I’ve stolen the text of this post from Kristian Berg.
From a single malt scotch tasting party some years ago. Comments from the assembled tasters.
Oban 14 year… “Dear Oban, I know what you look like- Catherine Zeta-Jones, still single, living in the Western Highlands- offering me a kiss that is your taste!”
Macallan 12 year… “A naked afternoon in front of a cozy fire”
Glenkinchie 10 year… “Porch-swingin’ linger with a neighbor- ‘hey! howdya like a scotch? I’ve got Glenkinchie’ ‘Say what? ‘Glenkinchie…’ So we wrapped up around 10pm and I forgot I had any problems… my neighbor? He said he couldn’t feel his toes…”
Isle of Jura… “Someone just pushed me down the hill- rolling blur of sun and field flowers” “More fruity – earthy as single malts go with a bit of a circle burn on the after-swallow (if that’s even a word)”
Dalwhinnie 15 year… “The whip strikes and stings so sweetly” “Stable – like a pleasant ride in a mid-grade BMW”
Glenfiddich… “Screw the rocksalt, it’s glenfiddich and lock de-icer in my vehicle this winter!”
Laphroig 10 year… this is a peaty smokey Islay scotch… “The underside of Gandalf’s green wellies comes to mind and to tongue”!
Beaune, in the Burgundy region of France. We only had a couple of hours here, so I’m afraid we have little in the way of Deep Thoughts and Insights into the wines you’ve heard so much about since before you were born.
Beaune – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beaune. Sadly, half of the media images I have in my head of France are from media related to WWII and walking these streets I kept expecting to see Ernest Borgnine storming around the corner with a tommy gun. It’s hard to not expect to see half-tracks, tanks and men in soiled, saggy khaki uniforms around every turn.
On this experience we were on a tour of France in general, and not a wine tour of France. In a more perfect world we would have enjoyed more time to learn more about the similarities/differences between Burgundy and our home here in the Willamette Valley – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Willamette_Valley.
One story we can share with you is that morning the sky was hazy in Lyon and the surrounding areas. Why? Well, it turns out that when the nights are cold and clear in the spring, the local producers burn hay bales in the vineyards. We were told that the cold nights can produce a thin layer of ice on the plants, which is not a problem by itself, but can act as a lens focusing the morning sun and scorching the vines. We’re told a whole harvest can be lost. So they burn hay to fill the sky with smoke, not to keep the vineyards warm, but to blunt the power of the sunlight. So now you know.
We did manage a brief wine tasting in Beaune but possibly did not pass the wine connoisseur test we were subjected to by the proprietor. I think he could tell we didn’t have any real money to spend. But it was fun nonetheless.
We didn’t have enough time in town to explore it, but they do have a nifty display of historic wine making equipment. The size of the wine presses is quite impressive.
Speaking of the connection between the Willamette Valley and Burgundy, what do we find here? One of the French families who identified the viticulture opportunity in Oregon, and contributed to making our local wine industry happen! Visit them when you’re in the area.
Our second wine visit on this day was less interesting to us as we weren’t there to buy wine to take home. This visit was more like dropping into a wine shop with friends, which we can do back in the USA. However, we enjoyed their wines more than the previous place.
See that box on the counter? It’s got the best winery snack we’ve had so far. BONUS POINTS!
The family crest.
This is where we lost the bus. Or the bus lost us.
We hiked down the hill past the school….
… and here you see us troop off into the distance. Eventually we were forced to join the French Foreign Legion and serve in North Africa.
Well, eventually we made a few calls, and sent a couple scouting parties which made contact with our transportation. Then came the next problem. This ain’t the suburbs baby. Ya can’t just drive your giant heavy bus down any old street, leaving our party stranded.
Well, some members of our party aren’t as spry as they used to be. We got it all figured out. Advice: don’t leave the bus without the bus driver’s phone number.
As an aside, Famille Perrin’s entry level red is right there on the end-cap at our Portland New Seasons market.
Here is an example of how their vines grow. Note this is not an exaggeration, the soil is quite rocky.
Here is a chart of the grape varietals grown in the area.
I love these giant casks they use to age the wine.
Some of the members of our group did not enjoy the wines here, finding them overly oxidized. What would you think? Only one way to know for sure, go check it out for yourself.
They did put on a good show here. I’ll admit I’m a sucker for giant wooden casks.
Here’s a clever wine tool set that’s also a game of chess.
And here we see a typical vineyard. The rocks are believed to retain the heat of the day and radiate it back to the vines at night. Another goal for the way they are trained is to allow the local “mistral” winds to keep the vines dry.
The ruin on top of the hill contains an ancient lich and his legions of skeletons. Your party will want magic users, clerics… ok, just kidding. We are told this was the Pope’s summer cabin.
Well, is this lovely? When you are me and your life is weird, one day you may wake up on a boat in the south of France. Today I find myself in Arles and I’m wandering down the street and there’s a bookshop that also advertises 100 local craft beers. Tres bien! So I walk away with this fine bottle of Avignon Pale Ale from La Brasserie Pirate.
What’s it like? Why, it’s delightful! Unlike our Zing! Pow! hop-heavy IPA’s in the Pacific Northwest, this has the lighter floral character Belgian beer fans will recognize. It’s also a cloudy beer bottled on lees. It’s just slightly sweet with low carbonation.
I recently returned for a business trip to Ho Chi Mihn City and I was lucky enough to bring one of these back with me. You might not know this, but Vietnam grows excellent sugar, and from sugar comes rum / rhum. Quite possibly, this is the only bottle of Rhum Belami in the entire United States at this moment! I suspect this will change before long.
And what a story! Here’s a photo of Roddy Battajon, distiller and founder of the company who generously hand-delivered my bottle to our offices. Read his story by clicking here.
I grew up watching my grandmother make rhum.
This amber colored rhum has a very strong aroma of mango and papaya, amazing! I was advised by the distiller that it’s perfect as it is over ice and I’d have to agree. The fruit aroma follows with a strong fruit flavor. In fact, the flavor is almost strong enough to be a liqueur.
Are his rhum products good? Well, don’t take my word for it:
Nobody’s itching for a stiff glass of snake wine at the end of a long day
At the moment you’ll need to travel to Vietnam to add this to your collection. In the meantime, I suggest you connect with Roddy and his team here on facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RhumBelami/
Legacy Edition: this a fruity and spicy rhum that is perfect for many occasions such as enjoying a drink with friends in a bar.
Premium Rhum: made of organic coconut, Kopi Luwak coffee beans, roasted chocolate, Bandé wood and other, its sweetness will perfectly fit with a dessert (I advise to drink it with a red fruits dessert)
White Rhum: this rhum is still in process but I want it to herbs twisted: lemongrass, basilica for instance.