Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Working on a lengthy project on wine as always and searching for pictures and/or examples that I couldn't find on the internet I decided to draw them myself and share them with you.....this is just the beginning so it looks quite abstract.. but it is a start...

Friday, November 28, 2014

Third encounter.....

......when I opened my eyes.... I felt like my head was hurting, bumping....I couldn't remember where I was and when it was....all I remember is a very intense luminosity from above.... cutting me from the rest of the world....unable to distinguish my surroundings... I couldn't see well...blinded by the lights all around....the air was still....not a sound...I was against my will sitting on a dirt path somewhere....my left arm covering my face feeling like the lights were burning my skin...incapable of moving or talking....stock in this position....eyes looking up to try to define what was above me.....but the lights were too bright....what ever it was ...it was massive yet so close to me and the ground....soundless....hovering silently.....it was coming towards me.....

I started to see rays of lights, distorted shapes at first... like tiny bubbles or spheres spiraling down.....a yellow - white circle in the middle was staring at me....like a giant eye scrutinising every inch of my soul deep inside....then I felt like carried in the air by the lights up to this sort of eye ...like an opening.

....then I blacked out....that is all I can remember....was it a dream? But it felt so real....the sensations and emotions....the burned marks on my skin ....on my arms....my face....and this impression that I had lost track of time and reality....what was it?....these images are the only ones that repeatedly come back in my mind....and where am I? What is this place? Who are you people....?

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

1990 Domaine de la Romanee-Conti La Tache Grand Cru Monopole, Cote de Nuits, France

It has been more than year since my last post on my blog, and I have been immensely missing writing. As I do not have time to really mess around anymore and write super long, detailed post for now, I will just plunge directly into the main subject of interest for this blog: Wine!

And I will start by digging into some old notes that I always wanted to post but never really had the time to. Therefore, you may see a lot of various posts with wines that I tasted at different period of time, not necessarily in alphabetical or even chronological order. I wish I could have a website as organized and clean as eparker.com with listing and so on, but for now, I will just deliver these notes in a terrible mess and chaos, just as they come.....

1990 Domaine de la Romanee-Conti La Tache Grand Cru Monopole, Cote de Nuits, France (price range from 3,200-4,200 Euros a bottle)

Beautiful robe in the glass with a light, youthful, bright garnet color of medium intensity. Mushroom, earth, soil mingled with delicious red and dark cherry fruit aromas enhanced with floral notes. The palate showed well in terms of balance and overall structure, but seemed a little tired in terms of fruit and texture, tasting slightly older than it should, a bit faded. The finish also presented some sharpness that was a bit out of place. Tasted on 20.10.2012


Friday, March 22, 2013

Friday Tasting Session: Champagne again (who knew...?)

Friday Tasting Session: Champagne again (who knew...?)

NV Krug Champagne Brut Grande Cuvée NM Reims France

Over my 20+ years of experience buying, drinking and selling bubblies, I can say that I usually prefer RM (Recoltant-Manipulant) champagnes as they offer more character and personality. Yet, amongst the NM (Negociant-Manipulant) Champagnes, Krug is probably one of my favorite non vintage champagnes in the market, topping the list of my favorite drinks.  It parts from other champagnes for its consistency and quality, offering a smooth profile, elegant manners, racy attitude, well-balanced figures, lingering finish and an overall “lascive” appeal. I love it.  In terms of taste, it is very integrated and refine, with all element in harmony with each other. A must try Champagne, which is the result of a perfect blend of 120 reserve wines from 10 different vintages.

NV Charles de Casanove Champagne Brut Premier Cru RM Reims France

Coming after Krug, Charles de Casanove Premier Cru is definitely drier, leaner and seems to lack of acidity, minerality and smoothness. But the comparison is way too extreme, as we are talking about two totally different champagnes in every way: quality, price and taste. However, a blend of 50% Chardonnay and 50% Pinot Noir, this champagne has definitely drier characteristic and lack of body and texture overall. The dry finish is also short and lack a bit of fruit to compensate and add some volume to it. A persistent zesty lemon peel sensation in the back palate could have been more interesting, if it will have been less sour. Overall, it is not very harmonious and does not necessarily trigger my taste buds to try another glass. Shame, as I tasted better samples from this renowned champagne house.

