tasters, Papillon Creme is “the delicious love-child of Roquefort and velvet.” -Culture Magazine
A customer was just remarking on how terrific our Beaujolais selection is. South of Burgundy & north of Bordeaux, I love this quote from Wine Folly: “Beaujolais is kind of like the smallest house in the fanciest neighborhood.”
This week I will break down some of the 10 crus. Now go drink some with your wine map out!
“Before you start, chill the wines, whether light or brawny. You want them not ice cold, but a nice 55˚F to 60˚F, the temperature of a cool cellar. If they smell a little stinky at first, give them time in your glass, or dump the bottle into a pitcher to give it a little air. For reasons that remain mysterious to me, many low-intervention wines like Beaujolais (especially biodynamically produced ones) tend to take a while to show their full selves and last unusually well; a few of the bottles… in fact, tasted better after three days than they did when first opened.” -Culture Magazine
Cotes de Brouilly
Soil is composed of granite, volcanic diorite and schist. Brouilly is the largest wine area in Beaujolais, split into 2 different crus. Cotes de Brouilly is located on the slopes of Mont Brouilly & is more concentrated from sun exposure than Brouilly which is lower elevation. These are brawny wines with tons of aging potential.
cheese pairing: Chevres des Cremiers
Nicole Chanrion Domaine de la Voute des Crozes 2013, Cote de Brouilly $25
This is cru Beaujolais at its best. Made by the ground-making Nicole Chanrion, President of the Cote de Brouilly appellation, respectfully considered by her peers to be “La Patronne” or “the Boss” of la Côte.
“Youthfully lurid ruby. Sexy, high-pitched aromas of red and dark berries and floral oils. Spicy, penetrating and emphatically fruity, offering intense, mineral-laced raspberry and cherry flavors along with notes of rose pastille and allspice. Closes silky and very long, with building floral and mineral notes and supple tannins that fold smoothly into the wine’s juicy fruit.Drink: 2016-2024.” -92 points, Josh Raynolds
Chateau Thivin 2012, Cotes de Brouilly $28
Cru Beaujolais described best by importer Kermit Lynch:
“…a country squire who is not afraid to get his boots muddy. Handsome, virile, earthy, and an aristocrat.”
Thivin is the benchmark domaine of the Cote de Brouilly, built on an ancient volcano. The steep south-facing vineyards of decomposed pink granite are planted entirely with Gamay. Smoky minerals, dusky blueberries with a hint of orange peel and pepper at a modest 13% alcohol.
Called the “king of Beaujolais’ due to characteristic power, structure & longevity. When allowed to fully mature, MaV’s resemble Burgundy or Rhone. Soil consists of a crumbly pink granite called gore.
cheese pairing: Brie
Yohan Lardy ‘Les Michelons’ 2013, Cru Moulin-a-Vent $18
Son of Lucien Lardy, Yohan studied making Pinot in Oregon before returning to his native village in Fleurie. While he himself is young, he works with vines as old as 111 years in a terraced plot surrounded by poppy fields. Concentrated, rich & spicy.
On the west side of the Saone River, a short drive NW of Lyon. This is the 2nd largest cru & wines tend to have an earthy depth and firmness resulting from the weathered schist soil. Firm & minerally, these wines age consistently well.
cheese pairing: Epoisses
Guy Breton Vielles Vignes 2010, Morgon $28
Breton produces the least tannic wines of the Gang of Four
Good unfiltered color. And the aroma? How about some pepper and spice? Aromas of pepper and spice are unusual in the Beaujolais, but Breton says the locals always spot his wines in blind tasting because his terroir typically gives such a perfume. The palate starts out lean and fine, and then you start to feel it penetrate and the flavors sink in.
– Kermit Lynch
Marcel Lapierre 2013, Morgon $30 Although Lapierre died of melanoma at the young age of 60, he left an indelible mark on the region by going organic, shunning yeast & sulfur dioxide.
92 points Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar Bright violet color. Intense, mineral-tinged red and dark berry aromas show excellent clarity and hints of licorice and potpourri. Juicy and expansive on the palate, offering vibrant black raspberry and bitter cherry flavors that turn sweeter with air. Clean and minerally on the finish, which lingers with excellent tenacity and silky, slow-building tannins.
Of all the 10 cru villages in Beaujolais, tiny Chiroubles has some of the highest vineyards & lowest temperatures. Gentle, lively & floral. Some say Chroubles is ‘the most Beaujolais of all crus.’
cheese pairing: Comte
Fabien Collonge L’Aurore des Cotes 2013, Chiroubles $15
Beaujolais has gotten a bad rap because of Beaujolais Nouveau & Fabien Collonge is a new generation winemaker who wants to change that.
“Black fruits and rich tannins bring out the fruitiness. A strongly mineral character gives structure, while still allowing room for the red cherry and raspberry fruit flavors.” -90 points, Wine Enthusiast Editor’s Choice
Domaine Cheysson 2012, Chiroubles $22
Robert Parker lists Domaine Cheysson in his book, “The World’s Best Wine Values under $25.”David Schilsknecht of Wine Advocate calls winemaker Jean-Pierre a major talent. Velvety red fruits abound.
In the north of Beaujolais, where the soil is almost exclusively comprised of gore. Refined & silky, the most feminine of the Crus.
cheese pairing: Morbier
Clos de la Roilette 2013, Appellation Fleurie $25
From the village of Fleurie which contains some of the best slopes in the Beaujolais Crus. The winemaker in the 1920’s was infuriated by losing status within the Moulin a Vent appellation, and created a label using his race horse Roilette. The land eventually went wild until Fernand Coutert & family bought & restored this estate. The terroir and advanced age of vines account for this wine’s premier status. Pure pomegranate juice and extreme minerality known to be Burgundy quality, at the price of a Fleurie.