France,French Wine,History,I'll Drink to That,Imports,Provence,Rosé,Wine,Wine Blogger,Wine Writer,Wine-Blog,Winemaker,Winemaking,Winery

When enjoying a Glass of Wine from Provence Involves a History Lesson of the Middle Ages

When visiting a winery, to capture its heart and soul – as is my custom – it’s helpful if I know very little about it, going into the discoveries. I don’t want to rewrite anything, except actual factuals… And then, what I see it in nuances: what I feel from its aura, what touches my heart, and becomes something uniquely new.

Actual Factual ~ Knights Templar

My school of world history has been gained via geography, versus academia, first and foremost. My love of travel has taken me to many places in the world; each time, I get connected to that place’s history, and my perspectives are permanently altered… My view of the world is more broad. Now, apply that to wine…

Yesterday, I spent the entire day watching a series called “Knights Templar: Rise and Fall,” produced by One Media. The only thing I knew of the Knights, was that they fought… God only knew why, in my humble opinion, they even had to fight, in the first place.

What did they stand for, were they good or bad guys in the process, and where did they go?


Well, I learned: the holy city of Jerusalem was conquered 900 years ago. There was a Christianity crusade against Islam (First Crusade), and it was carried out by monks, many of whom would give their lives to the cause.” They couldn’t event retreat unless there were outnumbered by three to one. Imagine!

The Crusaders believed that the Al Agsa Mosque was built on the ancient remains of King Solomon’s temple. These knights, who came to this location to guard and fight for it, became known as the Knights Templar.

Another reason… the Knights were also protecting the rights and safety of Christians and Jews to go on pilgrimages to Jerusalem. So, the Knights had a very strong resolve, and a massive job, say for guiding people from France, down to the Mediterranean Sea, and then onto Jerusalem.

[PHOTO is a sculpture in Château Roubine Cru Classé’s gardens.

About the time, I began to reflected on current events. I saw the parallels throughout world history over time, when it comes to holy wars. They’re very powerful and give the warriors one common goal – it’s all for the killing, not of man; but… as the movie then coincidentally stated, parallel to my thinking… for the killing of evil. People are a by-product of a war. Chilling, I know, but a fact of life, never-the-less.

Now, it’s going to lead all of us into a powerful, gravitation pull, just as it did for Valérie Rousselle. This Templar site blew my socks off. Standing there, seeing and feel all of these images before me… And now you know.

Actual Factual ~ Château Roubine Cru Classé

[Photo of Valérie Rousselle from Rendez Vous Magazine]

According to owner Valérie Rousselle: “In historical times, the Roman road also known as “Julienne” ran through the current vineyard, giving it a strategic position. Known since the beginning of the 14th century, Château Roubine was owned by the Knights Templar before being sold in 1307 to the Order of St. Jean de Jerusalem. In the 15th century Château Roubine became the privilege and pride of various famous Provencal families.”

This is followed with a world history of possession for this property, including its name of Château Roubine. The key here, though, is that in 1994, Vâlerié Rousselle met Château Roubine (love at first site) and has never looked back. She states, “I was called by this area.”

Now, you might understand why I had to open with the Knights Templar. This is still a sacred land, depending on your own historical side. I was raised Catholic; so back then, you’d know which side I was on. My maternal grandparents were Abbie and Peter (Pierre) Bernier, greatgrands were the Ouellettes. They spoke French to me until I was five. I wish they had never stopped. It’s a very musical language, with extremely expressive body language, if you watch as carefully as I do.

I had just visited Château Roubine Cru Classé, in Provence, France. There reference to the Knights Templar made me more curious. Each winery has a unique history, this was theirs. And a little bit powerful, I knew, but what… What did I need to catch up on? So, one after the other, I watched continuing episodes. I got a pretty good eyeful.

The Knights Templar became a large religious organization of devout Christians during the medieval era, which accomplished important mission: to protect European travelers visiting sites in the Holy Land, while also carrying out military operations.

Vineyard Visit, Lunch Included

From here, I’m going to express the other side of my brain, the one that loves photography. Just to show you this property, before I get into all of the wines. this is a primer, perhaps

As a guest of Château Roubine Cru Classé, I was off on another adventure. Something unexpectedly came up for owner Valérie Rousselle, so we didn’t get to meet her. We did, however, spend a couple of days with her son/co-owner Adrien Riboud and winemaker Pierre Gérin. Our first tour was of the vineyards. These are the images I took. Provence… what’s not to love?