We look into the fridge and found one more Champagne bottle to taste.

When I looked at the label, I said to myself: Champagne is or deadly for man or giving sparkling ideas to women about how to eliminate their husbands, as I'm just about to taste another Champagne from a widow that I never heard of before...

NV Veuve J. Lanaud Reserve Brut Champagne NM Avize France

A blend of Pinot Meunier, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, the traditional blend of the 3 most planted grape varieties in Champagne blended by the “Societe Avizoise des Vins de Champagnes” (which sounds more like a cooperation than a Negociant-Manipulant), this little champagne “de derriere les fagots” was a fantastic surprise. Fruity, soft, very easy to drink, not too complex but not lacking of interest or character or even personality, it offers nice flavors of yellow fruit like apple and pear, with a good dose of toasted, yeasty aromas mingling with mineral and slight floral nuances. The finish could use a bit more acidity to give it a kick and enhance its freshness; but overall really nice and friendly. This crowd pleasing bubbly good for any occasion won’t deplete your wallet.

LeDom du Vin

Friday, March 8, 2013

Friday Tasting: Tarlant "Cuvee Louis" Champagne Extra Brut Marne Valley France

Tarlant "Cuvee Louis" Champagne Extra Brut Marne Valley France

Founded in 1687, Champagne Tarlant is a classic Champagne house located in Marne Valley, more precisely in the little village of Œuilly about 14 kilometers north-west of Epernay and about 40 kilometers south-west of Rheims, the capitale of Champagne.

Tarlant has always been one of my favorite champagne houses, crafting medium to full bodied, complex and rich yet elegant and racy Champagnes from mainly Chardonnay and Pinot Noir planted on their 14 hectares spread out on 4 different "crus", with a total of 55 parcels located in the village of Oeuilly, Boursault, St-Agnan and Celles-lès-Condé.

The Tarlant family feels that it is particularly important that their wines reveal the diversity of the sub-soil, the vineyards and the blends of their estate. Each parcel posseses  its own identity and the various blends bring the complexity and uniqueness to each of the 11 different Cuvees produced.

Recoltant Manipulant (RM) and family run since its creation, Tarlant "savoir faire" consistency and quality were traditionally passed on to each generation with the will to do better than the previous one yet respecting the house taste, profil and character. Currently, Jean-Mary Tarlant represents the 11th generation. He crafted this particular "Cuvee Louis" Extra Brut, which has been named to pay hommage to Louis Tarlant, talented vine grower and winemaker as well as founder of the family estate.

From parcels of vines planted on chalky soil in a "lieu dit" called "Les Crayons", here are some technical facts about today's "Cuvee Louis":

  • A blend of 50% Chardonnay and 50% Pinot Noir. 
  • From 65 years old vines
  • A blend of various vintages: 1998 (about 80%), and 1997 & 1996 (for the remaining 20%)
  • Only issued from juice from the first fermentation in "Fût de Chêne" (oak barrel)
  • No Malolactic fermentation
  • Bottled in May 1999
  • Disgorged in March 2009
  • Roughly spent 10 years on its lees
  • Liqueur de dosage at 3g/L (3 grammes of sugar per liter)
  • Consequently classified as an Extra Brut
It also says on the back label that it could age further for more than 5 years. However, we are in 2013, and this Champagne is showing so superbly that it could last for another 10 years. I love it. 

Tarlant Cuvee Louis Champagne Extra Brut Marne Valley France

In the glass, it presents a very pale yellow color with light, bright golden reflects. The bubbles were slightly big at first while pouring it in the glass but rapidly became really small, numerous and fast. The nose is fragant, a touch rustic but in a good way, with yellow fruit and "fresh hay" aromas mixed with attractive yeasty, slightly toasted, brioche, mineral and floral notes. The palate is medium to full, rather rich, ample and complex with flavors of yellow fruit mingling with citrus zest and refreshing acidity to balance it. Harmonious, long, flavorful and superbly balanced, the finish is definitely calling for another glass; making this bottle hard to let go and to share. I highly recommend it. On its own or as an aperitif with canapes, but a more complex fish dish with creamy sauce will do more justice to this refined Champagne amateurs delight. And that cleansing, zesty citrus acidity is lingering as I'm writing these last few words, I love it. But this is not a surprise as Cuvee Louis is surely the best of their portfolio.  


