Video – How to Read a Wine Label, the Douro Valley and Bourgogne

Sep 19, 13 Video – How to Read a Wine Label, the Douro Valley and Bourgogne

Posted by in All, France, Portugal, Videos

Two of my favourite wine regions in the world  are The Douro Valley in Portugal and Bourgogne in France. I have been invited to visit the region many times by various producers and generic wine bodies and some of my favourite visits have been organised by the Discover the Origin campaign. The aim of DTO is to explain the wines of the region to the uninitiated. The wines of Bourgogne are poorly understood and suffer sometimes from having wine labels that are incomprehensible to the average wine drinker. The wine labels are slowly changing to make it easier for wine drinkers to know what they are buying but it does take time. DTO have created this handy video guide to show you what you’re getting when you pick up a bottle of  Bourgogne. They’ve done the same for the wines of the Douro Valley. I adore the wines of the Douro but too many people I talk to think that only port wines are produced there. In reality, although they make excellent ports, the region also produces some fantastic and wonderful value for money red and white table wines. I hope you find the video informative and if you want to know anything more about these regions, don’t hesitate to drop me a line or visit the Discover the Origin website.     Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInPocketRedditGoogleTumblrEmailPrintPinterestLike this:Like...

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Video – Discover the Origin, Bourgogne

Sep 14, 13 Video – Discover the Origin, Bourgogne

Posted by in All, France, Videos

I visited Bourgogne not long ago and feel in love with the region. It’s a beautiful place, the rolling hills, small villages and of course the fabulous wines. My trip was sponsored by Discover the Origin and I recently received a video link from them which introduces the casual wine drinker to the region. I’m reposting it here because I think it’s a nice little ‘taster” of what you can expect when you visit Bourgogne.     Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInPocketRedditGoogleTumblrEmailPrintPinterestLike this:Like...

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A visit to Domaine Jean Francois Rapet ets Fils, Bourgogne

Jun 19, 13 A visit to Domaine Jean Francois Rapet ets Fils, Bourgogne

Posted by in France, Travel

I recently went to Bourgogne for the first time and have fallen in love with the place. I’ve always liked the wines but once you go there it does cast a spell on you. I suppose I was lucky that the weather was warm and sunny, which always helps! I was visiting on a press trip with the EU funded initative Discover the Origin and I can say I certainly did do a lot of discovery while I was there. We stayed in the northern part of Burgundy, being based in the pretty little town of Beaune. A medieval town that was founded centuries ago, it is the home of the Hospice de Beune and the centre of town is full of well preserved buildings. Wandering around the ancient buildings and the cute little town square, it was hard to drag myself away from the sidewalk cafes and get out to the vineyards but go we did. We visited quite a few domains while we were there but one of the first was Domaine Jean-Francois Rapet. This domaine has been in the same family since the 1870’s and the current generation of Rapet’s are carrying on the family traditions. It’s not a large domaine but still family owned and run. We visited their main house in St. Romain. They have vineyards in St. Romain, Volnay, Pommard, Auxrey-Duresses, Ladoix Blanc and Meursault. Rapet still use the old cellars underneath the family home and have a small winery which they are busy expanding at the moment. We had a small tasting after our short tour of the cellars. One of the more interesting wines was the Coteaux Bourgogne which was introduced in 2011. They use grapes from Beaujolais to round out their blend. Their rouge Coteaux Bourgogne 2011 is made in stainless tanks and doesn’t see any oak at all. They result is a cheerful, fruity wine meant to be drunk young. It had a savoury note to it but was still very fresh. They’ve only produced...

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In Bourgogne, Domaine Parent Pommard is going biodynamic

Jun 17, 13 In Bourgogne, Domaine Parent Pommard is going biodynamic

Posted by in France, Travel

I was in Bourgogne not long ago on a press trip with Discover the Origin, an EU initiative to introduce the well known but possibly misunderstood regions of Bourgogne, the Douro and Parma. During the trip, one of the producers we got to meet was Anne Parent, winemaker and part owner of Domaine Parent Pommard. The domaine is situated in the and around the village of Pommard and they make both red and white Bourgogne. We started our chat in the half empty cellars of the domaine. Anne apologised for the empty space saying that usually the cellar is full to the top but as the last few harvest have been bad in the region, stocks are low. She is concerned about the 2013 vintage and is hoping for a bumper crop because otherwise… The conversation then turned to biodynamic practices in Bourgogne. During the trip, I  had spoken to many producers and while many used biodynamic practices, Anne was the first one to tell me that she was actually in the process of going totally biodynamic. That is a brave thing to do in Bourgogne where the weather is not always warm and sunny and there are a myriad of issues that growers face every year. Anne told me that they are currently in the process of going biodynamic but it is a step by step process and they are not 100% there they are however, going to be certified organic this coming year. In 2010 they started their biodynamic policies but is has been a great challenge. However, she will not go back to chemicals or sustainable practices. She sees going biodynamic as an investment in the vineyard. To do that though,  they must have the right equipment and strategy. According to Anne, “…you have to think of the consequences of how you organize the vineyard, the work involved and the cost…” Working in a biodynamic vineyard is completely different in that you have to be precise and serious, she continued. You cannot make...

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Les Papilles – eating and drinking in Paris

Bistroy…Les Papilles – Restaurant Paris Les Papilles translates to “tastebuds” and this bistro is certainly focused on your tastebuds whether it’s for food or wine, they put as much care into one as the other. The philosophy of the venue is to “thrill your tastebuds” and besides being a bistro, they also double as a wine shop and delicatessen. At first glance, I thought it was a food shop but walking in, we encountered a full, bustling narrow dining area, on one side a long bar, on the other a wall of wine and in the middle a long row of tables for diners. They have an ala carte menu with classic French dishes, including foie gras and escargots as well as selections of ham to start and cheese to finish. The lunch menu is reasonably priced with most entrees €13 – €16. They also have a “retour du marche” menu which is the Chef’s seasonal menu. As I was with friends who speak French ( and I don’t), I didn’t know what was going on, but turns out we opted for the set menu (€33) of four courses, which was a lot of food! They do however, speak English and will cheerfully help you with both the food and wine lists. The fun thing about going to this bistro/winebar is that you can pick you bottle off the rows of wine lining the walls. They charge a modest corkage fee of €7 euros for a bottle off the wall with prices starting at €25. They do have house wines as well which start at €4.10 for a gls  and €13.50 for 50 cls.  The wines they offer are chosen to reflect their terroir and what they believe is the true character of the wines, so cue plenty of small producers alongside the more well known ones.  There is a wine list but we preferred checking out the bottles from the wall. After much browsing, we settled on a white Bourgogne to start and...

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