Low temperatures in the Alsace

I think it is allways refreshing to travel in a classic wineregion and to travel as other travellers do, so not accompagnied by other winelovers, winemakers or, in general, one's own prejudices. This way I learned to appreciate the fresh vinho verde's of the Minho, straight from the farm, or the harsh cheap Cahors wines, so good with the local farmer's fare.

I passed through the Alsace twice this week and both times i stayed overnight at a Bib Gourmand (if you sleep well, you might as well eat well too) restaurant-inn, and in both places i ordered a pinot noir wine (well, it is winter, is it not ?).

To my surprise both bottles were served cold, straight from the fridge. I could understand this in the summer, and i occasionally order cold Beaujolais or Bourgueil wines myself when it's hot, but pinot noir ? Even the oaked one on the picture, by Jean Sipp, and a very nice one, came cold and in a cooler to keep it so. I asked one of the owners why, and he said it was just tradition (looking odd at me, the stranger...).

But, I have to admit, it does has something, and it suits the wines quite well. Very often i was by the way the only one drinking red, most locals had whites, even with a hearty meat-dish.

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By the way, I had a fantastic paté en croute as a starter and a wonderful dish of alsacian tripes, and the restaurant of the Auberge de l'Illwald is romantic and cosy. Nice rooms too. http://www.illwald.fr/fr/auberge.php

The pinot noir came from Jean Sipp, www.jean-sipp.com, was from 2009 and raised in barriques. Very well done, and alltough the oak was quite dominant, it was a very very nice wine, a bit untypical maybe, but great.




18:50 Gepost in Reizen | Tags: alsace, pinot noir | Permalink | Commentaren (0) |  Facebook | |


Chez Max, coiffeur pour hommes: 1990 Chinon

I have been eating in this place for a few years now (it used to called Bistro de la poste), initially for the magnificent offer in natural wines, but after one or two times also for the great food. Every time i come here the kitchen offers these great french countryside dishes like andouillette, boudin, pied de cochon or confit de canard, and thi is one of my great joys in life: eating this kind of hearty, "friendly" dishes, accompanied by good friends or beautiful women. Why this place is not stuffed with visitors I don't understand and at lunch time it often is quite empty. Maybe because of the remark on the website that you should make a reservation ? Anyway, if you are in the neighbourhood, this IS a fantastic place. http://www.chezmaxrestaurant.be/accueil.html

The winelist is a simple sheet of paper full of goodies for the lover of natural wines, and it offers this wonderful thing for the real aficionado: suprises ! This time i stumbled upon one of my wine discoveries of the year: a 1990 Chinon by Caves des Roches - Lenoir. What a wonderful bottle...6 years in casks, bottled in 1997 and they started selling only in 1998. Beautiful aroma, nice complexity, round and ripe and interesting, it was like having a conversation with a lady that has reached a certain level of wisdom and beauty: i give her about 40-45 years old (yes, you young blokes, they do improve with age...).


About the winemakers: nobody can explain it better than here, so I am not even trying: http://www.wineterroirs.com/2008/04/roches_lenoir.html 


Enruzado, Quinta dos Roques: memories about art and friends

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This picture was taken on the terrace of the Fundaçao Serralves in Porto, a very special place for me because I spent one of my most charming lunches ever there. After having walked in the beautiful park of the museum and having visited a temporary exposition about American artist Rauschenberg (is this art ? heavy discussions while walking...) we noticed that temperatures were mounting and when one of us spotted a table and some chairs on the terrace of the museum restaurant decisions were swiftly taken and before the staff could protest we were sitting and eating outside in the sun.

I still remember the wine, the Encruzado Quinta dos Roques 2003, my very first encounter with this grape. The circumstances were perfect, the food was simple and good, the wine lovely, the company perfect, and people passing by in the parc noticed our laughter and started joining us. An hour later the terrace was full. At the end of our meal, allready having finished five bottles and preparing to leave, the waiter came with a sixth one. It was the last they had, he said, and the owner offered it too us for free, he couldn't do anything with a single bottle. We guess he was happy with us giving the good example.

The shirt I wore that day came from the Palazzo Grassi in Venice, another museum for modern art (a must if you visit the town !). It shows a work by Piotr Uklanski that I liked very much.


And why this blog ? Well, I never met this wine after, until I stumbled on it last week in a Belgian supermarket (Delhaize). I'm drinking a glass of it now (it is after all an interesting and good wine, with that uncanny possibility of evolution that Portuguese whites often have), and as Lisa Sapienza once told me when I visited Benanti: We should drink wine to remember, not too forget.

Some links: