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Mike and Isabelle
Isabelle visited us today in the store. She is wonderful, gracious and passionate - not only about her wines, but life in general. As Mom used to say, "A good time was had by all."
Isabelle Morreau and guest at Le Pommier
Wow what a night! I hosted a group at Restaurant Le P (aka Le Pommier.) Personally my history with this comfortable French Bistro goes back twenty five years to when I first arrived in Pittsburgh. It’s great to continue the dining tradition of food and wine at Le P. The restaurant graciously assisted in hosting Isabelle Morreau, Export Attaché for Les Caves Monmousseau Cellars from Montrichard in Loire Valley. We started the evening with the Brut Etoile, a blend of 70% Chenin Blanc and 30% Chardonnay. We learned that Sparkling wines from the this region are second in popularity to champagne but that their sales are greater. The perfect way to start the evening in the French way. It was also great fun that one of our guests, Phillip was fluent in French. Isabelle further explained that sparkling Rose are gaining popularity in the United States. We plan to bring in theirs as soon as spring really arrives. Once guests were seated we started with a selection of hors d’oeuvres. Isabelle explained that with her wines there was no correct combination just to try all of wines with the foods since wines from this region are so food friendly. We started with the Chevrney, a blend of 70% Sauvignon Blanc and 30% Chardonnay. In this tiny appellation, AOC requires that the wine must be a blend of these two grapes. The light, crisp, dry delicate flavors, the perfect introduction. Next served was Vouvray, in a screw cap bottle made for the American market. Our guest explained that although they sell about 40% of their wines in France, the French will not accept this package. The screw cap was demanded for the US - therefore the same wine in two different bottles. Further she explained the cap has a fleer de lis since this is the area of the Kings. Due to the balance between a tender and very aromatic structure, and the elegant touch, it is a perfect wine to enjoy when you arrive home after a long day or the perfect complement to Blue Cheese.
The evening continued with a treasure. In 2001, the Monmousseau family sold financial control of their winery to Clos de Mosny from the duchy of Luxembourg. Therefore they now have access to the wines of Clos de Rochers and severed the Clos de Rochers Riesling 2004 (March Wine-of-the-Month). Isabelle explained the wine hierarchy and geography. For most guests it was the first experience with wines from this country since they are rarely exported. The wine style is a cross between Mosel Saar Ruwer and Alsace. This wine has finesse, clean style, and light mineral character. Though initially I was concerned about the age, the wine proved to be holding up well. We completed the tasting with a Chinon. The wine is 100% Cabernet Franc; Isabelle pointed out it has the classic aromas of violets and finesse, fleshy but elegant. This wine has a great structure.
Afterwards it was time for more food, wine and conversation. Once again the restaurant out-did itself. We trusted our friend Christopher, a regular visitor of Le P, to select dinner wines for our guest. From the list he discovered a Rose Anjou, a red Sancerre, and a bouguel St. Niclos. All went perfectly whether the guests were having the Cassoulet, or like myself the seafood sausage and butternut squash tart.
passionately loving my job - Mike
Pittsburgh Professional Magazine is devoted to the education, careers, and lifestyles of the business professionals who live, work, and play in Southwestern Pennsylvania. Deb and Mike have been asked to co-author a recurring articles about people and places in the wine world. Their first article about sparkling wines appears in the current issue. You can read the full article here. Info on the magazine is here.
This article made me laugh. French Health Minister Roselyn Bachelot has proposed a law that would ban free tastings, open bars and wine ads on the Internet. Should the law pass, wine would find itself tied up by many of the same restrictions as porn and cigarettes. Wine writers would be muzzled, and hardest of all, the current warning “drink with moderation” would be replaced with “the consumption of alcohol is detrimental to your health.” Parliament expects to vote on the law this week.
Read the full article here.
Last night I tasted some samples for our May or June wine-of-the-month club. Really enjoyed a bottle from Argentina - the Bonarda, 'Colonia Las Liebres', Altos Las Hormigas. Although originally an Italian grape variety from Piedmont and the Oltrepo-Pavese region, the Bonarda grape has enjoyed much greater success in the soils and climate of Argentina, where it is one of the main grape varieties grown. The wine is dense, inky, and purple, with a rustic, hearty juiciness, ripe acidity, and warm tannins - perfect for any meal and barbeques. Hope it's available!
