Thursday, February 27, 2020

Recipe Thursday: Winter Salad

A salad may not seem intuitive in the winter, but if you include hearty ingredients and in-season produce, you can whip up a pleasantly satisfying winter meal in no time. This week we’re cooking up Seared Ahi Tuna with Roasted Winter Vegetable Israeli Couscous, courtesy of Running to the Kitchen. Sushi grade ahi tuna is served on top a bed of caramelized winter vegetables and then drizzled with a soy ginger glaze. 

Photo Credit: Running to the Kitchen

This dish goes exceptionally well with our Wine of the Week, Domaine Jean Fournier's Bourgogne Rouge. Lively and robust, this red burgundy doesn’t shy away from the umami-rich flavors in the dish. The rustic notes in the wine go great with the seared nature of the fresh tuna steak.

Wine of the Week - Jean Fournier Bourgogne Rouge

Located on the Northern end of the Côte d-'Or, Marsannay provides lively, robust Pinot Noirs that celebrate the region's rustic nature. Domaine Jean Fournier's Bourgogne Rouge, though not named Marsannay, comes from younger vines throughout the region, including such well-regarded vineyards such as Champ Forey and Les Longeroies. It's an excellent way to experience Marsannay at Bourgogne prices!


Domaine Jean Fournier dates back to the reign of Louis 13th in the early 17th century, making it one of the oldest properties in Marsannay. Today the Domaine’s 16 hectares are helmed by the dynamic young Laurent Fournier, son of Jean, who crafts wines with integrity in a non-interventionist style. He has converted the vineyards to organic agriculture and has been Ecocert certified since 2008. Old vines can be found throughout the Domaine, contributing to the immense purity and finesse Fournier’s wines are known for.

Monday, February 24, 2020

Samuel Billaud in Vinous

Antonio Galloni has just reviewed the 2018 vintage of Samuel Billaud's Chablis in Vinous. The reviews highlight the importance of seeking out reliable producers in difficult vintages. Even in challenging years, Billaud produces wines of fantastic balance and consistency, as Galloni indicates:
"This was my first tasting with Samuel Billaud in his new winery. Billaud has done a tremendous job in building out his range since he struck out on his own some years ago. What I find most compelling about these wines is how they balance textural richness with energy. That is not so surprising in 2017, as the style of the year leans towards freshness, but it was much harder to achieve in 2018."

Part of an esteemed Chablis family, Samuel Billaud struck out on his own in 2009 to found his eponymous domaine. He had previously been the winemaker at Domaine Billaud-Simon, which had been a shining light in the old school Chablis clubhouse of quality. Since the creation of his own label, Samuel has met with great success and moved into a new winery space in 2015 as well as purchasing four hectares of vines that had previously belonged to Domaine Billaud-Simon. The resulting range, from AC to Grand Cru, are layered wines rife with crunchy oyster shell and silex, and exhibit a range of flavor profiles from licorice to white peach to toasty baguette. This is top quality Chablis from a rising star producer – for white Burgundy lovers, these are not to be missed.

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Recipe Thursday: Winter White

Luscious, creamy sauces, savory roast chicken and fish, pungent cheeses, caramelized squash soups -- in the chilliest season where robust reds reign supreme, these winter dishes are better served with white wine. This week we’re pairing up our Wine of the Week, the Samuel Billaud Chablis AC, with Garlic and Parsley Butter Chicken with Gnocchi, recipe courtesy of Jo Cooks.

Photo Credit: Jo Cooks
The high acidity and salinity in the Chablis pair beautifully with this flavorful dish, as the acidity cuts right through the creamy sauce. The fragrant and floral notes on the wine also help to balance out the abundant garlic in the dish.

Jean-Charles in the Wine Advocate

Burgundian producer Jean-Charles has recently had his 2018 vintage reviewed by William Kelley of the Wine Advocate. The wines are a gourmand's dream, as Jean-Charles also owns Auberge de Vieux Vigneron in Corpeau. The restaurant has become a fixture of the area, creating a draw for local and international gastronomes alike, who flock there to enjoy his take on the regional cuisine of Burgundy. His wines go hand-in-hand with the food, as is traditional in Burgundy.


The Fagot family has been located in the small village of Corpeau since 1860. Just outside Chassagne-Montrachet, it is located near some of the most prestigious vineyards in the Cote de Beaune, so it would be fair to say that wine is in the family’s blood. Jean-Charles is part of the 5th generation of Fagots in the area and the third generation to own vineyard acreage in Chassagne-Montrachet. On his estate vineyards, Jean-Charles employs lutte raisonée, a method of growing in which chemical intervention is employed only when necessary. The wines are vinified traditionally and naturally, utilizing oak foudres and 12-14 month long aging periods in the Fagot cellars.

Concert Exceptionnel in Paris

If you're lucky enough to be in Paris February 24, join a talented group of winemakers for a tasting/concert that will be sure to delight all your senses! Vignerons Yves Gangloff and Jean-Charles Fagot will be in attendance!


Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Wine of the Week - Samuel Billaud Chablis

No matter the weather, a good white wine is always in season. Whether as an aperitif or for a lighter meal Chablis is a classic for a reason. The Samuel Billaud Chablis AC provides a picture-perfect snapshot of this unique region. William Kelley, writing for the Wine Advocate, describes the 2017 vintage:
"Aromas of citrus blossom, fresh peach and green apple introduce the 2017 Chablis Les Grandes Terroirs, a medium to full-bodied, satiny and layered wine that's fleshy, fragrant and floral, with a lively but open-knit profile." 

Part of an esteemed Chablis family, Samuel Billaud struck out on his own in 2009 to found his eponymous domaine. He had previously been the winemaker at Domaine Billaud-Simon, which had been a shining light in the old school Chablis clubhouse of quality. Since the creation of his own label, Samuel has met with great success and moved into a new winery space in 2015 as well as purchasing four hectares of vines that had previously belonged to Domaine Billaud-Simon. The resulting range, from AC to Grand Cru, are layered wines rife with crunchy oyster shell and silex, and exhibit a range of flavor profiles from licorice to white peach to toasty baguette. This is top quality Chablis from a rising star producer – for white Burgundy lovers, these are not to be missed.

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Recipe Thursday: Quarts de Chaume and Fresh Pear-Ginger Tart

Photo Credit: Food52 / MARGAUXBAKES
“Creamed yellow apple, pear and mango notes, underscored by warm pie-crust and ginger accents.” Sounds like a delicious pie, doesn’t it? It’s actually the tasting notes for a Quarts de Chaume, a highly respected, tauntingly sweet white wine. This week we’re highlighting the Chateau l’Echarderie Quarts de Chaume, which unsurprisingly pairs exceptionally well with a perfectly prepared fruit tart of the same flavor notes described above.

Tarts take some patience to prepare, but it’s well-worth the effort when a Quarts de Chaume pairing awaits it. One of our favorites is Food52’s Fresh Ginger-Pear Tart, complete with homemade crust and warmly spiced baked pears. The sweetness of the Quarts de Chaume does not overwhelm the tart, as the buttery pie crust helps to round things out a bit. A beautiful pairing, indeed.

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Wine of the Week - Chateau l’Echarderie Quarts de Chaume

Sweets for the sweet with our featured wine this week. Our Wine of the Week is the Chateau l’Echarderie Quarts de Chaume. Just in time for Valentine's day, this dessert wine is rich, unctuous and perfect for after dinner. A favored enclave within the sweet wine appellation of Coteaux du Layon (more specifically within the commune of Chaume), Quarts de Chaume maintains strict legal regulations for its wines of Pineau de la Loire (Chenin Blanc). Grapes must be passerillé, or affected by noble rot. If the must has a minimum sugar content of 323 g/l and no chaptalization is used, only 11% alcohol is required.


Devoted entirely to the production of sweet wine, Quarts de Chaume sits on approximately 43 hectares of land, 19 of which have been owned by André Laffourcade since 1958. In 1970, his son Pascal succeeded him and assumed the winemaking duties at their Quarts de Chaume estate, Château de l’Echarderie. Château de l’Echarderie sits on 10 hectares of brown schist and sandstone soils. Slopes face south/southeast (toward the morning mist of the Layon) to ensure the best conditions for growth of Botrytis Cinerea.

Thursday, February 6, 2020

Recipe Thursday: Sushi and Pinot Noir

Photo Credit: Tasty / Kiano Moju
In lieu of the classic rice wine (sake) with sushi, let’s talk sushi-friendly grape wine, shall we? After you’ve taken a few pointers from Tasty on how to make the perfect homemade maki roll -- complete with sushi rice, nori, fresh ginger and your choice of fillings -- it’s time to think about wine pairings.

For red wine die-hards, look no further than the Domaine Paul Thomas Sancerre Rouge. This wine carries just the right amount of delicacy and acidity as to not overpower the sushi. Most sushi fillings will work, although maki rolls made with cream cheese (I.e., Philadelphia roll) work especially well to balance out the tannins in the wine.

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Wine of the Week - Paul Thomas Sancerre Rouge

This week's featured wine is French Pinot Noir, but not from Burgundy. About 120 miles to the west of Beaune lies the Sancerre region. It's best known for its whites, but the red wines from this region also shine. Made from 100% Pinot Noir, the grape shows slightly different characteristics when grown in this Kimmeridgian soil. Domaine Paul Thomas, located in the heart of Chavignol, produces a classical Sancerre Rouge. Notes of red currants and black cherries harmonize with soft tannin and juicy acidity. The ideal red for lighter dishes and charcuterie.


Just east of Sancerre is the village of Chavignol, home of Domaine Paul Thomas. It is a small estate on the slopes of the Les Mont Damnés, from which they produce beautiful wines from the deepest, purest outcropping of Kimmeridgean limestone in Chavignol. Domaine Paul Thomas is run by Raphael Thomas, son of Paul. Raphael originally intended to pursue a career in physics, but after his father tragically passed away at the end of the harvest in 2000, he made the decision to carry out his father’s legacy by returning to Chavignol and taking over management of the winery. From just six hectares of vines, Raphael produces 90,000 bottles. 75% of the total production is Sauvignon Blanc (Sancerre) while the remaining 25% is Pinot Noir (either Sancerre Rouge or Rosé).