Paris Grocery News 9/3 Saturday, Sep 4 2010 

A most delicious bivalve

September. Please note the last letter. Yes, it’s an r. Get your shuckers ready because it’s oyster season! A group promoting the wines of the Loire Valley has ingeniously paired up with local restaurants and oyster farms to bring us Muscadet Seattle. This event spotlights the fantastic natural affinity between the crisp, mineral-driven Muscadet wines and the sublime sea flavor of oysters. Both are also incredible adventures in texture. Eric Asimov of the New York Times recently revisited Muscadet, and he suggests that it’s actually a quite versatile wine that could also pair well with other seafood dishes, poultry and pasta. We say: when it comes to Muscadet and food, we’re fine with trying out every combination possible (in the name of culinary exploration, of course).

Wine @ PG

2008 Clos des Briords Muscadet Sevre et Maine Sur Lie VV $16.99

While there may not be a more natural pairing than Muscadet and oysters, straying from the beaten paths will bring delightful surprises. The high acidity and low alcohol brighten flavors and refresh the palate, enhancing and marrying the flavors of seafood, herbs, and seasonings. This one comes from an old vine planting, and the wine is aged on the lees for 18-24 months. With the exquisite minerality that is typical of Muscadet, the wine exudes fresh notes of limestone and sea breeze. The slight salinity is off-set by a touch of creaminess on the palate. It is one of my favorite whites in the shop.

“Bright straw. A piercing, energetic array of citrus and floral scents, complicated by strong minerality and a note of white pepper. Bitter lime pith and quinine flavors gain flesh and weight with air, taking a turn to sweeter tangerine and quince. Strikingly balanced and precise, with a long, spicy, mineral-dominated finish. This should be even better with a couple years of bottle age.” 92 points Stephen Tanzer

2009 Bonnet-Huteau “Les Dabinières” Muscadet de Sèvre et Maine Sur Lie $14.99

Run by Rémi Bonnet (president of the region’s Maîtres Vignerons cooperative cellar) and his brother Jean-Jacques, the estate is based around the ruins of a château dating to the Middle Ages and has 48 hectares under vines, with some 42 ha planted with Muscadet. This particular cuvée has loads of finesse and a bright texture on the palate.

“Demurely scented with under-ripe honeydew melon, white peach, fresh lemon, clover, and a hint of chalk dust. Soft in feel and expansive on the palate for its genre, yet tingling in its bright citricity, it offers generous refreshment. The strong personality of this cuvee comes in its terrifically long, animating finish, with saliva-inducing salinity and citric juiciness.” 91 points Robert Parker

2008 Chateau de la Chesnaie Muscadet de Sèvre et Maine Sur Lie $12.99

Bernard Chéreau owns three separate estates within the house of Chéreau Carré, which occupies one of the most privileged positions in Nantes. Chateau de la Chesnaie represents a 25-year old parcel in the heart of Sèvre-et-Maine. Chéreau uses only indigenous yeasts and ages his wines on the lees for four months, putting him at the forefront of pushing the boundaries of Muscadet production. We found the 2008 vintage to have a wonderful freshness, with notes of seashell and lime. Mineral-laden and with a dry finish, this wine would be excellent with any delicate preparation of shellfish or oysters.

Craves @ PG

Casali Choco-Bananas

These little chocolate-covered banana candies are enormously popular. I’m not sure if it’s because they’re cheap (they are), or because of their must-look-and-touch packaging (reptile brain), or because they’re delicious (yep, that too). Try them frozen! You will thank me.

Feed Your Mind @ PG

About Alice by Calvin Trillin

This book is not about food or wine, although it is written by the illustrious Calvin Trillin, who has often taken food as his subject. This slim little hardcover book is, obviously, about his wife, Alice, written five years after her death. It’s just a divine little book. He creates a glowing portrait of a hilarious, complicated, engaged, and uniformly charming woman with whom he made a long, lovely life. The picture above is taken from the back cover, and I think it’s worth the $6.99 price alone to be able to take the book down from time to time and get some ideas about how to live with grace, and maybe to complain about how people don’t dress like that anymore.

