Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Bontemps de Bordeaux wine!

Later on the same day, Jean Michel Cazes initiated Jean Pierre into the Commanderie du Bontemps. This is a sort of wine club that has its origins back to the Moyen Age. When the members came out in their colorful robes, I felt like I witnessing the revival of the the Da Vinci Code trilogy rather than to a wine aficionado club. In any case, it was entertaining to see Jean Pierre perform the wine ceremony with humor and dignity.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

The Irish are coming........

The next day after another hearty meal in Bordeaux, Jean Michel Cazes took us on a tour of the Lynch-Bages winery. It was in full working force since the wine vendage was done a week ago. Red opaque liquid was pouring out several steel vats like a Roman Bordeaux bath house. Mr Cazes told me that this was going to be a very special year in Bordeaux. The grapes were as plump and juicy as in many great vintages. As we walked besides the steel containers, I could smell the pure sweet raison awaking my senses. Jean Michel handed me a glass of the grape juice that is destined to become a great Bordeaux. It tasted like warm sweet wine sans alcohol laced with pure tannin. Absolute anti-age tonic in a mouthful! And to think it may have been one of my Irish ancestors who helped founded Lynch-Bages. My grandfather Sullivan's mother maiden name was Lynch. Thomas Lynch made his way to Bordeaux in 1691! Then, to round out the Lynch dynasty, there is my favorite wine transporter and bon vivant, Kermit Lynch. That is a good enough excuse to drink a little bit more of this red nectar...I have it in my blood!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

MicMac mixes with Bordeaux Wine

What does Bordeaux wine have in common with the movie industry? 'Bon vivant' is what come to mind. Jean Pierre and I are invited to stay at the Lynch-Bages estate while promoting his latest film, Mic Mac. I do not follow Jp everywhere during promotion since it is completely exhausting, but being the wine lover that I am, I cannot deny the experience to learn more about my favorite vice.
I am more of a Cote du Rhone girl when it comes to my wine preference.I want a wine that does not punch me in the face with 'gobs of fruit' and high alcohol content.I want to taste the earth and be flown to another world. I am mystified by Burgundy wine and all its subtle terroir and family feuds. What do I know about Bordeaux wine? Not much but I am open to learn and explore this vast wine region that I refer to as Robert Parker/Michel Rolland territory.

When I first arrived in Paris in 1999, I favored Bordeaux wine since it was the closet thing to what I had already known and tasted in California( using Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot cepage) That all changed with my first glass of Volnay or Cote Rotie. When Jp and I were married in 2001, we shared a many bottles of our favorite Cote Rotie 1997. I fell in love with the mysterious tone of these wines that were not like anything I had ever tasted before..I caught whiffs of truffles, tobacco, and pepper in my glass...Fast forward to Pauillac, 2009.

Jean Pierre and I are invited to have lunch with Lynch- Bages owner and winemaker Jean Michel Cazes who treats us not only to his superb wine but to the haute cuisine of Thierry Marx( who has a canny resemblance to Bruce Willis!) Jean Michel is so gregarious and pure passionate fun when it comes to his wine and to films. He is a true bon vivant. Jean Pierre and I feel very much at ease in his universe. Salut Bordeaux!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


If you were to die and go to heaven, where would that be?....Well, if you love shoes and other accessories that would be the Atmosphere Salon in Paris. One enters the tents and is suddenly taken away to another world...an universe of the next collection for jewelry, shoes, handbags, belts, and other fashion accessories. I was taken aback by the plethora of material....tons of beautiful things crying to be touched and tried on. I ran into my friend, designer Yaz Bukey. I have to walk ten minutes to finally reach her stand of Plexiglas Jurgen Teller and handsome Karls. After 45 minutes in heaven, I have to exit to find a toilet ( bad news, no toilets in heaven). I am spellbound by the quantity of luxurious frivolous....Je t'aime Paris

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Back to the City of Light

When I arrived back in Paris, it was just the beginning of fashion week so there were a few cocktail parties and defiles to attend. I stopped by to see Olympia Le-Tan's new handbag collection. Olympia told me that she was inspired by her collection of first edition books. Her clutches were more like embroidered pieces of art. I guess it looks more mysterious to have a book in one's hand than the latest it bag.

Monday, October 12, 2009

A grand farewell....

On our way to drive over the Italian alps to France today....Mario and Silvia had a big breakfast spread for us. She made a delicious soft cake with fruit from her uncle's recipe. Mario climbed on the roof and picked off some figs for our trip. It was quick our sejour but mario and Silvia really impressed JP and I with their way of living.....back to nature.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Walk in Italian nature and art...

We spent most of the day taking long walks around the vineyard and the surrounding rolling hills. Everything was still green from the recent rain. I felt like I was more in Bali, Indonesia than Northern Italy. When we arrived back at the B&B, Mario gave us a tour of his other passion, pottery. He uses the same technique as they did in the Middle Ages. He is part of an artist community that promotes art installations in nature rather than in a stuffy gallery with artificial light source. Mario even makes his own soap to benefit his art installations.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Vine, vino, vin.....

The first thing Mario does when guests arrive at Il Bosso delle Terracotte is pour them a glass of his home made wine. I found it to be very young and well, tart. Jp said it was too 'wild' for his taste. I tend to think things taste better when they are home made no matter how bad they may be. Maybe it has to do with the less added preservatives or sulfites. In any case, Mario gave me a tour of his wine cellar which was more of a room inside a storage space than a real chai. Mario is trying very hard to keep the winery financially afloat so that is how he came up with his 'Adopt-a -Vineyard' campaign. There was something so peaceful about the Il Bosso delle Terrecotte. It is a choice of lifestyle but to do it with such passion and organization really impressed me about Mario and Silvia.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Take me to the Po

Our final stop was going to be an ecological B&B called, Il Bosco delle Terracotte. This was not your average B&B but a total ecological adventure. Twelve years ago Marco and Silvia left the hectic life of Turin to settle in the rolling hills near Barge. They restored an 18th century farmhouse, took over an over grown vineyard, and became loving owners to the wild outdoors. Marco had a "Adopt-A Vineyard' plan where one can donate 100 euros and become a collective owner of his vine. He is also an artist and formed the Cultural Association, Sassi Vivaci, in attempt to promote art through nature. It took us a while to figure out how to get to Bosco delle Terracotte since the Italians are not too good with giving directions. But when we drove through the kiwi vines we knew we were in for something 'special'.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Getting to the serious stuff....

One can not pass through the Barolo wine region without buying some of their powerful vino.
I am also a fan of the lighter Dolcetta d'Alba. We stopped off at the Domain Marchesi Di Barolo.

They also had an assortment of dried pasta and pickled porcini mushrooms. I was in heaven when I asked me husband, 'what's for lunch?'

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Direction ALBA: Black Diamond and Barolo Wine Country

After a several days of idyllic existence at Casa Cambi, my husband and I head over to the land of delicious encounters: truffles and earthy Barolo wine. Unfortunately, we are out of the loop for white truffle season since the summer truffles are already long gone and the winter truffles are still hibernating somewhere near a friendly oak tree. We stop and rest our bags in Alba. Tonight is my birthday so we ask the concierge for a "special" restaurant. Since we have been in Italy, we have not had a bad meal. There is a speciality pasta the Piedmont region called, Tajarin. It is like fettuccine but half the width...They pair it the simplest tomato sauce that I have yet to duplicate to their perfection. I have become addicted to their Tajarin pasta. Is this a bad thing?