Tag Archives: Wines

Cheese Plate and Wine Tasting at Gentil

Cheese Tray of the day (2010/02/26):
-Top row: Brie de Meaux (4 months, France), Gorgonzola Dolce (Italy), Bleu D’Auvergne (France), Raclette (6 months, Hokkaido, Japan).
-Bottom row: Chevre Noir (2 years, Goat Milk, Canada), Mont D’or (France), Petit Agour Basque (Ewe, France), Cream cheese and Rum Raisins creation by Gentil.

It was about grand time I paid a visit to Gentil, the oldest French restaurant (1964) in Shizuoka City.
It is a great and accordingly expensive restaurant, but if you confine yourself to a plate of cheese and a glass of good wine, it is actually great value.
Ms. Keiko Kubota is THE authority on any cheese in Japan and actually helps mature cheese she acquires all year long in season only.

As for wines, the pairings are just sublime.

As I had oredered the full tray and requested a white wine, I was offered the following:

A white from my country!

Alsace, France, Riesling by Jean Ginglinger, 2008.

Very clear and clean. Bright golden colour
Aroma: Fruity and sweetish, very natural, green grass, Muscat and apples.
Taste: Soft attack, fruity at first with muscat, but quickly taking a very tangy turn with green grass, green apples and peach memories.
Very pleasant and great pairing with cheese. Kept it own all the time in spite of the strong cheese.

Now for the plate!
All the cheeses represented on the tray at the top of this article are feature except one!
Can you guess them all?

The raclette came on toasts!
I will not bore you with the tasting of the cheeses. They are just all top in their own categories and seasonal. The only thing I will say is that start chasing them around wherever you live!LOL

You do need some sugar to balance all the salt ingested with the cheese!
Chocolate cake, Mikan/Orange jelly and Creme brulee (and sorbets!)

Instead of coffee, I opted for the sorbet/sherbet farandole:
Camomille & Milk, Rum Raisins, Maro-Blue/Usubeni Aoi Herb.
The little mignardise is a snow ball bicuit made with chocolate and caraway seeds.

Need I comment more?

Restaurant Gentil
Address:420-0031 Shizuoka Shi, Gofuku-cho, 2-9-1, Gennan Kairaku building, 2F
Tel.: 054-2547655 (Reservations advisable)
Fax: 054-2210509
Opening hours: 12:00~14:00, 18:00~last orders for meals at 21:30. Bar time 18:00~23:30. Closed on Mondays.
Credit cards OK
Homepage (Japanese)

RECOMMENDED RELATED SITES:
Warren Bobrow, Bread + Butter, Zoy Zhang, Hungry Neko, Think Twice, Frank Fariello, Mangantayon, Elinluv Tidbit Corner, Maison de Christina, Chrys Niles,Lexi, Culinary Musings, Wheeling Gourmet, Social Culinaire, Sushi Nomads, Cook, Eat & Share, Gourmet Fury, 5 Star Foodie, Easy Does It Recipes, Oyster Culture, Once A Chef, All In Good Food, Cooking Stuff, Cheese Monger, Palate To Pen, Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Citron Et Vanille, The Cheese Godess

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Cote Chalonnaise: Bourgogne Most Underrated Wines 2: Bouzeron

Visiting La Maison Des Vins in Chalon sur Saone with the Missus, my brother, Francois and the Master of the House, Jean-Charles Bezin.

SYNOPSIS:

I wrote this series of articles to help wine lovers to discover the wines of a region which have stayed ignored for too long and emnetly deserved to be explored!

Part 1: Introduction

BOUZERON


Click for bigger image and printing!

Bouzeron became the 5th Cote Chalonnaise Village/Commune in Saône-et-Loire departement. It is located nearest to Côte-d’Or. Created by a government decree on February 17th, 1998, this appellation has replaced the old regional appellation, Bourgogne Aligoté Bouzeron, introduce in 1979.
Production villages/communes : Bouzeron et Chassey-le-Camp.
In the Côte Chalonnaise, in northern Saône-et-Loire, it is separated from Santenay by the Dheune River valley. This slopy village lies very near Rully and Chassagne-Montrachet.

Domaine A & P de Villaine, Bouzeron.

Bouzeron and its Aligoté was spearheaded by the efforts of Aubert de Villaine, co-owner of Domaine de la Romanee-Conti. Together with his wife Pamela de Villaine he owns Domaine A & P de Villaine in Bouzeron.
Mr Chanzy Daniel, grower/producer, one of the creators of the apppellation is the present president of the appellation Committee.
Syndicat viticole de l’appellation Bouzeron, 71150 BOUZERON.

