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January 2008

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09 October 2007


You say, I should drink some sans souffre wine?  Well my VdP Mondeuse may not be a beaujo Cru, but it was au naturel, intensely zippy and tasted like a basket-full-o-forest berries.


And of course, one must accompany such a low maintenance wine with some natural, simply prepared lamb + mashed potatoes & roasted garlic or roasted duck and potatoes au gratin.

The wine: Cote Pelee Mondeuse Vin de Pays d'Allobrogie 2004 by Jean-Yves Peron.

The food:
Autour d’ un Verre

Organic, delicious and inexpensive. A must stop for any wine lover curious about natural wines.
21, rue de Trévise, Paris 9
Tel: 01 48 24 43 74
Metro Stop: Cadet
Lunch: 12:30 to 15:00 Dinner: 20:00 to 22:30 (except Monday). Closed Sunday.
-- Thanks Steve for the recommendation!
More information en Francais here.

Additional, random gay Paree photos


Folies Bergere


Drive-by Eiffel


Mmmm AOKI.

Continue reading "Mondeuse!" »

02 October 2007

Things to do in Paris when you're in Louvre


Attend a show.


Discover slightly shocking facts about French cuisine


Admire mundane details in an urban park


Visit the man with the original complex


Ponder Le Penseur


Sip wine, eat


Sip wine, eat tartare


Drink a little more


Brave a crowd, meet some old folks


Drink, eat more

20 August 2007


For the wine-imbiber who travels, there often seems to be 'that one bottle', which surprises - not only for how tasty it is, but also for the grape varietal used.  During my recent trip to lovely Vancouver, BC, I discovered something new and very tasty from the Okanagan Valley.  I might add this discovery was pure luck - as it involves the Chenin Blanc grape, which only occupies ~20 hectares in Okanagan vineyardom.

Goldenmilechenin06 Golden Mile Cellars Old Vines Chenin Blanc 2006 ($15-$20) - This CB is textbook CB - a la Vouvray.  It possesses intense floral-fruity scents underscored by an aroma that can only be described as, "slightly earthy" and perhaps a little bit naughty (picture naked grapes frolicking in the mud after a rainstorm).  This wine's body is notably more stout than old world Chenin-based wines.  A big-boned structure, coupled with the high-volume scents translates to an initial impression of Golden Mile Chenin Blanc being sweet.  But wait!  This wine is in fact dry with enough zippy acidity to balance out its high-ish alcohol content and seemingly sugar-full nose. 

I fell in love with this wine for the fact that it's fairly rare (I doubt it's available in any US retail ship) and entirely unique.  That's the bad news - you won't be able to find it.  The good news is that this calls for an air/road-trip to BC!

Sip GM C.Blanc solo, or with, naa, sip it solo - no need for food to muck up this wonderfully tasty wine.

Read another review on this BC CB from App. America's John Schreiner.

Question:  What big wine surprise have you discovered on a recent trip?

05 August 2007

Northwest Oasis

Seldom does a Sherry lover run across such an Oasis:

Imagine, a Sherry flight in an innovative little spot called, "Salt".  Salt Tasting Room is the place for those who enjoy exploring a little flavor alchemy involving wine, cheese and cured meat.  Needless to say, the emphasis on Sherry in the tasting experience rubbed me the right way.


If you ever find yourself in beautiful Vancouver, BC, make your way to Gastown and sit, sip & sample to your heart's content at Salt.

Naturally, my favorite pairing was an Oloroso with Stilton and a dab of honey.  A rich flavor package of funk, salt and sweet.  It made me feel just little bit decadent, and just a bit nasty (but in a very pleasant way).


More Salt pix


Sparse & chic decor in the tasting room


Meat slicer and golden oinker - what's not to like?


Cheese, meat and condiment specials o'the day on the blackboard.

25 July 2007

The Bekaa Beckons

Say you're a war correspondent for a major newspaper.  You've been witnessing the chaos of occupation in and around Baghdad for several years.  You need a break.

Where to go?

How about slightly-less-war torn region?  How about one with great wine?  If you wish to stay in the Middle East, one idyllic-yet-occasionally-war-torn spot beckons - Lebanon's Bekaa Valley.

