If you’re a fan of white table cloth draped tables and authentic French cooking paired with wine then circle Sunday November 5th on your calendar and make a reservation for a 3-course dinner at Voila French Bistro in Scottsdale.
Your hosts Chef Jean-Christophe Gros and his wife Segolene re-located to Scottsdale from France in 2015 where Chef Gros as a Master French Chef spent 30 years working in restaurants with Michelin star ratings.
Voila French Bistro menu
Once you walk in the doors you’ll feel as if you’re in Paris and this 3-course menu will make you wish you were there.
LE CABILLAUD : Chilled Cod and Spinach Papillotte Over Tomato Tartare and Niçoise Olive Tapenade
LE CHAUSSON DE VOLAILLE: Chicken Wellington With Porcini Mushrooms and Napa Cabbage Stuffing
LE SAINT-HONORE A LA POIRE: Puff Pastry with Poached Pear and a Praline Butter Cream and a Dark Chocolate Sauce
The early dinner will start at 5 p.m. and conclude by 8 p.m. Price is $65 per person with reservations required that and can be made by calling 480-614-5600. More information about the restaurant can be found on their website.
Voila French Bistro is at 10135 Via Linda. Scottsdale 85258
The lesser known grape Grenache is one of the most widely planted grapes around the world, grown in over a dozen countries. To shine on spotlight on Grenache, the International Grenache Association is celebrating the grape on Friday Sept. 16th 2016 with the 7th Annual International Grenache Day.
Grenache Day around the world
Grenache Day will be celebrated around the world with tastings and other events at wine retailers, restaurants and in the homes of many Grenache enthusiasts. According to Bob Lindquist, winemaker at Qupe & a Lifetime Achievement Award winner from the Rhone Rangers says “The Rhone Rangers proudly supports #GrenacheDay on September 16th. What a fun way for all wine lovers to celebrate a grape that spans the globe, make beautiful wines and brings pleasure to so many.” To find out where you can celebrate #GrenacheDay near you check out www.grenacheday.com
For the 1st time, the International Grenache Association is joining with Wines of Garnacha to celebrate Garnacha Day on September 23rd with an event at Wine Riot in New York City. Garnacha is what the Spanish call “Grenache” and is a major grape throughout the wine regions of Spain including Priorat, Campo de Borja and Calatayud.
What is Grenache a.k.a. Garncha
Grenache goes by many names including Garnacha, Alicante, Cannoau and Garnaxta and can be used for a lighter rose or a more complex Chateauneuf – du- Pape where 80% can be Grenache and it puts the “G” in the GSMs blends of Grenache, Shiraz and Mourvedre. Grenache Association Executive Director Marlene Angeloz says that “#Grenacheday is a time to tweet, toast, taste and talk about Grenache” and that “Grenache is a grape which enhances wines by exuding its deep-rooted terroir and multi-layered rich palate in every velvety sip”
As the dog days of summer have made an early arrival wine drinkers look for wines to keep them cool, that are lighter in body and that still have character and complexity. Rose wines fit that bill and in the southern France region of Provence, rose is king. An exciting Provencal projects comes from two of Burgundies leading producers, Jaques Seysses founder of Dom. Dujac and Aubert de Villaine co-owner of Dom. de la Romanee-Conti purchased a 46 hectare estate along with friend Michel Macaux in 1989.
The hot days and cool nights along with the vineyards southern exposure and clay & limestone soil reminded the 3 of the terroir of Burgundy & St. Emilion and they felt it would be perfect for grapes for their rose and other wines. With a master plan that included building a new wine making facility, grafting pre-existing Cinsault vines to other red & white grape vines and pruning vines by as much as 50% increase quality and complexity.
