Sunday, December 31, 2017


Nicole's wine group studied Burgundy on December 19th. It was so much fun to attend with Claire and to have her meet the group. These were the wines we tasted.  More about that later.

Puzzling and wine study are starting a little early, December 29, 2017.  I think this is a great way to end 2017. I plan to share some Christmas eve leftovers:

  • Crab cakes
  • Bacon wrapped blue cheese stuffed dates.
  • Spinach artichoke dip
The Burgundy wines.

Les Clos Grand Crus Domaine Besson 2014 13% abv.

As described by Last Bottle where I purchased this for $16/bottle.
NOTHING could sustain our high spirits more than this Chardonnay today, oh yes!! Just keep that glass filled! From a family producer for over a century, Camille Besson makes classic, pure and super-fresh Chablis with a touch of ripeness to balance out the acidity and minerality that we know, love, and crave. Every day. Every hour. At this price?? C'mon - we're filling up for NEXT summer!! What's it going to taste like? When you pull the cork, the first whiff is like that delish English lemon marmalade we love -- then comes lime, bergamot, grapefruit, minerality and even some sweet apple. Crisp and long and brilliant!

The winemaker
Grandson of a cooper, son of winemaker, Alain Besson took over in 1981 the family estate made up of the two previous generations. After having enlarged it, it has 21 ha which it exploits with its children Camille and Adrien. The first, oenologist, elaborates the wines, and the second takes care of the vines.
The opinion of Hachette Wine Guide
A little cask and eighteen months of vat to get this great vintage pleasant, especially in the mouth. On the nose, it seems that this wine is looking between yellow fruits, white flowers and some toasted and iodized notes. The palate is more structured, with matter, acidity and a well-blended oak.
Les Clos is the largest and most widely known of the seven climats of the Chablis Grand Cru white wine appellation. It covers a single, southwest-facing slope above the town of Chablis itself, and is planted exclusively to the Chardonnay grape variety. Chablis Les Clos wines are generally more powerful and intense than the other Grand Crus, and are often associated with ripe stonefruit, orange peel and honey. With a tendency to be more closed in their youth than those from the other climats, they are famous for their long-term aging potential, showing a balance between power and finesse..

Mischief and Mayhem Grand Vins de Bourgogne Bourgogne  2014 12.5% abv $32.99

about Mischief and Mayhem.
 Mischief and Mayhem. A winery, micro-négociant and domaine, created from scratch, and now with 14 vintages under its belt. This is a gradual process, a labour of love - indeed a lifetime's work.

We practice sustainable and organic viticulture, keep yields low in the vineyards, hand pick all grapes, and be as precise, delicate, and non-interventionalist as possible in the winery.

We use very little new oak for élevage, and most recently have begun experimenting more with stainless steel and ceramic vessels, so as to better preserve the true characteristics of the fruit that we work with.
These components all combine together and contribute to the creation of wines that are truly natural, pure and individual expressions of both grape variety and vineyard site. It sounds simple - in certain vintages it is, and in certain vintages it absolutely isn't, but these are the key things that guide us. has noted that the house style is “definitely modern.” The couple say that one of their goals is to demystify fine Burgundy wines by describing the provenance of the grapes for each bottle on the back label, along with information about the vintage and production details.

Winemaker Notes

Bright pale straw with hints of green and a water white rim. Intense nose of great purity, with plenty of lime, lemon and pear fruit, along with hints of apricot, flint, barley sugar and white currant. Lean, refreshing, and mineral with good intensity, ripeness, and acidic profile. Lemon notes and plenty of green apple fruit, along with hints of greengage, elderflower, mineral and delicate vanilla. The finish is lively, vibrant, long and pure.

