Outside of the glamour appellation of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, there are numerous domaines in the southern Rhône that produce wine in relative obscurity. Many of these lie in the broad Côtes du Rhône and slightly more specific Côtes du Rhône-Villages appellations.
If I wanted a politician to legislate what I eat, I wouldn't live in the United States. The suddenly trendy concept of banning foie gras seems to be gaining steam—now a New York City councilman is considering introducing a bill to ban the delicacy.
It's become my favorite holiday of the year. An unabashed, fully approved, four-day eating fest. And enough wine to accompany it all, of course. At my house, the menu is fairly traditional—turkey, with a cornbread and chorizo stuffing.
Well, after we finished eating at our favorite local sushi joint last night, we stepped outside into a driving rainstorm. So we bagged it and called it a night without shleping over to the movies. I think we're leaning toward Borat though, as the wine flick is getting roundly drubbed everywhere.
Every Thursday is my "date night." Nancy and I keep the nanny late, and we go out just by ourselves, no kids. More often than not, it's dinner and a movie. Since our cinematic tastes are rather different, we used to alternate choices as a compromise.
La Beaugravière delivered fine back-to-back performances. A gateau de foie gras with truffle sauce to start, followed by an egg soufflé with truffles and a ’96 Paul Coulon & Fils Châteauneuf-du-Pape Domaine de Beaurenard white—a perfect match.
Spent the day in Châteauneuf-du-Pape again today. Unlike the chilly north, the weather down here is almost summer-like—the temperature was over 70 degrees today, and the terrace at La Mere Germaine was filled up for lunch.
I left Condrieu and drove down south this morning to Châteauneuf-du-Pape. The drive is a bit of a drag—a little less than two hours and no vineyards from Valence until you hit CdP itself. You know you’re close though when you see Mornas, the ruins of a rugged, 11th-century castle that sit atop a striking white cliff face.
All this Côte-Rôtie is hard work. So I started my last day in Ampuis with a visit to some white wine producers—Château-Grillet and André Perret. Château-Grillet is a bit of a ghost wine. A property that is its own appellation (à la Romanée-Conti or Coulée de Serrant), it sits in a perfect spot in the heart of Condrieu, with ideal exposure and fine-grained, sandy, granite soils that every vigneron in the appellation drools over.
Sigh. Just another day in Côte-Rôtie. I started at one of my favorite domaines, R. Rostaing. And for the first time, I actually preferred the Côte Blonde cuvée to La Landonne—in the 2004 vintage).
The last two days I have been in Côte-Rôtie and Condrieu, with a few more days still to come. The 2005 reds are superb young wines, with big tannins and lots of ripe fruit. It’s going to be a great vintage for cellaring.
I guess you could call it a journey of self discovery, even though it only took less than two hours. It was the end of a long day, and I was sitting alone in the dining room. The object was to have a quick bite and finally get some rest for a change, as opposed to the five or six hours of very restless sleep a night I’ve been getting on this trip.
I finally got my first real truffle fix of the trip, with a gouda soufflé topped with black truffles at Pic. That definitely moves the needle up a touch. How's the wait for truffles going on that side of the pond? Do any of you have any special plans for when they get there? The weather here was beautiful my first two days—warm and dry with little wind.
We were rummaging around in Jean-Luc Colombo ’s cellar, trying to find something to go with the grilled entrecote du boeuf that was being served for dinner. Well, I was in Cornas, so why not an older Cornas, I suggested? I should’ve bit my tongue, since Jean-Luc decided to go old-school on me, and show me a bit of Cornas history.
Today was another day of Cornas and Hermitage. I started at Domaine Courbis whose ‘05s are looking very good—in particular, Laurent Courbis’ Cornas La Sabarotte , a plush, smoky powerhouse filled with iron, olive and spice flavors.
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