The village, first called “Boserontis villa”, was given by King Charles le Chauve (The Bald) in 872 to the monks of Saint-Marcel-les-Chalon.

Bouzeron Vineyards (click on pic for bigger image)

Bouzeron are exclusively made (100%) with Aligote grapes.
Bouzeron is the sole Aligote village appelletion in the world!

Aligote grapes

Wine Character:
This white wine has a light golden hue with a pale green note which can becaome a light straw colour.
Its aroma reminds of acacia, white fowers and hazlenuts.
It is complemented with mineral scents (limestone) and lemon, its classical bouquet. An occasional memory of honey and hot croissant pleasantly peeks out.
Well-rounded on the palate, it reveals a solid body and a typical aligote grape lively character. Nuances vary with the terroirs.

Sommelier’s advice:

White: superb lively and rounded synthesis. This “gourmand” and delicately powerful wine offers its lemon notes to oysters with a beneficial channeling of the latter’s iodine strength thanks to a sustained minerality. It equally benefits tarama and crustaceans, steamed or in gratins. Its pronouced roundness emphazies veal and poultry in hite sauces. Mushrooms risotto will thank it thanks to its aromatic consistency.
Served as a first wine with beautiful gougères and appetizers: jambon persillé, mixed salads, quiches… it perfectly marrries with most chèvres/goat, beaufort, comté et cîteaux cheeses.

Service temperature: 10 to 11 °C as an aperitif, 11 to 12 °C on the table (meal).

Production:

Production surface: 44 ha
Yeraly average yield: 1 945 hl (count 130 bottles per hl)

RECOMMENDED WINES:

-Domaine CHANZY 2008
-Domaine A.& P.DEVILLAINE 2008
-Domaine P. GUILLOT 2007

La Maison Des Vins in Chalon sur Saone has done invaluable work since 1982 to make the wines of the region better known to the general public and connoisseurs alike.
It offers their own selection twice a year, choosing the best 122 wines of Cote Chalonnaise in one single Wine shop with the help of a blind tasting jury.
The chosen wines will be sold there at the producers’ prices (lower than anywhere else!) for the following 6 months!
The Restaurant de La Maison des Vins on the second floor (equiped with elevator and physically-impaired people facilities) will introduce you to the regional gastronomy served with the wines of the Cote Chalonnaise in a very quiet part of the city near the very wide Saone River.
Both are a must-visit before you venture through the hilly country in search for your unknown nectar!

La Maison Des Vins
Promenade Sainte Marie
711OO Chalon sur Saône
France
Téléphone : (33)03-85-41-64-00
Fax: (33)03-85-41-99-83
HOMEPAGE

The Restaurant de la Maison des Vins
Tel : (33)03-85-41-66-66
Fax : (33)03-85-43-82-25

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES:
-Sake: Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Jefferson’s Table, Wheeling Gourmet, 5 Star Foodie, Frank Fariello, Oyster Culture, Comestilblog
-Beer: Good Beer & Country Boys, Another Pint, Please!
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery
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Cote Chalonnaise: Bourgogne Most Underrated Wines 1: Inroduction

Me standing in a vineyard just behind my father’s home in Givry!

For long wines from the Cote Chalonnaise have been ignored because they were “wampirized” by the big Bourgogne “negociants/dealers” who found very practical to mix them with other wines and sell them as better-quality straight Bourgogne appellation bottles.

But times have changed and especially the new generation of wine growers have rebelled and gone their own way, proving that quality for quality their wines were better value than their “cousins” up north. The term “cousins” is what the the so-called specialists often call Cote Chalonnaise wines when comparing them to the celebrated nectars which have made Bourgogne known all the World. I certainly beg to differ. Cote Chalonnaise wines have simply matured into a variety of their own.

Côte Chalonnaise is a subregion of the Burgundy/Bourgogne wine region of France. Côte Chalonnaise lies to the south of the Côte d’Or continuing the same geology southward. It is still in the main area of Burgundy wine production but it includes no Grand cru vineyards. Like the Côte d’Or, it is at the western edge of the broad valley of the river Saône, on the rising ground overlooking the town of Chalon-sur-Saône which is about six kilometers out into the plain. To the north, across the River Dheune, lies the Côte de Beaune. To the south is the Mâconnais. The grapes of the region are predominantly Pinot Noir and Chardonnay with some Aligoté and Gamay also grown in vineyards spread over a stretch of 25 kilometers long and 7 kilometers wide of undulating land in which vineyards are interspersed with orchards and other forms of farming.