Bekaa Find out what the LA Times former Baghdad bureau chief and current Middle East bureau chief discovered in this unique wine-producing corner of an extraordinarily complicated part of the world:

"The summer war last year between Israel and Hezbollah didn't directly affect the vineyards. Shipments were turned back before reaching their destinations. The vineyards also could not produce an increasingly popular Beaujolais-type wine. But fortunately, the war ended two days before the harvest began.

The war was nothing compared with the larger challenges of producing wine in the Muslim Middle East, where some grape growers refuse to sell to vineyards for religious regions."

Read the full article here.

02 March 2007

Too Many Notes

editor's note: This is an article I wrote for the fine Volks at the Austria Tourism Office.  You'll be able to see it in all its glory in finer travel bureaus and airlines everywhere.  Download a PDF preview of it here.

Austriawine Discover ‘Too Many Notes’ in Austria’s Wine Regions

Upon hearing one of Mozart’s operas, 18
th Century Austrian Emperor Joseph II famously remarked, “Too many notes, my dear Mozart.”  While Joseph II may have initially overlooked the genius of Mozart, fortunately, he understood the artistry of Austrian wine.  This enlightened monarch decreed that wine growers were permitted to sell wine directly to consumers.  Modern Austrian winemakers honor the country’s storied wine history by producing quality wines that will strike a chord with any culinary adventurer.

The miracle of Austria is that all of its wine regions are incredibly easy to visit.  In fact, once you step off the plane in Vienna, you have already arrived in one of the world’s most unique wine regions. No other country can boast of so much viticulture and wine-culture in its capitol city. During the Middle Ages, each district of
Vienna (called Bezirk in German) worked its own vineyards.  As the city grew and modernized, many vineyards were lost to concrete, asphalt, etc.  Recently, there has been a trend towards replanting vines in the city.  There are 630 wineries (that's one winery per 2,500 Viennese - my kind of town) in Vienna.  White grapes dominate these urban vineyards.  Grüner Veltliner, the quintessential Austrian grape, is common, along with Riesling and Chardonnay.  These crisp white wines are the perfect accompaniment to Wiener Schnitzel, potato salad or any manner of wurst. For those who enjoy tasting in style, visit the Hotel Rathaus Wein & Design – a hotel made just for wine lovers.  Alternatively, if you prefer surfing and sipping, take your laptop to Wein & Co., where you’ll find hundreds of Austrian wines alongside free Wi-Fi! Don’t miss this one-of-a-kind cosmopolitan wine experience.

Continue reading "Too Many Notes" »

20 July 2006

The Live Austrian Wine Adventure

Lawacatch In partnership with the good folks at Austria Tourism, Winemonger and Wines from Austria, Basic Juice broadcasted live from Austria's wine country during May and June.  And when I say broadcast, I mean broaaad-cast:  I published over 50 of my experiences with the unique & diverse wines of Austria.  I also served up the dish on Austrian cuisine, and posted dozens of snapshots from the countryside.  But wait, there's more.  I also interviewed a number of the unique personalities on the Austrian wine scene, such as Michael Moosbrugger, Johannes Hirsch and Eva & Guenther Mueller.  These interviews were podcast in part through the audio wizardry of Winecast.  My goal was to make you feel as if you sat in the passenger seat with me while we explored the Austrian countryside.  Read some of the highlights of the Adventure.  Oh, and visit a few of the gracious LAWA sponsors by clicking through their ads on the right.

Austria_wine_ad_1 Styria - southern Austria
Wohlmuth: Simply Elegant
Harkamp Has It
The Disciples of Glass
Manfred is Out of the Office

Burgenland - eastern Austria
Birgit's Burgund-land
Kollwentz: Full Throttle
They Call Themselves the Rusters
Seewinkel Wild
Martin's Mantras

Noe_weinstrasse150_1 Wachau - central Austria, along the Danube
Smaragd Samplings
Special F.X.
Behind 2 Stars

Kremstal - central Austria, along the Danube
Wine City/Wine People
Nigl's Sonoma

Kamptal - central Austria, along the Danube
Grazlogogrengl_1 Temple of Wine
Hirsch-y Kiss

Thermenregion - just south of Vienna
Baths of the Rich & Famous


Random Austrian Fun
G'spritzter: The Hi Temp Solution
It's Spanish to Me
The Flea Cooks
Alamo_photo_150x150_1 Melk Abbey
Kaffee Bitte!