Imagine trying to farm this earth? Grapevines grow best where there’s NOT a lot of nitrogenous waste in the soil. If there was more nitrogen (black soil is FULL of nitrogen), this vine would not be as compact, and would be crawling all over the ground, until it finds a tree, and would then have spread upward.

White soils indicate limestone. (You’ll also be seeing rust colored stones. Explained at that time.)

Hello, Ms. Grasshopper. Protective coloration didn’t stop me from seeing her. This vineyard has a very rocky terroir. The advantage of these rocks? The keep the soil warm, so during the evening when the temperatures cool down, their roots are receiving warmth from the rocks in the soil… especially during a cold winter.

Splendor in Provence… — at Château Roubine Cru Classé.

We got closer to the Chateau, where we would next be having lunch.

I spotted this old vine at the beginning of the row. I love the old vines. This one is about 50 years old.

Vines are like people; the older they get, the less fruit they produce, and they’re a lot more intense. Although some people do have kids at 50, it would not be my choice. Vines, similarly, do not produce as much fruit in their older years. But when they do… Ooo lala, it’s to celebrate. At this point I asked about veraison.

Veraison = when red grapes turn from their original green version into their fancy red colors… finally into raisins, if not picked. When in the vineyard, I had asked if there was any veraison yet. was told, not yet… Then, I looked under the skirt (canopy) of the old gal vine and found THIS – Veraison! Leave it to the grande dame to be the most colorful, early on in a season!

Lovely vista, Chateau included… As well as a neighboring community.

Red soil, think iron oxide, think a remnant of volcanic activity… Think pepper spice.

This… I just love tendrils. Notice the active green one to the left, how it twists and winds. This little extension of the vine gives it the ability to grab hold of something nearby for support… In this instance it’s trellis on the wire, to keep the vine from sprawling onto the ground. They are so strong that at a certain point, it’s just useless to try to rip them all from the wire… So, here they are, dried and as tough as bark, from previous years of reaching for the wire, to support the vine’s weight from heavy grape clusters. — at Château Roubine Cru Classé.

And, the roses… This one almost looks like a wild little bush. They’re so delicate that they warn if any diseases are impending.

Our guides: on the left is Adrien Riboud, co-owner of Château Roubine Cru Classé (with his mother Valérie Rousselle). The gentleman on the right is their vigneron Pierre Gérin.

This is where we were next headed, for lunch… to the Chateau.

…We have all just arrived, and this is just the beginning of our journey. More deliciousness to follow with Château Roubine Cru Classé.


Beaujolais,Burgundy,France,French Wine,Gamay,Red Wine,White Wine,Wine

Beaujolais Winemakers Concentrate on Crafting Regional Wines, Each Representing Their Native Terroir and Flavors

Beaujolais Introduction

Some of you may have heard of Beaujolais, France, while others of you may not. For those who haven’t, Beaujolais is a wine growing region in eastern France. This photo was taken at La Madone Chapel in Fleurie, looking down on the Fleurie commune.

The only red grape grown in Beaujolais is the Gamay variety, which delivers a full range of this red wine’s styles, primarily based on which Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée (AOC); which means, where it’s grown.

Quoting from Georges Duboeuf’s biography Beaujolais, A Shared Passion, as taught to him, by his friend Léon Fuillard, p. 43, with some additional clarity from Jo Diaz:

  1. Wines that are delicate come from the following locations, and are released in March:
    • In the tender wine regions (referred to as a region that makes the most delicate wines), such Saint-Etienne, Durette, Saint-Lager, and Fleurie, these wines are very bright and tasty.
    • [Fresh and vibrant, with lemon, strawberry flavors, along with being delicately floral – description added by Jo Diaz.]
  2. Beaujolais that are medium bodied, are released from March to July, from the Crus, and are firmer wines:
    • A bit richer, coming from regions with a little more intensity: Odenas, Romaneche-Thorins, Chiroubles, Chénas, and Brouilly.
    • [A bit more rustic and spice, with more violet and cherry flavors – description added by Jo Diaz.]
  3. Lastly, after the summer, are the heavier bodied wines, and are released from higher elevation vineyards:
    • Beaujeu, Quincié, Lantigne, Jullie, Juliénas, and Morgon.
    • [The most flavorful, tannic (which means longer aging potential). Since higher elevation wines don’t have as much ground water available that the lower lying vineyards do, the flavors are more concentrated ~ think Maine blueberries, and rich plums – description added by Jo Diaz.]