The wine-producing communes of the Côte Chalonnaise are, from the north: Bouzeron, the only communal AOC for Aligoté still wine; Rully, which has 23 premier cru vineyards and is known for its white wines as well as being a center for Crémant sparkling wines production; Mercurey, which with 30 premier cru vineyards is the largest volume producer of the region, its wines being nearly all red; Givry, with 17 premier cru vineyards producing mostly red wines; and Montagny, which produces only white wines in its 49 premier cru vineyards.

Visiting La Maison Des Vins in Chalon sur Saone

La Maison Des Vins in Chalon sur Saone has done invaluable work since 1982 to make the wines of the region better known to the general public and connoisseurs alike.
It offers their own selection twice a year, choosing the best 122 wines of Cote Chalonnaise in one single Wine shop with the help of a blind tasting jury.
The chosen wines will be sold there at the producers’ prices (lower than anywhere else!) for the following 6 months!
The Restaurant de La Maison des Vins on the second floor (equiped with elevator and physically-impaired people facilities) will introduce you to the regional gastronomy served with the wines of the Cote Chalonnaise in a very quiet part of the city near the very wide Saone River.
Both are a must-visit before you venture through the hilly country in search for your unknown nectar!

La Maison Des Vins
Promenade Sainte Marie
711OO Chalon sur Saône
France
Téléphone : (33)03-85-41-64-00
Fax: (33)03-85-41-99-83
HOMEPAGE

The Restaurant de la Maison des Vins
Tel : (33)03-85-41-66-66
Fax : (33)03-85-43-82-25

Amphorae found in the region

The Côte Chalonnaise is named after the town of Chalon-sur-Saône, located on the Saône. Its location made the town an important trading center of the Celts in Gaul and was known as Cabilonum. The region was later used by the Ancient Romans with wine being one of the commodities traded up and down the river. More than 20,000 amphorae stamped with Roman emblems have been found in graves in this area, and 1,000 were discovered at the bottom of the Saone River apparently thrown overboard by a Roman trader who discovered the practicality of Celtic oak casks!

South of the village of Santenay in the Côte de Beaune region is the city of Chagny which begins the Côte Chalonnaise, although the city itself does not produce wine. On the other hand Maranges, although lying in Saone et Loire is not part of Cote Chalonnaise yet. The climate and vineyard soils of the Côte Chalonnaise are very similar to those of the Côte d’Or, though the rainfall is slightly less. However, unlike the Côte d’Or, the vineyards of the Côte Chalonnaise do not run along the slopes of a single escarpment but rather are three isolated on patches of limestone. The first patch of vineyards located northwest of Chalon-sur-Saône includes the villages of Bouzeron, Rully and Mercurey which is separated by only a few kilometers from the second patch of vineyards around the village of Givry. Located due west from Saint-Rémy and southwest of Chalon-sur-Saône this patch is nearly 5 kilometers from the third patch of vineyards that make up the Montagny region.

Cote Chalonnaise Country

The landscape of the region is much more agrarian than other parts of Burgundy with pastures and orchards interspersed among vineyards. The soft rolling hills of the area reach altitudes between 750-1,050 feet (230-320 meters). These hills provide some protection from frost and hail damage. The soil is predominately limestone mixed with sand and clay and the occasional iron deposit. Around the city of Mercurey, the soil has a high concentration of iron-enriched marl. The diversity in slopes and soils creates a myriad of microclimates that can greatly influence the varying quality of wine from the Côte Chalonnaise, even among vineyards labeled as premier cru.

All wine produced in the Côte Chalonnaise qualifies for the Appellation d’origine contrôlée (AOC) Bourgogne Côte Chalonnaise though it is more often declassified to the generic Bourgogne AOC because of the higher name recognition of the later. Sparkling wine made from the region is usually labeled as Crémant de Bourgogne. The Côte Chalonnaise has five village-level AOCs. They are, from north to south: Bouzeron, the only communal AOC for Aligoté still wine; Rully, which has 23 premier cru vineyards and is known for its white wines as well as being a center for Crémant sparkling wines production; Mercurey, which with 30 premier cru vineyards is the largest volume producer of the region, its production being nearly all red; Givry, whose 17 premier cru vineyards also produce mostly red wines; and Montagny which produces only white wines and has 49 premier cru vineyards. There is currently no Grand Cru classed vineyards in the Côte Chalonnaise.

I will start introducing the wines of each appelation from the next article with the qualified help of my friends at La Maison des Vins!