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29 June 2006

A: Prosecco, Pasta & Pungency


Q: What are sensory experiences in Venice


Have a look at my Venice photoset, or drink a little Prosecco, or both.

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26 June 2006

Baths of the Rich & Famous

Thermenestate Austria's Thermenregion (Thermal Region) is situated just south of Vienna.  As the name suggests, this region is home to numerous natural spring baths.  At one time, the Thermenregion was the summer frolic spot for those with cash in Vienna's societé.  This area, once home to soggy rich folks, is also the birthplace of sparkling wine in Austria, not to mention the home to a mysterious red grape variety.  There is more history here than one can shake a bottle at...

  • In 1770, the Earl of Fries (whom I picture looking something like Mayor McCheese) developed large vineyards in this area for the purpose of selling red wine to customers in Vienna
  • In the 18th century, Emperor Joseph II ruled that most anyone could open wine taverns (called Heuriger in German).  A vibrant wine-tavern culture sprung up in the Thermenregion after this imperial decree
  • Robert Schlumberger, director of Ruinart Champagne, yearned to produce bubbly in Austria.  Why? He fell in love with a Viennese woman, whose mother forbade her to move back to france with bubbly Bob.  Schlumberger settled into Bad Vöslau, a town in the Thermenregion, and began producing Champagne-method-made wine
  • Blauer Portugieser is the 'bulk' red wine grape of the Thermenregion.  It's origins are murky.  Two wine industry people I spoke with in Austria indicated that a Graff (royal) was said to have brought this variety from somewhere in France.  However, neither source knows why it carries the "Portuguese" moniker.  Wine from this grape is best sampled in a Heuriger

  • Two unique white wine varieites, Zierfandler (spicy, lively) and Rotgipfler (sort of Gewurz-like, slightly flabby) are grown here

Continue reading "Baths of the Rich & Famous" »

25 June 2006

Monterey Foray

Editor's note: This is part of the weekend series of posts by guest authors, who are fellow bloggers, wine industry folk and/or Basic Juice readers. If you are interested in being a guest author, contact me with a proposal, and we'll see if we can't introduce the world to your handiwork.

Guest Author:
Elsbeth Wetherill, co-owner of Escafeld Vineyards, a small family operated winery located in the San Antonio Valley. E-mail her at [email protected].

Already legendary for world class restaurants, romantic hotels and breathtaking scenery,
Monterey County has another compelling reason to visit—the wines.

Monterey County is home to nine
appellations: Arroyo Seco, Santa Lucia Highlands, San Lucas, Chalone, Monterey, San Bernabe, Hames Valley, and our newest AVA, San Antonio Valley. A wide range of microclimates, with cooler regions in the north and warm, dry appellations in the south, provide local growers and winemakers with the perfect conditions for practically every grape variety and style.

Sanantoniovalley The first stop on your itinerary should be
A Taste of Monterey on Cannery Row, where you’ll sample wines from over 40 Monterey County Wineries, including a number of smaller boutique producers who do not yet have tasting rooms. Then pick up a copy of Monterey Bay Wine and Travel Magazine and hit the wine trail. Monterey County is home to over 25 tasting rooms, renowned as much for their hospitality as for their wines.

New to the wine corridor is the San Antonio Valley, recently granted appellation status. Almost a secret, this beautiful unspoiled valley, just 20 miles inland, is home to
Mission San Antonio de Padua and William Randolph Hearst’s historic Milipitas Ranch House, which is now a guest lodge and restaurant. You’ll also find some of the most stunning drives on the central coast. 800+ acres of vines and over 20 varietals are planted here, where growers and winemakers work together crafting high-quality wines.

Continue reading "Monterey Foray" »

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