[PURCHASED PHOTO: pinkish wine: olegdudko]

Some call it a pinkish-red wine; and most people who taste it, just call it entirely delicious. There are also very old vines in Beaujolais, like this one in the picture below.  They grow very close to the ground (these clusters might be only 12 inches from the ground), and  clusters are kept to a bare minimum, creating intensity of flavor. The most healthy clusters are kept and allowed to enjoy the most sun of the season, as the chosen few.

[Full disclosure, I was a guest of Georges Duboeuf and his family; and, given access to each of the following vignerons, to learn their stories and taste their wines, in the hope that I would find a story worth writing. For this story, these are just snippets. I’m also going to be writing a feature for each brand, with a lot more images.]

[And, since verasion hadn’t yet begun in mid August, the Gamay vine, also a purchased photo from fontaineg1234.]

First: Beaujolais Nouveau

For lovers of this delicate red wine, we wait in great anticipation for their annual Beaujolais Nouveau release. Nouveau is actually bottled at least two weeks ahead of its release date, which will annually be on the third Thursday in November. This seems like a time that’s too soon; however, this releasing of Gamay so quickly is perhaps not soon enough, for those of us who love and wait in anxious anticipation.

For a point of reference, for other grape varieties to be released, usually white wines have about a six to 12 month wait period, and red wines have from one to three years to wait, before being released.

So it would appear that this is an early release; but, that’s by design, not by mistake. When the French do the early release of this Beaujolais, it’s to celebrate their new vintage, because it’s just ready to celebrate it and Gamay is fresh enough to deliver. Beaujolais captures the true essence of its light, strawberry flavor body. It also holds the secrets of how the wine is going to taste and age over time.

Vignerons Introduced

In Beaujolais, the stars of making the wines are collectively a humble group. They don’t aspire to stardom’s lights and glitter; they make their wines the stars. Most of them have quiet credentials; they simply focus on their viticulture, wines, and their local reputations. These wine brands also have long standing relationships and the complete endorsement of the Duboeuf family. Les Vins Georges Duboeuf works in tandem, to guarantee a consistent, identifiable Beaujolais profile.

These winemakers all deliver Beaujolais’s Gamay wines to the Georges Duboeuf winery, before going anywhere else. Each has a characteristic region (see above), with its own terroir, and offers a range from delicate to medium, and a fuller bodied essence of Gamay.


Gilles Corsin

MÂCON ~ Meet Gilles Corsin. (Second from the left.) The group that I was with was going to have a walking tour, to the top of the Rock of Solutré (to get an elevated view of terroir – image below), but the weather was really too hot. Instead, our day was rearranged and Gilles Corsin met us at the foot of the hill, overlooking the sprawling appellation.

Gilles Corsin and Jean-Jacques Corsin (brothers) are the fifth generation of the Corsin family to manage this 33 acre vineyard. He’s been buying from this vineyard since 1992 and has tasted amazing wines as far back as 1990. Jean-Jacques runs the vineyards, while Gilles runs the winery. Gilles is known to have the finest palate in the Mâcon.

He explained the minerality of their rocky terroir and their winemaking practices, along with his relationship to Les Vins Georges Duboeuf.

Sharing this Pouilly-Fuissé Georges Duboeuf 2017, it was a perfectly refreshing way to end our tour with him.


Sylvain Flache

OINGT ~ Vignerons des Pierres Dorées ~ Sylvan Flache is the managing winemaker at this wine co-operative, in Oingt, Rhones-Alpes, France.

If you’ve heard about the negotiate company called Les Vins Georges Duboeuf, it might seem to be a really large producer of wine, where wine isn’t defined and perhaps even a commodity. Quite the opposite is true, however.

With approximately 400 grower partners, who contribute to each vintage, this just became a much more understandable figure, when we know that each partner is allowed to be its own brand, only managed for quality control by Les Vins Georges Duboeuf. This co-op is comprised of 180 growers, which range in size from only 1.2 acres to 50 acres. The total number of acres is 1,236.