Santenay Clos Rousseau  1er Cru 2014 Jacques Girardin 13% abv $44.99

about Santenay Clos Rousseau.
Clos Rousseau (also known as Petit Clos Rousseau) is one of the Cote d'Or's southernmost Premier Cru vineyards. It falls within the Santenay appellation on the border of the Cote Chalonnaise, and is planted mostly to Pinot Noir. Clos Rousseau wines are generally quite weighty, showing earthy, rustic characters of dried herbs and red fruit.

About 15 months in oak barrels 

Tasting advice
This climate always produces powerful wines with a good length in the mouth.
Aged 15-18 months in 20% new and 80% used oak. Fresh and elegant nose with dark fruit aromas. Deep garnet color. Very ripe dark fruit aromas: black currants, red plums. Layered texture and ripe tannins, round on the palate, followed by a long, satisfying finish. This Santenay is definitely a food wine, with its accessible style and firm yet rich structure. Aging potential 8 to 10 years. Superb value in a Premier Cru Burgundy

2014 Santenay 1er Cru “Clos Rousseau” Aged 15-18 months in 20% new and 80% used oak. Fresh and elegant nose with dark fruit aromas. Deep garnet color. Very ripe dark fruit aromas: black currants, red plums. Layered texture and ripe tannins, round on the palate, followed by a long, satisfying finish. This Santenay is definitely a food wine, with its accessible style and firm yet rich structure. Aging potential 8 to 10 years. Superb value in a Premier Cru Burgundy.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Arugula Salad with Olive Oil, Lemon and Parmesan Cheese

Recipe from Tyler Florence, Food Network

Jan made this on December 5th. We samples white and red wines from Bordeaux.  This was a great pairing with white Bordeaux. It also tasted great with the Butternut Squash casserole and the venison chops.



In a serving bowl, drizzle the arugula with the oil, squeeze in the lemon juice, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss until well mixed and taste for seasoning. Use a vegetable peeler to shave thin pieces of Parmigiano over the top

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Egyptian Dukkah Recipe


  • 1/3 cup Raw Hazelnuts
  • 3 tbsp. Seasame Seeds
  • 1 tbsp. Coriander Seeds
  • 1 tbsp. Cumin Seeds
  • 1 tsp. Flaked Sea Salt
  • Olive Oil for Dipping
Roast hazelnuts at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes until light brown. Fold hot hazelnuts into a cloth and rub to remove skins.
Toast sesame seeds in a dry pan over medium heat until light brown. Set aside. In the same pan toast the coriander and cumin seeds. Keep off direct heat and stir occasionally until lightly browned or the seeds pop.
Using a food processor, finely grind the cumin and coriander seeds and set aside. Place cooled hazelnuts into food processor and grind to desired consistency. Combine all ingredients and stir in salt and pepper as desired.
Serve on top of bread with olive oil

Rocket & Parmesan Salad Recipe

  • Arugula (aka Rocket)
  • Parmesan (peels)
  • 1/4 cup Olive Oil
  • 3 tbsp. Lemon
  • 2 tsp. Dijon Mustard
  • 1 tsp. Sugar
Combine all wet ingredients and whisk until emulsified.
Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Toss arugula in dressing.

Garnish with Parmesan peels.

Studying the Wines of Bordeaux

The week of December 3rd 2017.

The first step is the read the information from Nicole and prepare 3 questions for wine study on Tuesday evening in Three Lakes. Test your knowledge of Bordeaux

Tuesday will be a busy day as the morning will also involve wine study with my wine study group. Dennis Kohl picked these 6 wines for us to sample. 
File:Bordeaux wine region.png - Wikimedia Co Labeled for reuse with modifications. 