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Paris Grocery News, 6/17 Saturday, Jun 19 2010 

Things Your Dad Likes

Lambic and Orval Goblets, so dad can drink like a (Belgian) king!

Maybe your dad has been glued to the TV at odd hours this past week, watching the World Cup. Or maybe he’s been rushing to the golf course as soon as the sun peeps out from under the June cloud cover. Or maybe he’s been working his way through a new favorite cookbook. Whatever he’s been up to lately, we can assure you he does NOT want to be forgotten this Sunday. So show him love, get him something he pretends he doesn’t want, but will be so happy when he gets it.

Shameless Promotion Alert: Our friend Mike Force, a talented jack-of-all-arts in Brooklyn, created this hilarious site. Check out this field guide to the rare species of American Dad!

Blockbuster Wines

Summer is the time to let your dad indulge in the “bigger is better” mantra. Let him have (or think he has) the biggest grill with the biggest rack of ribs on the block, and give him a blockbuster wine to go with it!

2007 Domaine de la Charbonnière Vacqueyras ($29.99)
The 2007 vintage was seminal in the Rhône, with a warm, dry summer marked by strong winds that preserved that crucial acidity in the grapes. The fruit was ripe, concentrated, and balanced, and resulted in exceptional rich, layered wines, like this Vacqueyras. The estate’s 4ha are lovingly tended by Michel Maret and his two daughters, who harvest by hand. The wine is Syrah (60%) and Grenache (40%), aged in large oak casks for 6-8 months. The father-daughter team triumphed in this vintage, with a smoky, full-bodied wine with flavors of blackberry, mineral, and licorice fusing into a finish that is pure velvet.

“Vivid red. Powerfully scented nose displays fresh raspberry, flowers and minerals. Light in body and refined, with sweet red fruit and candied floral flavors and a silky texture. Fine-grained tannins arrive on the long, sappy finish. This elegant wine is balanced to age but you could drink it now for its sexy fruit and floral qualities.” 91 points Stephen Tanzer


2005 Ferraton et Fils Chateauneuf-du-Pape “Le Parvis”
($34.00)
Before 2007, there were the 2005s. This vintage was lauded for producing extremely well-structured wines suitable for aging, and luckily, it is now time to test out those promises. Father and son Ferraton give the Marets a run for their barrels with this elegant Grenache. The wine is blended with small percentages of Syrah and Mourvèdre, and aged for 12-18 month in oak casks. Their biodynamic farming practices reflect their passion for the terroir and uncompromising standards.

“Nice garrigue-driven style, with tobacco, loam, mesquite and plum sauce flavors pushed by a ripe, tarry, mouthfilling finish. Drink now through 2016.” 90 points Wine Spectator

2007 Domaine des Soulanes VdP Côtes Catalanes “Cuvée Jean Pull” ($19.99)
This is another estate that has been handed down from father to son, until Jean Pull sold it to his friends and co-vitners Daniel Laffite and Laffite’s stepfather. Today, young Daniel Laffite and his wife, Cathy, run the estate located near the border of Spain. Carignan thrives in the arid, rocky soil of “Les Fenouillèdes”. This blend of Grenache and Carignan is a plucky charmer, with ripe fruit balances by spicy tannins. Delicious with grilled and barbecued meats, sheep’s cheese, and peppery saucisson and paté.

“Intense kirsch, red plum and raspberry flavors give this southern French red real character and power. The finish is spicy, with plenty of finesse to the black licorice notes. Grenache and Carignane. Drink now through 2012.” 89 point Wine Spectator

2005 Chateau Preuillac Médoc
($19.99)
In Bordeaux, 2005 was also kind to winemakers. This 75-acre estate extends over the excellent gravelly soil of the Médoc appellation in Bordeaux. The Mau family acquired the 200-year old estate a little over a decade ago, driven by the desire to bring the well-placed vineyard up to its full potential. Their hard work and investment is apparent in this under-priced wine, which is one of the best the estate has ever made. Primarily Cabernet Sauvignon (54%) with Merlot (44%) and Cabernet Franc (4%).