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES:
-Sake: Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Jefferson’s Table, Wheeling Gourmet, 5 Star Foodie, Frank Fariello, Oyster Culture, Comestilblog
-Beer: Good Beer & Country Boys, Another Pint, Please!
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery
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Wine Tasting in Shizuoka 3: Le Temps Des Cerises (Languedoc)

CERISE-2

As I mentioned in my previous tatsing I’m not ready yet to completely forget my roots. When there is good wine around, I see no reason to ignore it.
I thought it might be a good idea to taste the wines (within reasonability) available in this part of Japan!

This tasting also occurred at Lavigne in Shizuoka City!

Axel Prufer is a yaoung German vigneron who learned his trade before establihing himself in Languedoc, France in 2003.
He is an active member of a new type of winegrower belonging to the “Natural Wine School”.
This “Vin de Table/Table Wine” of his was conceived away from the higher appelations’ restrictions, but certainly has nothing to do with the legal Vin de Table! The alcohol content alone is a good enough indication. As for the price, although deserved, it would make vins de table inaccessible!
Incidentally the design on the label means “Spring has come!”

CERISE-1

Les Lendemains Qui Chantent
Le Temps des Cerises
Vin de Table Francais
Axel Prufer, Vigneron a 34260 Le Mas Blanc (Languedoc)
Grenache Grapes 100%
Alcohol: 13.5 proof degrees
Retail price (in Japan): 3,654 yen

Colour: Ruby red, very deep, clea.

Aroma: Strong, a little pungent, dry red fruits, green leaves

Taste: Soft attack backed by a little tannin.
Strong red fruits: Strawberries, raspberries, cherries, blueberries.
Very dry and soft.
Strong and short finish.
Taste lingering for quite long in the back of the mouth.

Eminently drinkable. Goes well with meat and heavy sauces.

LAVIGNE
420-0852, Shizuoka City, Aoi-Ku, Kutsunoya Cho, 17-2, 1F (2 minutes walk from JR Station)
Tel/fax: 054-205-4181
Opening hours: 11:00~22:00
HOMEPAGE (Japanese)

RECOMMENDED RELATED SITES:
Warren Bobrow
5 Star Foodie
Frank Fariello
Mangantayon
Cheese Monger
Rubber Slippers in Italy
Palate To Pen
Tokyo Foodcast
Urban Sake
Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass
Oyster Culture

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Wine Tasting in Shizuoka 2: Saint-Veran-La Bernardiere

ST-V1

As I mentioned in my previous tatsing I’m not ready yet to completely forget my roots. When there is good wine around, I see no reason to ignore it.
I thought it might be a good idea to taste the wines (within reasonability) available in this part of Japan!

This tasting also occurred at Lavigne in Shizuoka City!

ST-V2

Saint-Veran is still a very new and still raltively unknown AOC from the very southern tip of the Maconnais area in Bourgogne. Longer summers than in vaunted northern Bourgogne give it a different character.

Domaine Combier
Saint-veran AOC (Maconnais, Bourgogne, France)
La Bernardiere in Prisse Village
2005, 100% Chardonnay, 14 degrees proof (high)
Retailed in Japan at 3,000 yen

Colour: Beautiful, clear, limpid gold. Darker than usual Chardonnay.

Aroma: Fruity, flowers. Pleasantly strong. Nutty, honey. Complex.

Taste: dry attack. Longish but light tail.
Nuts, macadamia, butter,memories of smoked cheese.
Turns slightly sweeter with food.
Pleasant finish expanding at the back of the mouth.
Changes little with food.
Pleasant overall impression.
Can be enjoyed on its own as well as with almost any food.
Well-rounded and lively.

LAVIGNE
420-0852, Shizuoka City, Aoi-Ku, Kutsunoya Cho, 17-2, 1F (2 minutes walk from JR Station)
Tel/fax: 054-205-4181
Opening hours: 11:00~22:00
HOMEPAGE (Japanese)

RECOMMENDED RELATED SITES:
Warren Bobrow
5 Star Foodie
Frank Fariello
Mangantayon
Cheese Monger
Rubber Slippers in Italy
Palate To Pen
Tokyo Foodcast
Urban Sake
Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass

Please check the new postings at:
sake, shochu and sushi

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Wine Tasting in Shizuoka 1: Domaine Dupont-Fahn

OC-1

For all my love of Japanese sake, I’m not ready yet to completely forget my roots. When there is good wine around, I see no reason to ignore it.
I thought it might be a good idea to taste the wines (within reasonability) available in this part of Japan!

