Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Wine Wednesdays - Chardonnay Moi + City Society Present, Wine Not?

I'm so excited to announce that I'm partnering with City Society to host a women's wine tasting and networking event on August 26th here in NYC.  City Society is an amazing organization created by my friend Emily, bringing bright, successful, entrepreneurial women together for networking "speed dates" paired with fun panel discussions, shopping events, and of course wine and cheese!  If you're in the NY area I hope you'll join us!

Click HERE for tickets!




Monday, July 27, 2015

France Travels - Southwest France

After our time in Provence we headed west and spent 2 days in the southwest corner of France.  Our first stop was the medieval city and UNESCO world heritage site, Carcassonne.  We had lunch, toured the castle and walked the walls surrounding it.  I was unsure if we should bother to go out of our way to visit Carcassonne as everything I read made it sound a bit like Disneyland, with tacky souvenir shops and guides dressed as medieval knights.  I imagine it's pretty miserable in summer with major crowds, but it was a drizzly day and relatively quiet.  The views were pretty spectacular.




From there we drove further south to Cucugnan.  We spent one night at L'Ecurie de Cucugnan.  Our room was lovely and charming with the most amazing private balcony.  Unfortunately it was pouring rain by the time we got there, so we set up a bed picnic for our wine and cheese cocktail hour instead of admiring the view, a big bummer!




The view from our private balcony, would be amazing in summer!

We had a fabulous dinner at Auberge Du Vigneron, literally the best scallops I've ever had.  And I finally got my cassoulet! 




The next morning we explored the Cathar castle of Queribus. We hiked to the top fighting the extreme winds, but the view was well worth it!  So amazing to think they built these fortresses on such high terrain over 1000 years ago!

The sunrise the next morning was unbelievable!

The famous windmill that mills flour for the local bakery Les Maitres de Mon Moulin.








After our hike we headed to Maury for lunch followed by wine tasting at D66 winery, the French extension of Orin Swift Cellars.  

Our trusty little car saw some extreme driving on the backroads of the region!





The final leg of our journey took us further south to Collioure, a gorgeous beach town on the sea.  Once again the winds plagued us, making it hard to fully enjoy this beautiful town (and our hotel was NOTHING like the trip advisor reviews or pictures).  But we made the most of it exploring the town on the tourist train, enjoying the freshest seafood with local wine, and for breakfast, I had the absolute BEST chocolate croissant I've ever had in my life.  Seriously, if you ever find yourself in Collioure, find the bakery with the blue awning directly across from the bay between the town and road towards Banyuls Sur Mer.  They called it a "butter chocolate croissant" so it was shaped like a regular butter croissant and filled with a generous bar of chocolate, so rich and delicious, I can't believe I didn't snap a picture.  The bakery also offered Snickers and Twix stuffed croissants, and while tempted, I'm glad I went with this version.  













Next stop, Barcelona!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Wine Wednesdays - 2014 San Giovanni Il Chiaretto Valtènesi Rosé

I recently had this Italian rosé with dinner at Via Carota.  Isn't it funny when you hear or experience something for the first time then all of a sudden you see it everywhere?  That's what happened with this wine.  I was introduced to it over dinner then the very next day saw it at my favorite wine store.  The bottle is such a fun and different shape.  It's slightly heartier in both color and flavor profiles.  Full of ripe red fruit but balanced acidity.  Easily enjoyed on it's own but especially good with salty prosciutto and good conversation, picnic blanket and sunsets optional!

Pasini San Giovanni was founded in 1958, located in the Lake Garda region in northern Italy.  Third generation winemakers are at the helm making terroir-driven wines in an environmentally sustainable way.  This wine is nicknamed "the overnight wine" as the juice is left in contact with the skins just until midnight on the day it is harvested creating a perfectly pink salmon color.  It is a blend of 4 native Italian grape varietals:  Gropello, Marzemino, Barbera, and Sangiovese.  


Wine:  2014 San Giovanni Il Chiaretto Valtènesi Rosé
Purchased:  Backlabel Wines
Price:  $20
Would Buy Again:  Yes!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Wine Wednesdays - Domaine de la Rectorie Banyuls Sur Mer

After 5 days in lovely Provence, we headed west to the Roussillon, through Carcassone, Maury, Cucugnan and eventually ending up by the sea in Coullioure.  While we may have been a little early for the season (and caught another dreadful wind known as Le Tramontane), the highlight of our travels was exploring the vineyards and tasting at Domaine de la Rectorie in Banyuls Sur Mer.  


The tasting room is housed in a beautiful old mansion in the town of Banyuls Sur Mer
Our host Emilio drove us up the hair-pin turns on a one-way dirt road to give us a better sense of the growing conditions in Collioure/Banyuls.  This region is famous for their terraced vineyards, with each vine tended to by hand on incredibly steep slopes as tractors and other machinery can't cover the terrain.

I think Mom almost lost her breakfast on the way up, but the white-knuckle ride was worth it for this view!

Straight down hill!
After our vineyard tour, we headed back to town to visit the caves where the wine is stored.  This bunker was used by the Nazis as a shelter during WWII.








After touring the caves we made our way back to the Domaine for tasting.  The Domaine produces a little bit of everything, from crisp mineral whites to red Coullioure to sweet Banyuls.    






After tasting, we headed to lunch at El Xadic del Mar.  The restaurant is run by Manu, and in his one-man operation he does everything from taking your order to prepping the food.  Bottles of wine line the walls for you to pick and enjoy with your meal!




After lunch we wandered the town, and made our way to the Romanesque chapel and cemetery after which Domaine de la Rectorie was named.





Postcard perfect
The famous Banyuls wine aging in the sun in glass bottles
Proof of how windy it was hence the Flock of Seagulls hair 'do!
If you find yourself in this southwest corner of France I'd highly suggest a visit to Domaine de la Rectorie.  
 

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