OK. That's not really Isabelle, but I don't have a picture of her and couldn't find one on the google. I promise to take lots of photos tonight. Am stoked to taste some new Monmousseau wines, chat with the always entertaining Ms. Moreau, and share dinner with her at Le Pommier! Then on Saturday, Isabelle will be in our store at 1:30 for an open house. This is why I love my job.
Michal Kapral (aka the Joggler) is a senior editor for Captivate - one of my favorite new websites. He recently posted about wine trends for 2009. "You would think winemaking, which has been around for thousands of years, would remain fixed in tradition, resistant to the shifting winds of other industries such as fashion, music and art. But no, wine is now fully immersed in the marketing business, and its appeal among a younger crowd is really shaking things up. And that's probably a good thing."
Trends include:going green, alternative packaging, and the impact of the Millennials. Read the full story here.
Just found Heidi Yorkshire on wineanswers.com. She's great. We've been selling her books (Wine Savvy and Simply Wine) in the store for years. She thinks about the questions we're frequently asked and answers them in the simplest and most understandable of terms. She recently wrote about wine labels, what they mean, and why they are diffent for Europe vs. America. Great info.
Read the full article here.
When people are browsing through our retail store, they often ask what music is playing on the sound system. And we often get asked what music we play for an intimate wine dinner at home. So here's what we've been listening to lately.
Seal's Soul cd is awesome. Especially enjoy the song "It's Alright."
Greg Laswell's latest cd is great, and although it's not on the album, we absolutely love his cover of "Girls Just Want to Have Fun" which you can purchase on ITunes.
Check out "Start a War" from The National's cd Boxer.
Anything off of Pictures and Sounds' self-titled cd is awesome. (Deb really likes "100 Directions."
We're still loving "The Golden Floor" from Snow Patrol's A Hundred Million Suns.
Since we're always looking for music for our in-store listening and for dinners and tastings, let us know what you've been listening to.
This is exciting news.
On April 2 we welcome internationally renowned wine expert, better known as “The Wine Coach”, and author of The Sipping Point: A Crash Course In Wine, Laurie Forster for the fun and wildly informative special class “Weird Science: Food & Wine Reactions” at the
Laurie will begin with a lively discussion of how to taste wine, rather than just drink it. The process professionals use to taste wines will be reviewed, along with a number of interactive exercises to help participants truly understand tasting. The Wine Coach® will then help attendees discover how wine reacts with common food components like salt, acids, and fats. Attendees will interactively taste their way to understanding how to create great food and wine pairings every time. At least four distinctly different styles of wine will be sampled over the course of the event. Students will learn how to taste their way to perfect pairings every time!
A little background on Laurie: after a successful career in software sales, she decided she was ready for a life change. Working with a life coach, Laurie began to realize that her biggest passions for wine and people (you know we love a person with passion!) could be parlayed into a new career. In 2002, she began her wine career in
Laurie also trained at the Culinary Institute of America in
Concurrently, she trained as a life coach with Coach U, the leading global provider of coach training programs and is presently a member of the International Coaching Federation. Laurie is also dedicated to furthering her learning about wine by going to its source. Her extensive travels include visiting wineries and vineyards in
As The Wine Coach®, Laurie creates unique corporate team building events, group tasting seminars and culinary tours. She is dedicated to demystifying wine - one glass at a time, helping build successful teams as well as ensuring that everyone has an inspiring time at her events. Her seminars introduce would be oenophiles to the enchanting world of wine, while inspiring them to explore their own personal development goals, passions and purpose. She's a sparkling presenter, highly skilled at engaging every wine lover - from beginners to wine enthusiasts.
Laurie is a regular contributor to What’s Up Annapolis magazine, Eastern Home and Travel Magazine and other fine publications. She is a sought after speaker and guest expert on radio stations across the country. Her weekly radio show “Something to Wine About®” can be heard on WCEI 96.7 FM and WBAL 1090AM. Laurie also served as national spokesperson for the “Pour on The Joy” campaign sponsored by Lindemans® Wines where she helped people increase their happiness by making the wine-joy connection. Laurie’s first book The Sipping Point: A Crash Course in Wine, reflects her fresh perspective on wine education and has already received rave reviews.
Reservations for this unique and exciting event are required, and space is limited. Tickets are $35 per person, and can be purchased at our store
I am so excited about this event and hope you can join us for a fun and informative night.