Posts tagged France

3 Ways to Extend Summer in your Glass: Part 2, the Cocktail

When the warmth of the sun banishes autumn’s cool air, and the evening is just beginning, here is the second of three suggestions on what to pour into your glass to extend the feel of summer.
The day I got a bottle of G’Vine Floraison gin I took it to a cocktail party and my friend Marti was already there using her own bottle to make French 75s – way to go, Marti!
This is a lighter gin, tending toward complex and floral, and it comes from France’s Cognac region.
g'vine ginG’Vine is made with the same grapes used in cognac – as well as a distillation of the grape flowers, and other botanicals like coriander, cassia bark (aka cinnamon), peppery cubeb berries, green cardamom, licorice, ginger, nutmeg , lime and a bit of the classic juniper for flavoring, too.
More delicate than many gins, this has aromas evocative of flowers and fruits more than the tanginess usually associated with gin. Simply combine it with lime and tonic for a summery G&T.

3 Ways to Extend Summer in your Glass: Part 1, The Aperitif

While the golden light of autumn slants through the trees, we are reluctant to give up the warmth and relaxation of the summer. So here is the first of three suggestions on what to pour into your glass to extend the feel of summer.
The Golden Aperitif: 2010 Jean de Lillet
LilletMoving toward golden autumn moments, this is the time to sample the 2010 Jean de Lillet, a slightly more substantial version of the classic French aperitif called Lillet. (These are both Lillet blancs.)
The vintage 2010 Jean de Lillet is richer, with additional complex flavorings from its longer ageing. In fact, I found (in an anecdotal sample) that those of us who don’t drink Lillet very often liked the Jean de Lillet better. In this 2010 vintage, the orange flavor grows, encompassing all aspects of the fruit, from bright juice to aromatic oils. Yet it finishes light and more dryish than supersweet.lillet poster-7
However, at my little tasting, the one long-standing Lillet fan among us stayed true to her original lov, classic Lillet, buoyed by many great memories from France – and I have to respect that.
DOING GOOD: Lillet has just partnered with designer Catherine Malandrino and 100% of the proceeds from the sale of their unique tote bag goes to the non-profit Women Thrive Worldwide “to bring the voice of women around the world directly to decision-makers in Washington, D.C.” Malandrino bag for Lillet

Merlot: First taste of 2011 Bordeaux wines from the Right Bank

When I taste wines like this, I’m reminded why we all fell in love with Merlot. Years ago, that is. Before it got stupid, before it got flabby and boring. Bordeaux’s Right Bank wines are the best examples of this.
Without getting into detailed tasting notes, I can say that these wines are consistent: tasting the wines now and those from a few years ago shows once again that these chateaux are true to their own styles, whether it’s a blockbuster vintage or not.
Circumventing the big show of barrel tastings in April, this month some of Bordeaux’s Right Bank wineries came to New York with their new and recent vintage wines. Held at the French Consulate, it was a big draw: a club-like line to enter, in mid-afternoon on a weekday – and that was just for the media.
Last year I went to the rigorous, day-long Cercle Rive Droite tasting in Bordeaux. This year my tasting in NYC was a little more relaxed, with only a few dozen participants on hand. As you might already know, 2011 was a difficult year, and I was curious to see what the wines were like. Or rather, what they seemed like they would be like in the future.
Fortunately, the chateaux owners had also brought some recent vintages to taste the barrel samples against. What I found was remarkable consistency. A 2011 barrel sample tasted next to 2008 of the same wine was heading in the same direction, with similar fruit, spice and other characteristics. The winemakers had pulled it off; no need to fear the 2011s.

Eating barrels of Fries-Frites-Chips

2 weeks of non-stop french fries — aka frites aka chips! That’s what I did on my summer vacation in the north of France and the south of England. With salt, with ketchup, with mayonnaise. Because it was during a heatwave, miraculously all the calories evaporated!