“A classic, balanced wine, with a twist of richness. The black currant flavors are almost jelly-like in their sweetness, although these flavors are well balanced with acidity and a firm layer of dry tannins.”
90 points Wine Enthusiast

Other 90+ notables in stock and previously reviewed: 2007 Domaine Alary Cairanne Côtes-du-Rhône Villages ($27.99), 2007 Domaine des Escaravailles Les Sabliers Côtes-du-Rhône Villages ($14.99), 2008 Terres Dorées Beaujolais “L’Ancien” ($16.99), 2005 Château Bibian Listrac-Médoc ($24.99), 2007 Domaine des Domaine des Ouleb Thaleb Syrocco ($17.99), 2005 Vieux Telegramme Chateauneuf-du-Pape ($32.00), 2008 Clos des Briords Muscadet Sevre et Maine Sur Lie VV ($16.99).

Cheese @ PG
We Want The Funk

Everyone knows and loves the blockbuster cheeses, such as Brie, Roquefort, or Comté. But there’s a great big world out there (of cheese), and lately I’ve been wanting to talk about some less well-known or understood categories of cheese. Since we’re talking about Father’s Day this week (um, call your dad/stepdad/grandfather/mentor who’s like a dad to you, please), I thought I’d discuss washed rind cheeses. These are the dudes of cheese: they pack a powerful punch, they’re funky, and yes, they’re often stinky. Yet the aromatic exterior often belies a creamy, mild interior: really, they’re teddy bears. Aww.

Washed rind cheeses can be made from any type of milk; most of the famous ones are made with cow milk , but we have some amazing goat milk options, too. The rinds are washed throughout the aging process in any combination of brine, herbs, wine, or spirits, giving the cheese a pungent aroma. Washed rind cheeses present a wide range of textures, from dense to spongy to creamy to pure ooze. I love these cheeses because they offer a complex mix of flavors; they’re fruity, meaty, and tangy, yet tempered with earthy and nutty notes.

Here are some of our favorite funky cheeses, along with some beer pairing ideas. Beer and cheese go naturally together; both have their origins in grains and grasses. You can match complexity with complexity, or mix-and-match for some flavor juxtapositions. Also, the carbonation in beer refreshes the palate.

Munster d’Alsace
A dense, washed rind cow’s milk cheese with a creamy texture and a fried-egg aroma. The flavor is sharp, beefy, and nutty.
$6.25/quarter lb
Try it with: Lindeman’s Framboise Lambic

Pont l’Evêque

A creamy, washed rind cow’s milk cheese made in Normandy. The flavor is buttery, milky, and savory with a long finish of tangy and fruity undercurrents.
$5.49/quarter lb
Try it with: Lindeman’s Faro Lambic

Abbaye Ste-Mère
This traditional monastery cheese from Normandy has a creamy yet firm texture. Made with raw milk and washed in brine, it has a fruity, mild, and slightly sweet flavor. A sure crowd-pleaser.
$3.99/quarter lb
Try it with: Chimay Red

Morbier
A semi-soft cow’s milk cheese with a famous line of ash in the center, historically to separate the morning and evening milkings. This washed rind cheese has aromas of freshly mown grass and appealing flavors of fruits and nuts. An intensely earthy and meaty cheese– a classic.
$4.49/quarter lb
Try it with: St Landelin La Divine (bière de garde farmhouse ale)

Bethmale
Louis VI’s favorite cheese. This luscious cow’s and goat’s milk cheese from the Pyrenees has been in production since the 12th century. Smooth and buttery, with flavors of grass and mushroom with a mild washed rind tang. Try it with a snack plate of ham, olives, and rustic bread.
$6.99/quarter lb
Try it with: Orval Trappist Ale

Tête de Moine

A washed rind cow’s milk cheese with a milky, beefy, and nutty flavor. Invented over 800 years ago by the monks of the Jura region in Switzerland, this dense yet creamy cheese has an excellent melting capacity.
$7.25/quarter lb
Try it with: Brasserie Lebbe L’Amalthée (Belgian wheat beer)

Feed your Mind @ PG

Pork & Sons by Stephane Reynaud

A third generation butcher and pork-lover delves into his family’s and village’s history to bring you the recipes and lore of France’s love affair with porcine creatures.

