Yesterday afternoon we tasted through samples for our upcoming April Futures issue. The lineup included rosé, red, white, and sparkling, made from a dozen different grapes, grown in five different regions. It was an exciting whirlwind of flavors, textures, and profiles -- a reminder of the remarkable variety of French terroir.
In 1895 Paul Cezanne was awarded his first solo exhibition at the tiny Gallérie Vollard on the Rue Laffitte in Paris. The 150 paintings were a revelation to artists and collectors, and secured Cezanne’s place as a leading painter of the time. But despite his first real commercial success, Cezanne, then 56, returned to live his final decade in his beloved Provence
Sweet wines are rarely the focus of our posts. They can be tricky to pair with foods, and the market for them is modest in the US. But everyone should have at least one dessert wine in their arsenal; and if it’s going to be just one, it should be Sauternes.
Chardonnay is a chameleon. It grows nearly everywhere, and takes on the character of wherever it’s planted. It also means different things to different people. In the new world, a glass of Chardonnay is typically rich, buttery, and mouthfilling. In the old world, words like crisp, dry, light, and (sometimes) toasty are more accurate.
The Rhône Valley is a vast French wine-growing region, second only in size there to the Languedoc. Covering 175,000 acres and producing over 400 million bottles annually, there is tremendous variation among wines from the region. Even within the entry-level appellation “Côtes du Rhône,” 21 grape varieties are permitted, and styles range from hearty and dark to fruity and light.
We always enjoy hearing the stories behind vineyard names in France. Many refer to local geography, history, or flora, and often predate the vineyards themselves. Meursault’s “Ormeau” and “Genevrières” are named for the elm trees and juniper bushes that were once grewplanted there. Chassagne’s “Vide Bourse,” which translates roughly to “empty purse,” is found at the crossing of two ancient roads where highwaymen once lurked.
You know it’s been a long winter when 45 degrees and sunny makes you reach for your shorts. While we’re certainly not out of the cold just yet (another wintery mix for Boston this weekend), the last few days were a pleasant reminder that spring is around the corner. We can almost smell the grill heating up.
In 1787, Thomas Jefferson visited Burgundy, recording his favorite wines in a journal: Chambertin, Romanée(-Conti), Clos Vougeot, and Montrachet. Jefferson was neither the first nor the last to recognize the greatness of Montrachet, and today most consider it the finest white wine vineyard in the world.
We’re often asked, “So what do you drink when you’re not drinking wine?” Portland Maine is a veritable breeding ground for startup microbreweries, and we certainly enjoy a local pint here and there. We’ve been known to sip gin and tonics in summer (T10 or Beefeaters), manhattans in winter (insert intrafamilial whiskey debate here), and Johnnie Walker Black as an occasional family tradition.
Stroll through any parking lot in Portland (or any New England town) and you’re bound to come across half a dozen circular green “Eat More Kale” bumper stickers. Whether or not Whole Foods is in cahoots with the author of this directive, they’re certainly doing their part in helping us all carry it out.
White Burgundy is one of the world’s finest products -- as Rajat Parr puts it, “the apotheosis of the Chardonnay grape.” Nowhere else in the world is white wine elevated to such exalted heights. Prices for famous white Burgundies -- Corton-Charlemagne, Montrachet, Meursault -- reflect their scarcity and desirability.