Sylvan is in constant contact with the Georges Duboeuf winemaking team of Emeric Gaucher and Denis Lapaler. Together, they monitor quality growing and producing.


Jean-Benoit and Tiphaine de Chabannes

BROUILLY ~ Our visit to Château de Nervers, in Brouilly, with owners Jean-Benoit and Tiphaine de Chabannes, was much more fun than anyone should be allowed to have, as all of my colleagues were all quick to agree. After touring the castle’s grounds, we had dinner outside just before dusk, which ended with a spectacular sunset. Wines enjoyed at our winemaker dinner: Brouilly Château de Nervers 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018.

Their story is remarkable… How one is born into a Château… Their Château was originally a hunting lodge. Château de Nervers has been in their family for almost 200 years. Six generations have succeeded each other, until Jean-Benoît and Tiphaine, current managers. “We combine tradition and modernity by valuing what makes up our history and inventing what will be our future. For the first time in its history, the Domaine is run by a couple who take care of their vines from planting to consumption!”

Jean-Benoit’s passion is winemaking. On the tour we saw, once-again, the concrete vats, built into the winery and their history. While seeming novel in the US, we still have so much catching up to do, in the world’s wine history. And, this is part of their this style in wine vessels… Concrete tanks.


Nicole Descombes

MORGON ~ We visited Morgon’s Jean-Ernest Descombes Winery, with owner Nicole Descombes. In 1993, Nicole Descombes’ parents passed, just three months apart from each other. Before her father passed away, in October 1993, Jean-Ernest asked Nicole to keep the winery and tasting room as he was leaving them to her. It’s safe to say that it’s quite retro, and as charming as Nicole. Known as “the Queen of Beaujolais,” she’s also incredibly talented and kind. A more welcoming visit would be very hard to find.

Awaiting our arrival, Nicole is just opening her door to us. Besides wine, what was inside, we wondered?

An outstanding winegrower, Jean Ernest Descombes was considered a very gifted winemaker. Three fourths of his vines were over 50 years old, and were planted in the best terroirs. When he passed in 1993, his daughter Nicole decided to carry on his traditions. According to Georges Duboeuf, “She always says that wine always resembles the person who made it; she says the same about her father’s Morgon.” And, it’s safe to say that her wines are also in keeping with her father’s style.

This winery partnership has a lot of history with Georges Duboeuf. In 1968, when Georges Duboeuf began Les Vins Georges Duboeuf, Jean-Ernest Descombes was the first grower partner for Georges Duboeuf’s company. When her father and mother passed away, Georges Duboeuf stood by her side… to this very day.


Loïc Marion and Cyril Copéret

FLEURIE ~ In the center is vintner Patrick Darroze, and his two winemakers Cyril Copéret (left) and Loïc Marion (right), of Domaine des Quatre Vents (translates as Field of Four Winds), in Fleurie.

We first stopped above the winery at La Madone Chapel, and then came down to meet with Patrick and his two winemakers. From the back of Patrick’s winery, one can look up to the tiny chapel on top of the hill. It’s such a lovely view and very recognizable landmark. Once you’ve seen it in person, you’ll always recognize it.

Loïc and Cyril care for the 29.7 acres. Most of the vineyards surround the house, and are more than 50 years old. Like most vines in Beaujolais, the vines are low to the ground and are head pruned. In French, this is called the traditional Gobelet style. They’re planted mostly in pink granite soil, which is the hallmark of the Fleurie Cru. Their average harvest is 425 barrels, which equals about 10,000 cases (24 cases to a 60-gallon barrel). Harvest is done manually, in whole bunches.

Semi-carbonic maceration fermentation makes this a very fresh and fruity wine. With this kind of fermenting, yeast is not used, because the whole clusters are very capable of fermenting on their own.

From Vine Pair: “by placing whole bunches of grapes in a sealed vat filled with carbon dioxide, the oxygen-starved fruit will release naturally present enzymes. These enzymes perform a similar function to yeast, breaking sugars down into alcohol. Essentially, during carbonic maceration, alcoholic fermentation begins inside the grape itself.”

Both semi-carbonic maceration and malolactic fermentation take place in their temperature-controlled, stainless steel vats.