The result is more than 10 red, white and rose wines. The 2012 rose come from free run juice and is pale and pink comes mostly from Cinsault with smaller proportions of Syrah, Grenache and Merlot. With only a few hours of skin contact and stainless steel fermentation this wine is fresh, smooth and elegant. The grapes are harvested at night when the grapes are at their coolest. Dry, crisp and light strawberries and flowers are present on the nose and palate with a hint of vanilla this wine would go great with salads, cheese or it would be perfect by itself on a lazy summer afternoon. It’s a perfect example of rose from Provence and the perfect way to keep cool without losing the character of Cinsault and other grapes they use.
Rondinella is a red grape found in the northern part of Italy, in the Veneto region. It’s usually blended with the Corvina grape. It is used to make Valpolicella and Bardolino wines.
Pedro Ximinez (PX) is a white grape found in Spain and is used to make sweet, dessert style Sherry. It’s also found in Chile and Argentina where it’s the most widely white grape there. It’s also grown in Australia where it’s used to make fortified wines. Originally found in the Canary Islands it was brought to Spain by a soldier named… Pedro Ximinez.
Tannat is a red grape found in the southwest part of France and it’s also the most widely planted grape in Uruguay. It’s also found in other countries in South America and experimented with in Virginia and is seeing increased plantings in California. In France it’s usually blended with fuller bodied wines to soften it up and make it more drinkable. Tannat has raspberry overtones and can age well. In Uruguay it has more blackberry overtones and softer tannins with more elegance.
A few more grapes that you may not of heard of ….yet!
GRENACHE BLANC is a white grape found in Rhone region of France, also southern France and a northeast Spain. A little bit can be found in growing in the central coast of California. Related to the red grape, Grenache, Grenache Blanc when made into wine is high in alcohol and low in acidity. It’s often blended with another Rhone grape ROUSANNE and other white Rhone blends.
PINOT MEUNIER is a black wine grape and is most often used in the making of Champagne. Experts think it’s a mutation of Pinot Noir. It is also found grown in Germany where it is used in red wines and also found in the Carneros region of California, Oregeon and down under in Australia and most recently New Zealand.
ST> LAURENT is red grape found in Austria and Germany and is part of the Pinot Noir family. It is known for having a big aroma. It’s also widely planted in the Czech Republic. When crossed with the grape BLAUFRANKISCH you get the grape ZWEIGELT that can be found growing in Austria.
As I often blog about wine I occasionally I blog about films I get to preview before their release(See earlier posts). As most of you know me as a wine guy, I’m also a aspiring film producer and anytime I get to hear from other film industry professionals I jump at the opportunity.
This was the case when I got an invite to see the only Phoenix area preview of “The Way” that will be released on Oct. 7th. In addition to the preview actor Martin Sheen & the films writer/producer/director and actor Emilio Estevez were on hand to do Q & A session after the film. As this is a passion project for both of them, Phoenix was one of the 1st stops on a 50 day cross country pilgrimage on a bus to promote the film as, most passion projects are not on the radar of Hollywood movie executives in this day and age,sadly to say. So word of mouth and self promotion is a must if you want to get the film out to a wider audience.
The story starts in Ventura California where Tom (Martin Sheen)is a widowed opthamologist, who must take an unexpected trip to a town at the base of the Pyrenees mountains on the French-Spanish border. This is the starting point for the Camino de Santiago or “The Way of St. James” where pilgrims make a modern day journey through the Basque countryside on the way to the northwestern Spanish city of Santiago de Compostella. Tom decides to make the pilgrimage his son Daniel (Emilio Estevez) started but could not complete. Along the way Tom sets out alone and is very reserved. As there are many people making the pilgrimage for many reasons religious, personal or professional Tom has several run ins with others on the path, whether it’s a yarmulke wearing priest wearing or the joint smoking Dutchman, Yoost (Yorick Van Wageningen) who is doing it to lose weight. Tom slowly opens up and builds a bond with Yoost, Sarah(Deborah Kara Unger), a Canadian looking to quit smoking and Jack(James Nesbitt) a writer from Dublin who’s writing a book about The Camino. As they walk through vineyards, towns in the Basque countryside they realize they have more in common than their age and back rounds would suggest. When they stop for the night or just for a rest the Basque culture comes through as there is always a bottle of wine or two or three present with meals which leads to some interesting encounters with the locals. As they get closer to their destination they also get closer as a group having Tom’s back when he needs it. Although a drama with deeper meaning, there several lighter moments with laughter, which one often finds on our own journey through life.