LeDom du Vin

For more details, go their website at: http://www.tarlant.com 

Friday, February 22, 2013

Friday 22.02.2013 Tasting Session: Champagne

Friday 22.02.2013 Tasting Session: 


We tasted 2 small growers from Champagne:

Photo courtesy of www.thewinecollective.com until I post mine. 

1)  Jose Michel & Fils Champagne Brut Pinot Meunier Recoltant Manipulant (RM) a Moussy - Epernay

When pouring the mousse was a bit fat and soapy. However the bubbles in the glass were quite small, fast and numerous. The nose offered aromas of yellow fruit intermingled with yeasty, "briochées", buttery, toasted notes. No real floral or mineral notes as far as I could smell. The palate was rather light and not quite in harmony. The mousse was a bit soapy and fat (here again). Flat at first on the attack, it then developed slowly toward the mid-palate, with unfortunately bitter notes and pink unripe grapefruit like flavors (slightly puckering). Also flat, the finish faded rapidly due to lack of acidity to pick it up. This bottle even presented slight corkiness and metallic nuances that I could not detect until the end of the first sip. Shame, I will have really like to love this Pinot Peunier a bit more than that. The slight corkiness may indicates a bad bottle, maybe. But in terms of Champagne, I never give up, meaning that I will give another chance to this producer before finalizing my verdict. I need to say that I tasted better champagnes from this particular house.  

2)  Paul Bara Chamapagne Brut Reserve Recoltant Manipulant (RM) a Bouzy 

On pouring, the mousse was thinner than the first one. Paler than the first one, it showed really pale yellow-white nuances and multiple really "petite" bubbles. Yeasty with enjoyable toasted, brioche notes mixed with yeallow fruit, apple and pear aromas on the nose. The touch of minarilty and freshness with slight floral nuances were a brizz of fresh air compared to the previous champagne. The fresh, light, bright and crispy palate sparkled with predominant flavors of lime and lemon, very zesty. Well balanced and nicely crafted overall with a twisted lemon skin attitude from beginning to the end. Refreshing as an aperitif or / and with light hors d'oeuvres based with shellfish like fresh oyster. Quite long as I could still taste the finish as I was writing these lines while I had my last sip a few minutes ago. Gentle and easy to drink, this 100% Pinot Noir is not the most complex champagne but it is definitely refined, very enjoyable and easy to come back to, but this is only my opinion, as some of you might prefer a richer and bolder taste. However, I need to admit that I prefer my champagne zesty, fresh and delicate, like a ballerina gently hovering on your taste buds, rather than a fat, buttery and oaky, overly built bubbly.


LeDom du Vin

To be continued...

Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year 2013

As today is the last day of this year 2012, I just wanted to wish you all the best, health and success for the New Year 2013. 

Happy New Year 2013

And to bring you one last 2012 smile, 
I'd like to share a few intriguing signs found here and there around Hong Kong.

I'm confused? No Cigarettes, only Pipes allowed?.....

How can children play and have a good time outside with so much restrictions in most public parks around town? More especially, if they can't "No Drying of Linen and clothing" and "No hawking"....

Obviously kids who smoke when they play with their "Remote-Controlled Model Car" must be a big problem in Hong Kong, as it is very often the only sign covered by the "No Smoking sign" on the board (see both above pictures)...

Hey! How did that happen? The "No Smoking sign" is now incorporated with the other "No" signs.
What about a bit less restrictions for kids who wants to play in the parks as they are the only gardens and green playground they can have due to Hong Kong lack of space and activity areas? 

Traditional typo....

Hawking anyone?

Happy New Year 2013
LeDom du Vin   

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Tasting Session with Bertrand Demontoux portfolio

This an old post that I totally forgot to publish, so here it is. Bertrand, I hope you are well and New York is treating you good.

Tasting Session with Bertrand Demontoux portfolio  

I have known Bertrand since I've worked in PJWine.com, let's say at least for 5 or 6 years, may be more. During that time, I saw him evolved from fresh French salesman and brand manager representing Jaillance to constituting his own portfolio and now having his own distribution company.

