Tuesday, March 31, 2009


March 2009

AH, spring has sprung here. It has been glorious. Sun and warmth. And we are finally on Daylight time too. We turned our clocks ahead this last Saturday night, the end of March. Does anyone really get up at 2am to change their clocks?
The forsythia has been in bloom for over a week, flowers starting to bloom everywhere.


Keith has a job. He finally received confirmation (although no contract yet) and he starts in April. It is with DuVine Adventures, and he will be guiding bicycle trips between Dijon and Beaune and in the Loire Valley. April will be meeting on the company policy...etc, then a Loire Valley training trip. In May he will lead one trip here in Burgundy and 2 in the Loire Valley. They have not scheduled beyond May yet.
Website :  Duvine 
Burgundy Trip:   Burgundy  
Keith at DuVine Adventures Keith Klein
He is now happy that he will have some income for this year and of course it will be on a bicycle. The tour actually is only about 18-20 miles per day on the bike. Then there is wine tasting and evening meals. Not all bad.

It is so easy to try to keep my head in the sand about the financial crisis. But it is real, and it affects us too living here. 
From looking at the crisis here in France, some things are a little different. Government take-over in bad times is not unheard of, so imposing a law on a company that has accepted bailout money is not shocking. I would say that there are not as many foreclosures on houses, because the regulations to get a house loan were very tight. However that said, people are loosing jobs, stock market (bourse) is down, companies are closing and general sales of everything are down. So it is every bit as real. Who would of thought this just one year ago.

Getting my 3 photos ready for the Expo in May. I think that I settled on a Panoramic of the Poppies, Chateau de Gevrey, and Reulle Vergy. Final update in May.

Marsonnay la Cote has a “Journée Gourmand” each year. Keith was going to Bligny, “comme habitude” (habit) and Marie Therese was coming to go with me to Marsonnay. We had gone other years together. Wendy called and wanted to go to, but also wanted to dig up a butterfly bush that was just over the fence on the vineyard side blocking the sun from my garden. So plans were made. We would all meet here in Gevrey, Wendy, Robert, Marie Therese and me, and we would go to Marsonnay. Then when we returned, Wendy and Robert would dig up the bush, while I prepared some aperitifs. Plan went well. They had some good vendors, tasted (as always) some wine and even won a demi bottle of wine. It was a blind tasting, I chose a white, Marie Therese a red. I thought mine was a Chardonnay from Burgundy. I leaned then towards the Marsonnay Chardonnay, but it was a Maconnais. But for picking the region and grape type, I won a demi bottle. Not bad ....
When we returned to the house, Keith was already here. The bush was dug up (it was a beautiful day outside) and we had some snacks and Cremant. A very nice afternoon I must say.

I have talked about Clemencey before and the horse stables: "Ecurie des Combes Rouges"{Stables in the Red Ravine}.

This last month there was a new colt.

I took this photo when it was only 5 days old.

The poor thing had been very sick during the first couple of days. So I took the photo that I could get without disturbing them too much. C’est mignon (it is cute, pretty).

Prior to (some start in November) or during the month of March the vines have to be ready for the new buds. Those that have not cut off last years growth, must get out in the fields early March and cut down the vine. They leave one branch that has about 4 buds and a shorter branch in case the long one breaks! All the rest is cut away.

Then the braches that have been cut are burned. We had lots of “smog” here in Gevrey. Once the vines have been cut and burned, the vignerons must return and attach the branch that was left to the wires. I watch them from the house and all this work is done bent over. It hurts my back just to watch (well almost).

I had a bad cold/flu, so lost a lot of days this month. Nothing exciting to tell about sitting in the house. So I will keep it short and end it here. I hope to get out and profit by the beautiful spring weather we are having. Keith of course is already out on his bike.

I will toss in a spring photo of the Gevrey Chateau (this photo is from the upper side of the chateau). I know some of you have probably seen other photos before!, but it is right here in Gevrey and it was taken just 2 weeks ago.

Note that there is some information on Burgundy wine and labels below this posting. I posted it at the beginning of March. I have not included anything on tasting, that is a another subject entirely.

Mixed Mediterranean vegetables

I just made this one up the other week and it is not too bad. It may look complicated, but it really was not. After I browned the vegetables and put them in a baking dish, I browned the pork tenderloin in the same pan, and put it in the oven first. Then slipped the baking dish in to finish.
Easy, colorful and a good flavor. Although I used a little olive oil and some cheese, it really is not that unhealthy either. Give it a try.
When you try one of my recipes, drop me a line and let me know how it turns out.
  1. 1  red sweet pepper sliced in long strips
  2.  3 small to medium zucchinis sliced in circles
  3.  15 black olives sliced
  4.  1 red tomato diced
  5.  3 oz Garlic flavored Boursin cheese (or Rondele if I remember the name correctly)
  6.  Olive oil
  7.  Salt and pepper to taste


  1.  Preheat oven to 320 degrees
  2.  Put the zucchini in a bowl with about 1tsp water and cover with “micro-wavable” plastic wrap. Leave a small air vent. Microwave for 4 minutes. While in the microwave, start step 2.
  3.  Heat pan with about 1 TBS olive oil. Toss red pepper strips and sauté for about 7 minutes remove from pan and put the red pepper in a baking dish.
  4.  Drain all the water off the zucchini and add to the hot frying pan. Brown quickly, stand by and turn the zucchini often You just want to lightly brown some of the zucchini. This process should take about 5 minutes, so longer.
  5. Add zucchini to baking dish. 
  6. Add sliced black olives and toss together
  7.  Sprinkle the diced tomato on top
  8.  Break the cheese up and use about 1/3 of the cheese or about 3 oz. If using garlic, too much may take over the dish. This should just be a nice light flavor added. I used a fork to break it up
  9.  Put it all in the oven to warm the cheese and tomato, but not overcook the zucchini. About 15 minutes. You do not want the zucchini to cook until it is soggy. 
  10.  SERVE

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Burgundy Wine and Label

I decided to step through this, first presenting some information on Burgundy vineyards and wine.

