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Posts from the ‘Wine’ Category

No. 351: Summer Drinks

Even though I only have two weeks left before I have to leave my beloved France, I am still trying to squeeze out every last bit of everything from everything I do. To paraphrase DuBose Heyward and George Gershwin,  “It is summertime and the drinking is easy,” or something like that. Besides being refreshing, these dandies are keeping the panic attacks at bay as we host our last visitors and I try to get through my ever-growing to-do list. Santé!

kir royale with some of my very favorite people...Kir royale. Pour 3 teaspoons (15ml) creme de cassis into each champagne flute. Top with champagne and serve immediately. Creme de cassis is a blood-red sweet liqueur made from blackcurrants.

…kir royale with some of my very favorite people…


Pour 3 teaspoons (15ml) creme de cassis into each champagne flute; top with champagne and serve immediately; creme de cassis is a blood-red sweet liqueur made from blackcurrants…

rosé is always a good idea…

beer plus lemonade…quite refreshing...

…panaché…beer plus lemonade…the perfect thirst quencher…

champagne or crémant, you can’t go wrong…

prosecco…bien sûr!


…et citron and pamplemousse pressés are the best cure for a hot summer’s day!

Qu’aimez-vous de boire quand il fait chaud?



Qu’aimez-vous de boire quand il fait chaud? What do you like to drink when it is hot?

No. 342: Arrivederci Tuscana

So long charming beauty,

cobbled streets, steep, stone stairways and solitary cypress.

À bientôt windswept hill towns,

vast valleys, medieval ramparts,

and burnt Siena edges.

Ciao for now silvered olive trees,

Romanesque chapels, streaming sunlight and painted sunsets.

Arrivederci aromatic Brunello and salacious Chianti,

already missing the rustic Italian good life and countryside pace…

No. 341: Tuscan Wines


On my short visit to Tuscany I have discovered many things to love, not the least of which are the wine, and the lovely and genuine winemakers and sellers we have had the pleasure of getting to know. I have entirely enjoyed the Chiantis and the Vino Nobile de Montepulciano. I think what makes Tuscan wine so divine for me is the whole experience: the luminous young grapes, the tidy, leafy vineyards and the rolling vistas that scatter their blues and greens like waves breaking on the sand. It is nice to take the time to really taste and chat and feel the harvest’s link with the land—to be in the moment and greet the terroir.


terroir: the complete natural environment in which a particular wine is produced, including factors such as the soil, topography, and climate. “Literal-minded fundamentalists love to call terroir the soil and climate of a specific vineyard, but in truth it’s about husbandry, about sensitivity to place and its careful management so that the best of things can be delivered of it.”

No. 327: Grapes


France’s Major White Grape Varieties

Grape Variety and Region(s)
Chardonnay: Burgundy; Champagne; Languedoc
Chenin Blanc: Loire Valley
Sauvignon Blanc: Bordeaux; Loire Valley; southwestern France; Languedoc
Gewürztraminer: Alsace
Pinot Gris: Alsace
Pinot Blanc: Alsace
Marsanne: Rhône Valley
Muscadet: Loire Valley
Riesling: Alsace
Roussanne: Rhône Valley
Sémillon: Bordeaux; Southwest France
Viognier: Rhône Valley; Languedoc

France’s Major Red Grape Varieties

Grape Variety and Region(s)
Cabernet Sauvignon: Bordeaux; Southwest France; Languedoc
Cabernet Franc: Loire Valley; Bordeaux; Southwest France
Carignan: Rhône Valley; Southern France
Cinsault: Rhône Valley; Southern France
Gamay: Beaujolais
Grenache: Rhône Valley; Southern France
Merlot: Bordeaux; Southwest France; Languedoc
Malbec: Southwest France; Bordeaux
Mourvèdre: Rhône Valley; Southern France
Pinot Noir: Burgundy; Champagne
Syrah: Rhône Valley; Southern France

Source: Grape Varieties Grown in France – For Dummies

No. 225: Un Peu de Hollande en France

The windmill in the Bois de Boulogne near the Longchamps racetrack.

The windmill in the Bois de Boulogne near the Longchamps racetrack.

The award winning flowering city of Créteil.

The award-winning flowering city of Créteil.

Bordeaux vineyard

Bordeaux vineyard



Un peu de Hollande en France: A little bit of Holland in France

No.216-218: Bordeaux: Boardwalks, Markets, and Spécialités


We are just back from our warm and relaxing trip to Bordeaux. I fell in love with la perle d’Aquitaine, as Bordeaux is known, and hope that sometime in my life I get to spend at least 365 days there. At the moment, it is the newest bee in my bonnet.


Bordeaux is France’s ninth largest city (with the sixth largest metropolitan area) and is the first French city Superman could see himself living in for the long-term. Three particular aspects of the city sealed the deal for us: the laid back, sporty, friendly and slow-speaking Bordelais(es), the fresh, multipurpose boardwalk, and the balmy, sunny weather.


We were lucky to stay in a riverside apartment with a terrace in the charming Chartrons district near the historic UNESCO World Heritage part of the city and found that its inviting squares, funky neighborhoods, and lively markets made it the ideal city to meander through both on foot and bike. The city, famous for wine, is like a fine wine itself, offering the perfect balance of ageless grandeur and architecture, fresh, modern tones and more than a hint of fruitiness and fun.


I posted earlier about what I’m calling Bordeaux’s Saint Marc’s Square, but is in fact called the miroir d’eau (water mirror). In my opinion, this central feature of the boardwalk lining the Garonne River is one of the most striking urban sites in France reflecting both the joyful heart of the city and the impressive Palais-de-la-Bourse. The boardwalk is a spot for young adults, extended families, casual wanderers and serious athletes all pulsing in sync. Rollerbladers duck and zoom, runners pant and croon, old couples hold hands and beam, youngsters scoot and skip, furry friends wrestle and romp, and vélos roll by, their cheery chimes announcing their approach.

The city boasts numerous outdoor cafés, lots of spots for picnicking, live music jams, colorfully clad open-air tangoing, first-class museums, gorgeous architecture, fresh seafood (yummy oysters) and haute cuisine, and of course, caves for tasting the region’s wine. There is also an excellent farmers market on Sundays (Marché des Quais) selling all the usual suspects along with some of the unusual and distinctively Bordelaise spécialités. Comme ça:


Farcou (herb pancakes) 3/5€ or 7/10€

Farcou (herb pancakes) 3/5€ or 7/10€


Kongloff…giant brioche cake with powder sugar

Kongloff…giant brioche cake with powder sugar

la petite croustades…filo, apples sauce and almond paste...

la petite croustades…filo, apples sauce and almond paste…



caneles de Bordeaux

caneles de Bordeaux

As you may have noticed, I am totally smitten with Bordeaux and this region of France. The sparkling pearl of Aquitaine has a little something for everyone and is quite effectively enticing this Parisphile south…





Bordelais(es): people from Bordeaux

caves: wine cellars, storage space

Comme ça: Like this:

la perle d’Aquitaine: the pearl of Aquitaine (the Aquitaine pearl)

spécialités: specialties




No. 213: The View Out My Window

Notre Dame à Bordeaux

Notre Dame à Bordeaux