Craves @ PG

Fee Brothers Bitters

Don’t make your dad drink a Manhattan or Martini without Fee Bros. Bitters!

Thanks for reading, see you soon!
Abi & Rachel

and
Steve Winston and Sharon Baden
Owners, Paris Grocery

Paris Grocery News 6/4 Sunday, Jun 6 2010 

Tome de Bordeaux, a cheese "centerfold" from Culture magazine! Photo by Gregory Cherin.

Recently we got our hands on Culture Magazine’s summer edition, and it fell open immediately to its ogle-worthy centerfold, Tome de Bordeaux. It’s stunning, and we just had to have it. We already know and love Tome d’Acquitaine, an aged goat cheese bathed in Sauternes, which also comes from the Jean d’Alos caves. Like the Aquitaine, the Tome de Bordeaux is made with goat milk and has the same beautiful snow white interior and fresh, floral aromas. But this cheese has another layer (a thing which Seattleites can always appreciate). This tome wears an amazing Technicolor coat of dried green herbs, including fennel, rosemary, thyme, savory, and oregano. On top of that is a starburst pattern of paprika, juniper berries, white peppercorns, and bird’s-eye peppers. It’s seriously attractive. The cheese is soft yet compact, with an enticing aroma and a clean, sweet, and earthy flavor. Get a little bit of the rind for some texture and powerful herbal flavor. This cheese calls out to be enjoyed by itself, with a little fruit confit (we’ve got suggestions) and a glass of white wine, or even a full-bodied rosé like the 2007 Marsannay Pinot Noir Rosé. We’re offering the Tome de Bordeaux for $8.25 for a quarter pound.

We also have some other fantastic new arrivals in the cheese case, which you can read about in the Cheese section below!

Wine @ PG
Buy any six bottles and get 10% off!

The Val de Loire is a wine “safety zone” for me. With whites and reds that are extremely food and wallet friendly, they’re always a pleasure to recommend to the lost souls who wander into the shop looking for something that will quench their thirst, and maybe satisfy a deeper need, at dinner time.

2008 Les Haut Vingot Anjou $8.99
A perennial favorite, this 100% Chenin Blanc is a great wine for cheeses ranging soft and creamy to sharp and nutty. Aromatic, with pear and tropical fruit notes, it is a fresh, young drinking white. Grown on the white limestone soil of Anjou, it is round on the palate, with a zippy finish!

2005 Chateau de Bellevue “Le Croix Picot” Savennières $18.99
In this Savennières, Chenin Blanc unveils its full sophistication and suavité. It grows on the esteemed vineyard of “Le Croix Picot”, known for its “crimson soil”, a mix of sandstone and shale. The wine is fermented in barrels with natural yeast. Elegant, with beeswax, quince, bread dough, and lime flowers on the nose. Plump, yet with a clean, crisp finish. Wonderfully balanced, it is a superlative pairing for the whole gamme of cheeses.

2008 Clos des Briords Muscadet Sevre et Maine Sur Lie VV $16.99
While there may not be a more natural pairing than Muscadet and oysters, straying from the beaten paths will bring delightful surprises. The high acidity and low alcohol brighten flavors and refresh the palate, enhancing and marrying the flavors of seafood, herbs, and seasonings. This one comes from an old vine planting, and the wine is aged on the lees for 18-24 months. With the exquisite minerality that is typical of Muscadet in this appellation, the wine exudes fresh notes of limestone and sea breeze. The slight salinity is off-set by a touch of creaminess on the palate. It is by far, my new favorite white in our shop!