  • Chateau Grand Clapeau Oliver Cru 2012 Bourgeois Haute-Medoc
  • Chateau Sainte Barbe 2011 Appelation Bordeaux Superieur Controllee
  • Chateau La Graviere  2014 Appellation Bordeaux Controllee
  • Chateau Ferrande 2010 Grand Vin De Bordeaux Graves Appellation Graves Controlee
  • Chateau Ferrande Graves 2014 Grand Vin De Bordeaux 
  • Chateau La Graviere 2016 Entre-Deux-Mers Grand Vin De Bordeaux
  • Butternut Squash Casserole with Leeks, Proscuitto and Thyme
  • Venison chops with a sage mushroom and onion side dish. Dianne's friends killed the deer just a few weeks ago. The chops were amazing and paired SO well with the Bordeaux.
  • Arugula Salad with Lemon & Parmesan. This was an excellent pairing with the white Bordeaux, especially the Chateau Ferrande Graves 2014 Grand Vin De Bordeaux 
  • Cheeses to consider: Manchego, Swiss, White Cheddar, Provolone, Pepper Jack. We sampled white cheddar and the red Bordeaux, excellent!

**** Chateau Grand Clapeau Oliver 2012 Cru Bourgeois Haute-Medoc  Appellation Haute-Medoc Controllee 13% abv $22.99
Varietal blend: 54% Cabernet Savignon, 43% Merlot 3% Petit Verdot 
Left Bank
Terroir: greveleux
Wine making: Traditional vinification of the Médoc with thermoregulation. Stainless steel tanks and cement, maceration 2 to 3 weeks

My tasting notes
Garnet in color with licorice, cinnamon and red cherry fruit on the nose. The palate is dry, medium acidity, tannin, body and finish. The flavor is of black cherries, cloves and chocolate. A beautiful well balanced wine and one of the favorites. 

Another great pairing would be with a roast dinner.

Information about the vineyard

Chateau Grand Clapeau has been owned by the Baudinière family since 1923. It is located on the highest hill of the Blanquefort district, on gravel soils that are perfect for ripening Cabernet Sauvignon.

  • A classic left bank blend, it’s hand crafted from 53% Cabernet Sauvignon, 45% Merlot and 2% Petit Verdot. The dash of Petit Verdot adds both depth and a spicy herbaceousness that give a perfect balance of flavours
  • Château Grand Clapeau is a cru bourgeois estate -a category for the finest estates not classified in 1855. At their best, cru bourgeois wines can be better than some of the much more famous and more expensive classed growths
  • The Baudinière family use traditional Médoc techniques with subtle oak ageing adding spicy cedar and vanilla complexity

***** Chateau Sainte Barbe 2011 Appelation Bordeaux Superieur Controllee 
14% abv $16.99 
Varietals: 70% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc  Right Bank 

Information from Dennis Kohl: Fermented in concrete and stainless steel vats. Aged 9-12 months in oak barrels. From a family owned estate that was built by Jean Baptiste Lynch (Ch. Lynch Bages) in the mid to late 18th century. It was Lynches first vineyard and chateau.
My Tasting Notes
I will start by saying this our favorite wine. I loved the aroma: cherry, vanilla, nutmeg, licorice and juniper berry. On the palate it was dry, low acidity, medium tannin, body and finish. The flavors were black cherry, juniper and chocolate.
Information about the vineyard
Chateau Sainte-Barbe 
It’s unique location on the peninsula between the Garonne and Dordogne Rivers allowed it to avoid the phylloxera epidemic that wiped out most of the Bordeaux vineyards in the late 1800’s. Today its 70+ acres of gravelly alluvial soil vineyards on the right bank of the Garonne are about 50% replanted and consist of 80% of the Merlot with the remaining 20% divided between Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc

This 2011 is a blend of 80% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Cabernet Franc. It was recommended by World’s Best Sommelier Andres Larsson who described it as “Dense ruby/purple core. Modern nose of ripe plum, dark berries and some new oak. The palate has a fairly good density, fresh dark berries, plum, some roasted notes, spices and a rather longfinish. Well made with nice drinkability.” It was also a stand out among wine retailers who gave it a whopping 95 points score in Beverage Dynamics Magazine and said “Robust and earthy with bold aromas and flavors of blackberry, currant and vanilla. On the finish, firm tannins show with a good dose of terroir. Pair this with roast beef, lamb or a thick steak.” A super wine at an great price!

