Paris Grocery News 7/2 Saturday, Jul 3 2010 

How to Taste Your Way Through the Tour de France

France is more than ready to forget about the World Cup, even though it is barely halfway done. Luckily, we’re on the eve of another great sporting event for Europhiles: Le Tour de France! Inspired by the cyclists’ route, we’ve organized a tour of our wines and cheeses. You’ll be able to follow the bikers as they travel through the peaks and plains of France. Winning teams will come and go, but France’s culinary delights will always be there.

Recapturing national honor off the soccer field.

Like the fearless riders, we begin our tour in France’s northerly neighbor, Belgium, with Lindeman’s Faro Lambic ($5.99). Lambic is a classic Flemish ale with a wheaty flavor profile. Created by spontaneous fermentation, the Faro Lambic is sweetened by Belgian candi sugar, following a traditional recipe from the bars in Brussels. Fruit and caramel aroma, balanced by subtle complexity and refreshing acidity. The flavor starts sweet, with suggestions of brown sugar or orange marmalade, and finishes with crisp tartness. Like a cross between a beer and a cider.

From there we drop down to Reims, one of the famous villages of Champagne. One of our favorite Champagnes is from this village: Henri-Abelé Brut Champagne ($42.00). Over 90% of the grapes for this Champagne comes from Cru villages. The wine is aged for four years in the bottle before being released, and the quality of the grapes allows the bright aromas of green apple and citrus to linger on among the notes of brioche and almond. We were lucky enough to get a few bottles of this Champagne, as only a limited number are sold to the U.S. each year! 90 points Wine Spectator

Next, we move to Montgardis in the Loire Valley, home of the Cone du Port Aubry ($9.25/quarter lb). This superlative raw goat’s milk cheese from affineur Herve Mons has a flavor that starts buttery and mushroomy, then fades into a pronounced acidity and nuttiness. Slightly pliable and crumbly texture. This will pair conveniently well with the Henri-Abelé Champagne!

The route then takes us to Burgundy. (Oh darn!) Seeing the rolling hills and pristine vineyards will quickly get you in the mood for the 2007 Domaine Arlaud “Roncevie” Burgundy ($24.99). Father, sons, and sister run this natural estate by the village of Gevrey-Chambertin. The Roncevie is 100% Pinot Noir, a pure and persistent bottling from a graceful vintage. It is a steal, outclassing wines from the villages-level appellation.

Alpine heights are the next obstacle for our fearless riders, and they will surely be craving a refreshing drink, like the 2009 Domaine L’Idylle “Cruet” Vin de Savoie ($10.99). Savoy is a region better known for its landscapes and cheeses than its wines, and that’s a crying shame. Just west of Burgundy, in a cool climate with steep terrain, grow a range of rare grapes, aromatic and bright. Domaine de l’Idylle has been making wines in the village of Cruet since 1840. This one is 100% Jacquère, a native variety that is vivacious and fragrant. Exudes pear, citrus, and floral notes, with bursts of green apple and minerality. The short period of sur lie aging gives a nice complexity and sleek body. A perfect foil to the richness of fondue and raclette, it also makes a wonderful choice for Kir (white wine with crème de cassis).

Being so close to Switzerland, you may as well indulge in the Scharfe Maxx ($6.75/quarter lb), a slightly smoky, deeply beefy, and immensely tangy Swiss cheese. Aged for 6 months, this thermalized cow’s milk cheese is washed with brine and herbs, giving it a powerful and sharp (scharfe) flavor and a dense, creamy texture. A fantastic melting cheese!

There will be a stop in Chambéry, the birthplace of Dolin Vermouth ($13.99). The only Vermouth that has earned an AOC designation, Dolin has none of the cloying sweetness or overly bitter qualities found in bottom-shelf Vermouths. The particular mixture of plants found near Chambéry give a fresh, restrained, and elegant nose with a subtle, complex, and bittersweet palate. Excellent both as a mixer and as an apéritif.

Looping up to Valence, the cyclists will speed through Montelimar before heading to the Pyrenées. Montelimar is known for its delicious Nougat. This Provençal treat made from almonds and pistachios are great with the Château de Pena Muscat de Rivesaltes ($12.99/375mL). A late harvest Muscat is a beautiful way to start or end a meal. Full bodied with a balanced sweetness, it exudes light floral notes, exotic fruit aromas, and orange rind. Try it and you’ll see why this wine is prized in the Pyrenées and beyond.

The finish line will be in sight when the tour arrives in Pau. Raise a glass to a race well ridden with the 2005 Chateau Montus Madiran ($37.99). Quite possibly the best wine from Madiran, this blend of Tannat (80%) and Cabernet Sauvignon (20%) is made by Alain Brumont. It is a lusty wine, its inky color suggesting the richness on the palate and the nose. Aromas of toasty blackberries, leather, and oak make a complex and deep bouquet. The wine is firm, with well-integrated flavors of blackberry, raspberry, smoke, and clove. The finish is superb, lengthy and flavorful. This wine will cellar for several more years.

The last stop before Paris will be Pauillac, near Bordeaux. Not that you ever need an excuse to buy some Tome d’Aquitaine ($8.25/quarter lb), one of our all-time favorite cheeses. The beautiful snow-white interior of this washed-rind goat’s milk cheese will catch your eye. Washed in Sauternes by the respected affineur Jean d’Alos, it displays delicately balanced fruit and floral notes, and has a delicate nuttiness on the finish.

Craves @ PG

Muscat de Rivesaltes

Feed your Mind @ PG

Pampille's Table

An indispensable guide to the culinary regions of France. This cookbook was originally published in 1919, and the newly translated and updated edition makes it accessible for the modern kitchen.

Thanks for reading, see you soon!
Abi & Rachel

and
Steve Winston and Sharon Baden
Owners, Paris Grocery

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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