Burgundy has a few grape varieties: [main ones]
  1) Pinot Noir
  2) Chardonnay
  3) Chablis [chardonnay also]
  4) Aligote

There are several levels of wine. 
1) Table wine or vin de table is the least and cheapest. It may or may not be drinkable (in my opinion). It can be from anywhere, and does not carry an AOC (appelation d'origine controle). It is drinkable, not like the salted cooking wine in the USA and is often found in plastic bottles.

2) Regional wine: Vins de Bourgogne (Burgundy wine) is probably next. It can come from anywhere within Burgundy. It is usually not too expensive and can vary in quality. It will have "Appellation Bourgogne Controlee." 

3) Village wine: This has the name of the village where it was grown. Wine called Gevrey-Chambertin is village wine. Actually Gevrey was the name of the village and Chambertin was/is the name of the Grand Cru wine. In 1847 the name was combined to Gevrey-Chambertin. This is the same for Chambolle-Musigny, Nuits St. Georges, Morey St Denis....

4) Vineyards. Premier Cru and Grand Cru usually list the specific vineyard where they are grown. (I found a website with a map of Gevrey vineyards here:

http://www.burgundy-report.com/wp/?page_id=700 ) or also there is a sideways "pdf" version that is more complete. It even has Craite Paille in the upper left corner Adobe pdf map .

The vineyard in the back of our house is Craite Paille, and it is also the name of the street we live on in Gevrey. 

Most often a named vineyard has many owners, but not always. Clos Napolean in Fixin is a monopole, or one owner. Each section has a particular name, “lieu dit” in french or "place called". In Gevrey, the most noted wine is Chambertin Clos de Beze.

5) Premier Cru: Ah, now we are getting into the great wines. A Premier Cru will be noted on the label along with the name of the vineyard.

6) Grand Cru The best wine of the region. However there are areas where there is no Grand Cru, so Premier Cru is the best that you can buy in the area. Some of the Grand Cru’s are:         
        § Clos de Vougeot,
        § Musigny, 
        § Chambertin, 
        § Clos de la Roche, 
         § Romanee-Conti, 
        § and Montrachet (white).
    Romanee-Conti is very small and is one of the most expensive red wines in the world. An     aged bottle probably starts at around 4,000 euros (and up depending on the year).

What is the difference?
It is the land or specific location of the vineyard. The “gout de terroir” or the "taste of the earth" as the french say. One vineyard has more calcaire (limestone) than the one over yonder. The soil does impart flavor to the wine.

Also a lot of credit is given to “micro-climat” or micro-climate. A vineyard just 100 feet away, has different soil, different slope, different position to the sun and therefore the grapes taste different. You can notice this in the taste of the grapes and of course in the wine. Sometime take a test and try two Pinot Noirs such as a Fixin,or Chambertin, or Corton,or Rully, all pinot noirs, all very different... taste two of these side by side. Although these villages are farther apart than the 100 feet I mentioned, distance and placement does change the taste of the wine. These are all Pinot Noir and the taste is totally different. You get to know which ones you prefer, and of course which vignerons you prefer too.
Keith and I are not partiel to filtering. I have tasted Gevrey wine that has had the taste of cardboard. How could someone do that to such a fine wine!!

Each year the wine is different. The weather of course has a lot to do with the results; sun or little sun, amount of rain, major storms, hail or temperature.
Other things can happen to ruin the crop, such as insects or fungus or....
So it is with great anticipation that wine is tasted after the harvest. Will it be good? Does it have a fruitier taste? Or is it a heavier taste this year? Are there more or less tannins? It is amazing how it changes from year to year. One friend who makes wine said “you take grapes and then a miracle happens and you get wine”
Yes the wine is different each year, it is never the same in taste, but when there is a good year, it is sooo good!!! Via la difference!! This is what makes it interesting.I guess I am saying I would rathr have some great wine at times than ordinary wine all the time. I can get my share of cheap bland wine here at a good price. But it is so delightful to sip a really great wine once in a while. Oh how I remember that great Chambolle that I tasted..mmmnnn

Different Regions in Burgundy
· Chablis - white Chardonnay only 
· Cote de Nuits – Mostly red pinot noir, some chardonnay*
    o Dijon 
    o Marsonnay la Cote*
    o Fixin
    o Gevrey-Chambertin 
    o Morey-St-Denis 
    o Chambolle-Musigny 
    o Vosne-Romanee 
    o Vougeot 
    o Nuits St George
· Cote de Beaune - centered around the city of Beaune 
    o Corton 
    o Savigny 
    o Beaune 
    o Pommard 
    o Volnay 
    o Meursault 
    o Puligny-Montrachet 
    o St-Aubin 
    o Chassagne-Montrachet 
    o Santenay
· Cote Chalonnaise - 
    o Mercurey
· Maconnais - centered around the city of Macon 
    o Pouilly-Fuisse

Now the label should be easy...
1. The year of the Harvest. That is easy
2. Rully is the village and Les Margots is the specific vineyard
3. This is a bottle of Premier Cru (there is no Grand Cru in Rully)
4. AOC
5. The variety of wine (cepage) This is Chadonnay
6. Domaine. The is Domaine Breliere in Rully
7. Where it was bottled – this one states “put in bottle at the Domaine”
8. Region “BOURGOGNE” - Burgundy