Chateau La Graviere  2014 Appellation Bordeaux Controllee 12.5% abv $12.99
Varietals: 70% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Sauvgnon, 15% Cabernet Franc.
Vinification: stainless steel fermentation for 4 weeks. Tank aged until bottled. Grapes hand sorted in vineyard
Notes from Dennis Kohl: Chateau NardineLa Graviere, producer of Chateua La Graviere, is an 89 acre winery situated in Bordeaux at the heart of the Entre-deax-Mers region. The vineyard is located 25km from the center of Bordeaux and 30 km from Saint Emilion in the little village of Saint Gebes de Lombard. Chateau La Graviere is made up of exceptional terroir for vine growing and production of quality wines. In fact, the Entres-deux-Mers region is hilly and has many types of soil allowing to obtain aromatic wines. Family owned since 1928, the Therese family is passionate about their wine making and have been for three generations.

My Tasting Notes

This was not a group favorite though I will say that I enjoyed it more the next day. For me it was barnyard meaty aroma that did me in. I also picked up sweet cherry, vanilla, a little leather and licorice. On the palate the wine was dry, with low acidity, medium tannin, body and finish. I didn't find very many flavor nuances. It tasted of black cherry and farmyard again. I have since learned that this due to a yeast know as "Brett" formally known as Brettanomyces

*** Chateau Ferrande 2010 Grand Vin De Bordeaux Graves Appellation Graves Controlee 13.5% abv $28.99 
Varietals: 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot.

The wine is aged for 12 months in oak barrels (50% new wood)

My tasting notes: 
The aromas were very nuanced. I found dark cherry and my friends found blackberry. There was also juniper berry and vanilla along with chocolate. In addition, a slight barn yard smell. One review I read used the word empyrheumatic. The Meriam Webster definition is being or having an odor of burnt organic matter as a result of decomposition at high temperatures creosote and other empyreumatic oils

Garnet in color. On the palate: dry, high acid, medium tannin, medium body and  medium finish. The flavor was of ripe blueberry, licorice, chocolate and white pepper.

I liked this wine though it was the least favorite of the group. It tasted even better the next day. Excellent pairing with the white cheddar cheese.

More information about the vineyard.
The vineyard of Château Ferrande, which gives birth to this cuvee of Graves, covers 89 hectares and benefits from the terroir so particular of the appellation whose soils consist mainly of sands and gravels rich in large surface pebbles, the latter ensuring good drainage Soils and, once the sun is down, a generous restitution of the heat of the day.

In the heart of the Graves

The identity of a great wine is a marriage between a good grape variety and an exceptional terroir ... In the heart of the Graves, Château Ferrande benefits from this so special terroir renowned as one of the largest in the region . Its soil consists mainly of sands and gravel including large pebbles on the surface. Very draining, warm at night, this soil is conducive to rapid maturities and the production of elegant and stylish wines. The high planting density allows to obtain grapes with a high potential of aromas and finesse while ensuring a good concentration.
Property of the Castel Group since 1992, the Château Ferrande located in the town of Castres sur Gironde has 94 hectares in the Graves appellation (including 5 dedicated to the production of white wine) spread over gravelly soil. The estate has an ultramodern winery, including a very mild press.


**** Chateau Ferrande Graves 2014 Grand Vin De Bordeaux 12.5% abv $28.99
Varietals: 50% Sauvignon Blanc 50% Semillion

Information from Dennis Kohl:
Soil: large pebbles on top of sand and gravel subsoil
Location: Village of Castres sur Gironde in the heart of Graves
Fermentation: Stainless steel. Tank aged
Vineyard 25 - 30 year old vines

My Tasting Notes:
A beautiful deep lemon color with fresh aromas of lemon, green apple, grapefruit and grass. On the palate, dry, high acid, low tannin, light body and short finish. The flavors were of green apple grapefruit and nectarine.  I love how the sav blanc adds zing to the Semillion. 