He is not even 30 and has already embraced the New York city mantra: "If I can make it there, I can make it anywhere."

For the past two years, he put most of his efforts, time and more especially savings into that project. Traveling various regions of France during his spare time to find the right producers, and the most expressive, balanced, Terroir oriented wines with excellent quality / price ratio.

Tall, always put together and formally dress, Bertrand has a taste for quality, refinement and elegance, which is reflected in all of his wines and their labels that he even took pride to redesign himself, for better consistency, image and presentation. And it works pretty well, I must say. Even customer's comments and fee back regarding his wines and labels are full of praise.

Bertrand is now part of these small importers / distributors who have flourished over the last 4-5 years and enabled New York to become one of the greatest wine cities, or should I say "Vinocity, of the world, by offering more eclectic and esoteric wines from smaller, more artisanal, often Organic, Biodynamic, Lutte Raisonnee and / or sustainable producers and wineries, located in previously little known, poorly regarded or rarely mentioned as well as up-and-coming viticultural areas of both world.

He passed by the other day with 6 wines and I need to admit that I liked all of them. His portfolio is rather small for now, but the producers and their wines have been chosen very carefully for their balance, elegance, focus, complexity and Terroir characteristics. Moreover, they are all Natural wines (Bio or Organic or Lutte Raisonnée or Sustainable).

Here are a few of the wines that we tasted that day:

2010 Clos des Augustins Pic Saint-Loup Rosé Languedoc France 
Suggested retail price $14-$16
Imported / distributed by Bertrand De Montoux

60% Cinsault and 40% Grenache. Biodynamic and vinification in cement tank. Clean, soft, unctuous, creamy, mouth coating yet bright and crisp due to refreshing acidity; excellent balance, long, mineral, a touch spicy on the finish. Beautiful texture and acidity and focus. Great quality / ratio wine from an appellation lesser known to the US market. Very nice. (more info at www.closdesaugustins.com)

2010 Château d'Anglès La Clape Rosé Classique Languedoc France
Suggested retail price $14-$16
Imported / distributed by Bertrand De Montoux

80% Mourvedre, 10% Syrah & 10% Grenache. Lutte raisonnée, cuve beton (cement tank), from  La Clape, which one of the best appellation of Languedoc, located east of Narbonne, regrouping about 20 wineries sharing the "Montagne de La Clape" directly facing the Mediterranean sea. The wine is produced by Eric Fabre, ex-Technical Director of Château Lafite Rothschild, which says it all. Light melon color, fragrant nose, the palate is textured, oily, mineral, long, lot of depth and complexity. Lovely well crafted wine. (more info at www.chateaudangles.com)

2009 Domaine des Pierrettes "Element Terre" Sauvignon Blanc Rilly-sur-Loire France by Geffard et Guilbaud
Suggested retail price $12-$15
Imported / distributed by Bertrand De Montoux

100% Sauvignon Blanc. Lutte raisonnée, produced by Vicent Guilbaud et Cyril Geffard, who learn some of their skills at Domaine Pierre Luneau-Papin. 18 hectares of vines. Very crisp, soft, light, good acidity, mouth coating, ample, excellent balance with a lot of character. limey, crispy finish.  Lovely. (more info at www.domainedespierrettes.fr).


LeDom du Vin

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Thinking out loud.... Boozeday: a Mayan Calendar misinterpretation

(presumably) Acan - Mayan God of wine

Boozeday: a Mayan Calendar misinterpretation (a good occasion to unveil some of our stashed wine gems).

As we are coming closer to the fatidic date of December 21st and the misunderstood and misinterpreted message from the Mayan calendar supposedly announcing Doomsday or/and the end of the world, I think it is about time to think about opening some of these precious bottles stashed away for better occasions, and rename that day: Boozeday!

My view is the positive one:

Such occasion to celebrate may not happen again (or will it?). Wait a minute, the end of the world has already been predicted many times over since the middle ages and more especially over the last few centuries and so far we are still here. It was even supposed to happen last year in October, and some new source says that it won't happen this year but in 30 years from now.