During the Q & A after, we find not only was this a family affair with Martin and Emilio but Emilio’s son worked on it and married a woman he met on set and now lives in the town of Burgos, where some of the film was filmed. Martins daughter plays his office assistant in the opening scene.
Martin spoke of our sense of community, especially during these trying times and how a family reunion in Ireland in 2003 inspired the The Camino and asked Emilio to write a script. Emilio also spoke of his inspiration for the soundtrack which includes James Taylor and Alanis Morissette. Despite it’s small budget and crew some big performance’s come out and and hopefully the acting and writing will get the recognition they deserve. Not to mention the Basque countryside makes me want to put The Camino on my bucket list.
The film took on a personal feel for me as I viewed it it on Aug. 31, the anniversary of my grandfathers death and Emilio dedicated the film to his grandfathers memory. Make sure “The Way” is on your to do list when it comes out Oct. 7th, you’ll be glad you did. http://theway-themovie.com
Some grapes you may have heard of or wondered about……
CANAIOLO is a red grape found in central Italy mostly in Tuscany. It’s blended with Sangiovese to make Chianti and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano.
ARNEIS is a white grape found in the Piedmont region of Italy in the hills around the city of Alba and translates into “Little rascal”, named because it’s difficult to grow. It makes for a full bodied and dry wine with crisp and floral nuances.
CHENIN BLANC is a white grape found in the Loire Valley of France. It’s the grape used to make Vouvray and other AOC’s in Loire. In South Africa it’s called “STEEN“. It is also used to make sparkling wine in Loire and is called “Cremant de Loire”. It can also be found growing in California. Some think that it may be a parent grape to Sauvignon Blanc. On the palate Chenin can be dry to semi-sweet with minerals, apples and honey. It can be paired with numerous foods and know for its versatility.
In a continuing effort to familiarize people with lesser known varieties of grapes grown around the world I present you with this next installment.
PLOUSSARD also called POULSARD is a thin skinned grape found in the Jura region of eastern France. It’s light color makes it ideal for Vin Gris and even for making of white wines.
FRAPPATO is a red grape found mostly on the island of Sicily and is related to Sangiovese and other Italian varieties. It’s a lighter bodied wine with fruity aromas. Coincidentally, there is also a Italian white grape called FRAPPATO too.
AIREN is a white grape found mostly Spain and has the distinction of being the most widely grown grape in the world.
NORTON is native to North America and is a red grape found mostly in Mid Atlantic and Mid Western region of the United States. It’s the state grape of Missouri and widely planted in Virginia.
With an estimated 10,000+ varieties of grapes used to produce wine around the world, why are only familiar w/ a small portion of them. Some grapes grow in specific regions in the world, some are grown throughout the world. Some are used exclusively for blending and some are bottled by themselves. Some grapes are the same but called by different names in different parts of the world i.e. Shiraz & Syrah or Grenache & Garnacha.
In on going posts “What grape is that..” I will shed some light on lesser known varieties that are slowly making their way onto the international wine scene. Quite often we’ve tasted theses wines, but never knew what they were. Think about it, 10 years ago who knew what Gruner Veltliner, unless you were from Austria. Here we go……
GRILLO is a Sicilian white grape that is used in Marsala and some producers bottle it by itself and it makes for light, refreshing glass of wine. It should not be confused with the red grape GROLLEAU from the Loire Valley. This grape is often used for rose or blending. It also has a very unique taste profile.
TORRONTES from Argentina is white wine that is very aromatic on the nose and is starting to get some recognition in the U.S. after riding Malbecs coat tails.
Just a few wines for today. Continue to check back for other grapes/wines you may not have heard of.. yet!