A great place to that is Lavigne in Shizuoka City, an off-the-track establishment which combines a shop and standing bar offerring exclusively French wines they have discovered and imported themselves. As I visit the place at least once a week for a quick glass, I fially took my pen and notes yesterday!

OC-3

Michel Dupont-Fahn is not an obscure wine maker in France and has incrasingly been praised for his somewhat extravagant single cepage Vins de Pays.
The wine I tasted last night reads as follows:
Vin Du Pays d’Oc
Domaine Dupont-Fahn, 2008, red
Cabernet-Sauvignon, 100%
Alcohol: 14 degrees proof
Vandange et trie manuellement/hand-picked and chosen

OC-2

Colour: very deep, rich red
Aroma: Clean, powerful. Dry cassis/red fruit
Taste: Dry, strongish attack.
Good body
Dry red fruit
Shortish tail
Sharpish and short tannic note
Strong dry finish

Solid in spite of its youth. Surprisingly well-balanced. Soft on the palate with food.
A wine for all seasons.
Needs a little aging.
Retailed at 2,780 yen, 30 US$ (quite steep for a Vin de Pays!)

LAVIGNE
420-0852, Shizuoka City, Aoi-Ku, Kutsunoya Cho, 17-2, 1F (2 minutes walk from JR Station)
Tel/fax: 054-205-4181
Opening hours: 11:00~22:00
HOMEPAGE (Japanese)

RECOMMENDED RELATED SITES:
Warren Bobrow
5 Star Foodie
Frank Fariello
Mangantayon
Cheese Monger
Rubber Slippers in Italy
Palate To Pen
Tokyo Foodcast
Urban Sake
Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass

Please check the new postings at:
sake, shochu and sushi

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Italian Restaurant: Aquavite (first visit in 2009)

aqua-09-61aqua-09-71
(pics by Haruka Yamaguchi)

Service: Excellent and very friendly
Facilities: great and very large washroom, great cleanliness overall
Prices: reasonable to expensive.
Specialty:Top-class Italian wines, Charcoal grill.

Last week was my first “visit” to this old favourite Italian Restaurant of mine in Shizuoka City, namely Aquavite.
A ever-solid reference, I have introduced it time and again, therefore I will keep to the basics, that is the food I enjoyed in the company of my good friend, Haruka Yamaguchi, who was kind to help me with the photographs!

aqua-09-2a
(Haruka Yamaguchi)

I’m slowly introducing my (young, and don’t start gossiping! I know her whole family!) friend to wine, and I’m sure that friends like Jen would approve! Haruka wanted white wine.
aqua-09-22
(Haruka Yamaguchi)
Aquavite had this (for a reasonable price!) 2002 Tenuta Castellino, Terre di Francia Acorta in Coccaglio (12.5 proof). Rowena, have you heard of it?
A very pleasant aroma of Muscat, dry and fruity was rediscovered in tasting it, fruity, dry flowery with a gentle lingering. Proved as soft, elegant and complex for the whole meal. Haruka was not holding up this time!

aqua-j-09-2

The first hors d’oeuvre was a succulent Iwate “Sanriku” Oyster served with just enough sesaoning.

aqua-j-09-3

The second hors d’oeuvre,”Shirako Gratin” did not make my friend blush! (“shirako” is what male cod fish are proud of!). Light, eminently tasty, I wish I could serve it online!

aqua-j-09-4

The pasta dish was a beautiful creation in its simplicity: Shizuoka-grown mizuna with “Taragani” Crab Peperocino Spaghetti!
Light, elegant and the perfect amount of spiciness!

aqua-j-09-5

Grilled scallops with mizuna and Parmeggiano. Need I comment?

aqua-j-09-6

The Milano Risotto and its Foie Gras! Perfect balance with a very light risotto and rich foie gras sauteed with balsamico!

aqua-j-09-7

Charcoal-grilled “Shamo Niwatori” Chicken (extravagant in Japan!) with grilled new potatoes and its ramequin of liver and heart!

aqua-j-09-8

And then it was time for dessert:
Tiramisu for me (let’s keep things simple! LOL)

aqua-09-9
(Haruka Yamaguchi)

Haruka kept very silent as she devoured her Torta di Bosaiola with prunes and nuts!

Well, well, where are going next (actually expect something soon about Italian Cuisine!)

Address: 420-0034 Shizuoka Shi, Tokiwa-cho, 1-2-7, Tomii Bldg. 3F
Tel. & fax: 054-2740777
Opening hours: 11:30~14:00 (on reservations only), 18:00~22:00
Closed on Sundays
Homepage (Japanese)
Credit Cards OK


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