Moreover, depending on certain calendar depending on tradition, culture, religion and belief, the year 2012 from the Gregorian Calendar (Western or Christian calendar), which is the most internationally accepted as the civil calendar, corresponds to another year. So how can we be so sure about the interpretation of ancient hieroglyphs pointing at the end of a Mayan calendar dating back from 1,300+ years earlier discovered about 40+ years ago?

Chichen Itza Mayan Temple (that my wife and I visited during our honeymoon)

Well, some interpretations talk about doomsday, the end of the world as we know it: planet crashing against the earth, giant meteorite encounter or even the lining up of all the planets in our solar system and all the consequences that may result from it. Some even push the theory of Aliens visiting earth (again? anyone wants to meet in Bugarach?). But other versions, more optimistic, favor the probability of a conscious awakening of mankind, an enlightenment, a considerable change for the better. And I tend toward the latter.

After all, what is the end of the world and how can we really interpret it? For some people that have been the victims of wars, genocides, famines, diseases, contagions and natural catastrophes, the end of the world already came. Think about it. They lose their family, friends, houses even their hopes and dreams. Despite some help from the local community and benevolent people, certain Governments and some ONG and other Foundations, they lost everything they knew and love.    

So, I'm hoping for a considerable change for the better. A better understanding of our world as a whole, not necessarily divided anymore by greed, envy, power, politic, money, religions and races. A needed step to move forward and end the non-sense that we can witness everywhere, everyday. A better comprehension of our different cultures and traditions and what we can learn from them to satisfy our needs and preserve our world.

And for that we need common sense, intelligent reflexion on solutions rather simply pointing at the problems and more especially a lot of people that are willing to change things, rather than just a minority as it is the case presently. But we also need the best friend of men for the past 4000+ years: wine.

Wine as always been present and fervent actor of some of the most historical decisions ever made in the history of mankind. Beer and other spirits like Vodka, Gin, Whisky, Bourbon, Pisco, Mescal, Tequila, Rhum, Sake and other Jiu, may have had an invaluable influence too on the greatest minds of our times.

It was customary for the Egyptian. Greek and even the Roman Empire to consume an insane amount of wine apparently, embedded in their culture, tradition and life style. As a proof, one can also come to realize that the Roman Empire boundaries stopped were they couldn't produce wine (due to the climate, geography, etc....). And I will pass on the chapter of Christianity and the knowledge of the monks perpetuating the planting of vines and thus the production of wine everywhere they went for the purpose of the church as the sacramental wine, their own and their landlords consumption and the undeniable impact on western world and overall modern civilization up to these days.

In any case, end of the world or not, let's take that opportunity as an excuse to invite and gather with friends and family to enjoy a great meal and open some great bottles of wine. Because, if the end of the world happens then you will have had a great time enjoying a gargantuan meal with some of the greatest wines that you stashed away for special occasions. And if we all happen to survive until the 22nd, then the only thing worth remembering will be that you had a great time (maybe a great hangover too) and life can continue.

Yet, it may have made you realize something else too (conscious awakening anyone?). And when I say you, I'm not talking about you only, but us all, to realize that we definitely need that change to happen, and from a simple theory transform it into a reality. Men finally coming to their senses to realize that something grandiose and meaningful needs to happen for the good of the human race: turn the page, forgive and forget the past and look toward the future by learning from our mistakes and go forward at  a more peaceful and creative pace, rectify our behaviors and open our minds.  

And the only thing that can really open our minds is wine. Wine makes you usually happier, more confident, gives you a spark of freedom of speech and invigorate your ideas and dreams. As it has been said for centuries, wine, more than any other alcoholic beverages, basically untangles your brain and tongue.

Doesn't he look thirsty with his tongue out?
He could use a good glass of wine  or some Mescal for sure ...

Whatever you may do on the 21st of December of this year, make sure a glass of wine is not too far to quench your thirst (whatever thirst that is). Some may think about having their greatest meal, watch their favorite movies or TV series; some will go to a concert or a party; some will think of the most intense sex endeavors, some will think about their past, the best moments and memories of their life; some will try to go to their favorite places; some will be surrounded and some will be alone; some will be sad, depressed and afraid; some will even think the worst as we can already witness all over in the news.