“Bright straw. A piercing, energetic array of citrus and floral scents, complicated by strong minerality and a note of white pepper. Bitter lime pith and quinine flavors gain flesh and weight with air, taking a turn to sweeter tangerine and quince. Strikingly balanced and precise, with a long, spicy, mineral-dominated finish. This should be even better with a couple year of bottle age.92 points Stephen Tanzer

2008 Philippe Raimbault “Apud Sariacum” Sancerre $22.99
There is no more beautiful expression of Sauvignon Blanc than the wines of Sancerre. The cool climate, chalky soil, and passion of the small producers bring this grape to the height of its aromatic, austere elegance. Limestone, chalk, crushed rocks, and a heady, enticing florality that is nevertheless retrained. Excellent texture. Philippe Raimbault, a ninth-generation producer, puts enormous care into his small family of wines, even hand-harvesting, which is rare for this region. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a more perfect example of Sancerre!

2009 Chateau de la Bonnelière Touraine Rosé $13.99
Medium salmon, this northerly rosé comes from a biodynamic estate where the soil is dominated by flinty clay. Restricted yields lead to a medium weight with raspberry, minerality, a slight herbaceous tint and silky finish. Delicious and distinctive, made from 100% Cabernet Franc, this is a great wine for rosé-lovers who want to get their pink-wary friends hooked on rosé!

Cheese @ PG

George attacks our super-sized Cantal Doux.

It’s a blessing and a curse to be both a cheesemonger and obsessively detail-oriented. It’s been one of those crazy mornings with a large shipment of cheeses: cutting and wrapping the new arrivals, finding them a home in the case, and, of course, sampling them merrily. Along with the Tome de Bordeaux, here are some of our first impressions of the new cheeses on the block:

Bethmale Tradition Chèvre ($7.99/quarter lb): We already love our mixed-milk Bethmale and the glowering face of Jean Faup on its label. This version is made exclusively with goat’s milk. It has a semi-firm texture with tiny little eyes (holes) throughout, offering an airy, delicate feel on the palate. Not goaty at all, this cheese is sweet, nutty, and mild.

Bethmale Tradition Chevre, with Jean Faup looking sternly over his caves.

La Ramier Roux ($5.75/quarter lb): From the southwestern region of Tarn, near Toulouse, an area replete with medieval ruins. This washed-rind cow’s milk cheese is fruity and sweet, with a creamy, unctuous texture. We’ve declared it our new go-to “snack attack” fix. Try it with our best-selling 2007 Trois Bastides Côtes du Tarn.

La Cadenelle de Hyelzas ($8.25/quarter lb): What the Causses! This somewhat desolate area of limestone plateaus churns out some of my favorite cheeses because of their rustic, clean flavors. La Cadenelle is a sheep’s milk cheese with crushed juniper berries added to the curd during production. We love the slightly textured feel in the mouth and the hint of spice and earthiness from the juniper berries, which balanced the sweetness of the cheese.

Cheese meets classic martini in the Juniper berry infused La Cadenelle.

Cantal Doux ($4.49/quarter lb): This cheese is often referred to as “the cheddar of France.” We like it because it’s cut for us from a huge, beautiful wheel. When we tasted it this morning, it was particularly “cheddar-y”: mild and nutty, with a touch of sharpness on the finish. Try a Cantal and Apple Grilled Cheese sandwich: it’ll rock your lunchbox.


Charcuteire @ PG

It rhymes!

Two completely different kinds of salami, which we love for different reasons.

Duck Salami
: Uber-rich, this dry salami is cured with sea salt and garlic. Balanced flavors and a silky texture- exquisite!

Sweet Salami
: From Freybe comes this Hungarian-style salami with a creamy, finely ground texture. With a mild, vinegary flavor and a touch of garlic, this salami makes a stellar sandwich or pizza topper. Kids will love it, and so will you!

Feed Your Mind @ PG

French Feasts

Boasting 299 classic French recipes, the collection’s real treasure lies in its quirky notes and cartoons on French culture, local artisans (a sexy baker!), and kitchen wisdom. A great gift for the cook who is comfortable in the kitchen and has a sense of humor.

Just for Fun @ PG

Mini-Tagines for your table salt!

These are so cute they should be outlawed ($8.99/ea).

Thanks for reading, see you soon!
Abi & Rachel

and

Steve Winston & Sharon Baden, Owners