We paired this with the arugula salad with lemon and Parmesan cheese. The wine made the salad less bitter and sharp. It also pared very well with scallops.

I liked this wine and would buy it again. Dennis said it would age well.

More information about the vineyard.
Chateau Ferrande is situated in the village of Castres-Gironde, at the heart of the Graves region. The chateau itself is a fine manor house, rebuilt at the end of the 19th century on an estate whose origins date much further back in history, Access is by an avenue lines with cedar trees, and the estate is enclosed by a fortified roughstone wall which serves as a reminder of its historical heritage. Nearly 90 hectacres are given over to vines producing a wine which is a member of the highly coveted Union des Grand Crus

***** Chateau La Graviere 2016 Entre-Deux-Mers Grand Vin De Bordeaux 
12.5% abv $9.99
Varietals: 35% Sauvignon Blanc, 55% Semillon, 10% Muscadelle. 

Information from Dennis Kohl
Soil: Siliceous, clay & pebbles
Location: Sait Genes de Lombard - heart of the Entre deux Mers region
Harvest: Mechanical harvest, followed by selection of fruits by hand
Maceration & Pressing: Maceration on skins at low temperatures. Pneumatic pressing.
Fermentation: temperature controlled stainless steel vat. Fermentation from 20 days at 64 F.
Wine Making Mature on lees until bottling. Stirring of the lees twice a week for 2 months.

My Tasting Notes:
This was the group's favorite white. It was a pale lemon color with aromas of violet, pear and light perfume. The palate was dry, high acid and light body. The flavor was apricot.

More information about the vineyard.
The AOC Entre-Deux-Mers extends over the entire wine-making region of Gironde between the Dordogne and the Garonne, hence its name. The soils are predominantly clay and limestone. In this fragmented vineyard region, there are many wine growers and low average areas of exploitation. Producers can pamper their vineyards. They often belong to cooperatives who take care of winemaking. Sauvignon is the king grape of the Entre-deux-Mers. It is often the subject of specific work during winemaking, skin maceration. This gives very fragrant wines, lively, but without excess of nervousness, well balanced and endowed with a beautiful aromatic power. Sauvignon is mainly associated with Sémillon, which gives roundness and power ... 

Sauvignon is the king grape of the Entre-deux-Mers. It is often the subject of specific work during winemaking, skin maceration. This gives very fragrant wines, lively, but without excess of nervousness, well balanced and endowed with a beautiful aromatic power. Sauvignon is mainly associated with Sémillon, which gives roundness and power. As an extra varietal blend, Muscadelle brings very pleasant wild and musky notes. 

The wines of Entre-deux-Mers are exclusively white. Their aromatic palette plays with notes of citrus, yellow flowers, exotic fruits. On the palate, they are supple, lively and refreshingly refreshing.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Roasted Tomato Sauce

I don't know where I found this recipe but I absolutely love it. Best made when tomatoes are ripe and plentiful. Buy a bushel.  The sauce freezes well.

3# of tomatoes - as ripe as you can get them before they mold
1/2 cup pure olive oil
8 medium to large cloves of garlic peeled. Yes buy the garlic at a framers market.
1 cup fresh basil OR 3 tablespoons fresh rosemary, coarsely chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

Preheat the over to 325 Degrees F
Remove stems from tomatoes. Halve the tomatoes horizontally and place in a shallow baking pan with cut sides up.
Place olive oil, garlic, basil or rosemary, salt and black pepper in a food processor bowl equipped with a steel blade. Process until garlic is finely chopped.
Pour mixture over tomatoes and bake for 2-3 hours or until the tomatoes collapse, become saucy, and actually caramelize. Stir the tomatoes now and then, breaking them up as you do.
When tomatoes have been reduced to a chunky sauce, remove from oven. If the amount of tomato skin is objectionable, run all or part of the sauce through the food processor.

Makes 4.5 cups