However, whatever you decide to do on that day and whatever may happen (that is if something really happen, but I don't think so), whatever will come after will and need to be better in any way, shape or form. It has to be a day of reflexion upon ourselves and our actions in our everyday life, with ourselves and with others.

A chance to gather with the ones we love and the things that have a sentimental meaning for us, and to understand what is important in our life. What do we want to do with our life? And what can we do to make it better?

And what better than a day spent talking freely, putting our cards on the table, opening up and discuss, confront each-other with the things that we always wanted to say or do, complemented by a nice glass of Jaja (French slang for wine).

Of course, you don't have to wait for the 21st to do that, but on that day, a least you will have a good excuse to do it. We all need an excuse for everything, isn't it right?

I could continue to bore you with my philosophical and spiritual way of thinking, or even develop on the great job that producers using sustainable, organic, biodynamic, Fairtrade and other Natural and "good for the people and the world" culture (and not only wine producers) achieve everyday all around the planet (as I did in many of my previous posts); or even talk to you about all the initiatives taken by millions of people everyday to make that world better, but I think that is enough for this post.

So, stay tune for more thoughts and notes on wine and life in general, and soon with the selection of wine that I may or could drink on Boozeday!

Live and drink responsibly with the respect of others and the environment. There are nothing more important than family and friends, and live a positive life the way you can with what you have.

Oh, by the way, before I forgot, there is a new French book that just came out about people that take good initiatives, it is called: Un Million de Revolutions Tranquilles by Bénédicte Manier.

I highly suggest it for those of you who can read French (no translated English version yet, I don't think). It is very informative, educational, interesting and eyes-opening in many ways.


LeDom du Vin

Step into the Green! Drink more Biodynamic, Biologique and Organic wines and spirits and food) from sustainable and natural culture and respect the environment! Support the right causes for the Planet and all the people suffering all around the globe! Also follow projects and products from the Fair Trade, an organized social movement and market-based approach that aims to help producers in developing countries to obtain better trading conditions and promote sustainability. Also support 1% for the Planet, an alliance of businesses that donate at least 1% of their annual revenues to environmental organizations worldwide. "Commerce Equitable" or "Fair Trade" is evidently and more than ever a needed movement connecting producers and customers, to be aware of others and their cultural and traditional products based on high quality, natural components and craftsmanship.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

2009 Cloudy Bay "Te Koko" Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough New Zealand

2009 Cloudy Bay "Te Koko" Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough New Zealand

Who has had a taste for the extraordinarily complex and rich Pouilly-Fume wines that late Loire Valley wild boy and Sauvignon Blanc Icon Didier Dagueneau used to craft, will love Te Koko.

I had the pleasure to meet Didier at a few tastings back in the mid 90's and will never forget these brief yet memorable encounters. Wherever you are now, I'm sure you continue to craft wonders in your very unique style characteristic of your personality. Hommage a toi Didier, the wine world misses you and your gems.

"The grapes were harvested in the cool of night to preserve fruit flavor and loaded immediately into the presses. After settling the juice for a period of two to three days, the juice was racked directly to French oak barrel (less than 10% of which were new) and allowed to undergo a slow wild or “natural” fermentation. The primary fermentation, which took until December (8 months) to complete in some batches, was followed by a spontaneous malolactic fermentation. The wine was left in barrel on yeast lees until October 2010, when it was racked and lightly fined for clarity. The wine was bottled mid November." - Courtesy of http://www.cloudybay.co.nz

Behind its clear, clean pale yellow robe with greenish nuances, Te Koko 2009 presents a nice, clean and aromatic nose full of mineral, floral and slightly oaky notes mingling with zesty white and yellow fruit. Lovely and expressive despite the woody hints which are quite present yet well integrated to the other aromas. At first, in the palate, it almost feel like a white Burgundy somewhat similar to those of Domaine Leflaive, yet with a touch less mineral, but with ripper fruit. The rich texture is definitely reminiscent of a good and ample Pouilly Fume. The mineral and acidity balance well the voluminous mid-palate and gently extend towards the long finish.  Loved it. (Tasted 2.11.2012)


LeDom du Vin