Monday, June 13, 2016

Wines & Beer to Pair with Your Euro 2016 Viewing Pleasure

Excitedly the Euro Cup this year is being hosted by France. While I've begun to watch the matches I was thinking how fun to pair them with wines and beer from and near France!

I've looked at all the stadium locations and as the Euro Cup is for most of the month of June you have plenty of time to join in the fun!

Bordeaux - What must drink Bordeaux of course!? Intimidated? Go to your local retailer and tell them what you're comfortable paying. As expensive as Bordeaux can be you can also find some great values at $20-25 for a Cabernet or Merlot based red blend and often even better for a crisp Sauvignon Blanc based Bordeaux Blanc! Trader Joe's also has excellent value Bordeaux for a day of Bordeuax, Burgers and Euro Cup!

Lens Agglo - As beer is king here, being so close to Belgium, and within the region of Artois,
Stella Artois seems the logical and delicious choice. Not in the mood for beer? Why not try their Cidre?

Lille Metropole - Lille is right on the border of Flanders in Belgium so my suggestion would be a Flemish red. They are known for their tart, fruity character so if you're a fan of sours, these are your beers! Rodenbach Grand Cru is an excellent option. Not a fan of sours? Lille has been called a miniature Paris and is also known for having a Champagne bar located in the 17th century Convent Les  Minimes so why not go Champagne? But this time with a classic, such as Moet Rose Impérial. 

Lyon - Hailed as the Gastronomic Capitol of France and just south of Burgundy...go there for your wine! If you're feeling like a white wine I'd go with a Pouilly-Fuisse, a delicious style of Chardonnay. It's a crowd pleaser! A great red option is a Cru Beaujolais like Fleurie, it's light, bright and tastes great with a little chill to it.

Marseille - Located in the South of France and not far from Bandol brings me to the suggestion of drinking a refreshing Bandol Blanc, usually consisting of a blend of varietals Clairette, Ugni Blanc and Bourboulenc. Two of my favorite producers are Domaine Tempier and Domaine Terrabrune.

Nice - The French Rivieria requires rose! Whispering Angel is easily found in most markets these days or other favorites are MIP or Minuty, also from Provence.

Paris - What pairs better with Paris than Champagne!? Champagne Lanson, Black Label, Brut is one of the most popular Champagnes found in Bistros all over Paris!

Saint-Denis - A suburb of Paris, having a historic tie to royalty with Kings such as Louis XV taking interest in the city of Saint Denis brought me to the suggestion of Cabernet Franc from Chinon. Chinon is in Loire Valley,  another area in France with a vast history with Kings.

Saint-Etienne -A fascinating city brimming with creativity and the only French city to have been made a UNESCO City of Design. Located within the Rhone-Alps Saint Ettienne
offers wine options from both the Savoie showcasing wines from white varietals rarely found ( Altesse, Jacquere and Roussane ) and to the Rhone you can find the wines from the Savoie they are quite fun or go with a tried and true Cotes du Rhone red blend such as from M. Chapoutier's Belleruche

Toulouse - Nicknamed the "Pink City" with it's terra cotta bricks in most of the buildings, with a Spanish influence due to proximity to the Spanish border a "pink" wine seems perfect! One of my favorites from the nearby Languedoc-Rousillon region is Domaine De Fonsainte's Grus de Gris Rose.

Cheers & enjoy the matches!

Friday, June 3, 2016

Off-Season is My Favorite Season

Last week I gave myself something, a break, well, almost...I answered a few work emails but for the most part, I disconnected. I went to Park City for about 5 days during their off-season. What does that mean you may ask? For Park City, the winter is peak season, between the skiing, snowboarding and of course, The Sundance Film Festival. Summer kicks off in Park City roughly around an event called Savor the Summit that is usually towards the end of June.

I was there at that sweet spot ( in my opinion ) where the ground wasn't as muddy, the spring flowers were in bloom ( lots of Lilacs! ), less crowds at bars, restaurants and fantastic hotel rates! I stayed at the Marriott Summit Watch which was perfectly located on Main Street, for under half the price of peak season in a Villa with a hot tub, fireplace and a full kitchen. As Main Street has so much to taste, see and do, there was not even a need for me to rent a car. If I needed to go anywhere I just used Uber!

                                          Riverhorse on Main

During my visit my favorite restaurant was Riverhorse on Main  where I enjoyed their bison tartare
( wonderful presentation! ) with a glass of Roederer Estate, Brut and their trio of game....bison with a port reduction sauce, venison chop with shallot butter and elk with huckleberries with a glass of Syrah from the Santa Rita Hills. The service ( thank you Francis! ) , ambiance, food preparation and wine list were spot on!

My other treat to myself during the visit was to go over to the St. Regis Deer Valley to enjoy a Bloody Mary on their Terrace Café of the best, if not the best view in the valley. This might seem a little random but the Bloody Mary was actually created by famed bartender Fernand Petiot in the St. Regis New York in 1934! The St. Regis Deer Valley offered their own version, as well as the original New York version, and versions from Washington, D.C. and Aspen, CO. The Deer Valley version is topped with a wasabi and celery espuma, cayenne pepper, black lava salt and a tube filled with more spices to adjust the heat...delicious!

                                          St. Regis Deer Valley Bloody Mary

The other tradition that the St. Regis Deer Valley shares nightly is their Sunset Sabering Ritual. At around 6:30pm ( earlier during the winter months ) they welcome guests on the Terrace to learn about the history of Champagne sabering from back to the days of Napoleon and then offer a sunset toast.

As I descended on the funicular ( the mountain cart that brings you up and down from the St. Regis, which felt quite James Bond-like ) I smiled and breathed in the fresh, crisp, spring air.

Yes, off-season is indeed, my season.

Other spots I enjoyed during my stay:

Tavern : cozy, dark wood, fireplace, great cocktails and food
The Cabin : fun local bar celebrating the Elkupine and live music nightly
Olympic Park : soar down the mountain on an Alpine Slide
High West Distillery: locally made and blended Whiskeys