André Berrod

SAINT AMOUR ~ We visited Château de Saint-Amour (in Saint-Amour), with owners Monsieur Pierre and Madame Yvonne Sidaurin, and their winemaker André Berrod. We also tasted the Château de Saint Amour 2016, 2017, and 2018 vintages, during a lovely garden party.

This was our first introduction in France to concrete (or cement) tanks. Not mine, however, since I worked well over a decade with the Foppiano family. They’re going under renovations to their vats, as I write this. An old Italian family, they just knew what to do.

Meanwhile, André Berrod briefly explained the benefits of the concrete tanks:

  • Like stainless steel fermenting tanks, most winemakers use them for fermentation, but others also use concrete vats for aging wine.
  • They’re a neutral container, which means that favors attributed to oak barrels, will no be impacting the delicate flavors of a Beaujolais wine.
  • Their designs are very customized in shape and sizes. On this trip, I saw as many vats as I saw wineries. Not two were identical. Seems like they were quite the fashion, centuries ago to present.
  • They’re also quite affordable, versus the cost of barrels.


Denis Lapaler

ROMANÈCHE-THORINS ~ We begin at the Georges Duboeuf Winery. Met by winemaker Denis Lapaler, we toured and overlooked the Beaujolais regions, the production winery, tasted wines from the aging barrels.

Denis is one of two head winemakers on the Georges Duboeuf team; the other being Emeric Gaucher. His job is overseeing all quality control, as well as making wine for Georges Duboeuf from over 200 local producers. The Deboeuf family has three winemaking arrangements, since they make their own wines and are also Négociants.

What Denis and Emeric Gaucher are in charge of at the Georges Duboeuf family, besides its own estate wines, as négociant merchants from Beaujolais: They’ve assembled the highest quality of committed, small family growers and winemakers, and have added them to their portfolio, each with specific designations.

Their umbrella company includes Cru Beaujolais, Beaujolais Villages, plus Beaujolais, and Beaujolais Nouveau. Some members on their team just grow grapes, while some grow and make the wine to be delivered, and still more have chateau designated wines. Every configuration has it’s own procedure with rules and regulations. And, a lot of really great wine is made, following their guidelines. For a consumer, this makes for some very tasty and consistently delightful and distinctive wines.


I dedicate this story to the Georges Duboeuf family for having me as their guest, and arranging for me to have met so many wonderful people. I now understand my grandparents Abbie and Peter Bernier, much better. I wish they had continued to talk French to me. I would be better for it.

And Quintessential Wines, for being my guide throughout this 10 day adventure.

Finally, I owe a debt of gratitude to my loving husband Jose Diaz, who so selflessly encourages my international travels, allowing me to expand and enrich my life experiences, which I share with him. Our lives are much richer, as a result.


Auction,Education,Sonoma,Sonoma County,Wine

2019 Sonoma County Wine Auction Is at It Again with Star-Studded Lots Announced

Sonoma County Vinters are finding their groove, and their auction lots continue to expand and better more exciting for consumers. All of these lots are to benefit Sonoma County’s largest charitable fundraiser. I’m going to just print their press release, since it’s so succinct.

Santa Rosa, CA (Aug 28, 2019) — Today, the Sonoma County Vintners Foundation and Honorary Co-Chairs Gina Gallo and Christopher Jackson unveiled the complete list of one-of-a-kind auction lots available at the 2019 Sonoma County Wine Auction, presented by Visa Signature®. The auction lots are an exclusive way to procure sought-after wines, private experiences, dinners with America’s top chefs, and excursions not typically available to the public. A few examples include: an evening with celebrated band Lady Antebellum hosted by Christopher and Ariel Jackson of Stonestreet Estate Vineyards, a tour of Northern Italy curated by Gina Gallo and E. & J. Gallo Winery, the ultimate fan experience with San Francisco 49ers Hall of Famers and iconic vintner Merry Edwards, and a stay at Francis Ford Coppola’s private island from The Family Coppola.

The live auction will be hosted at La Crema Estate at Saralee’s Vineyard and will be the culmination of a weekend of activities taking place September 19-21.  Proceeds from this event support more Sonoma County non-profit organizations than any other local fundraiser. Over $30 million has been raised since the auction’s inception, making a direct local impact on education, health and human services, the environment, and arts and culture.

“As members of this community, raising money and giving back has been important to us from the start,” said Gina Gallo, Honorary Co-Chair, of E. & J. Gallo Winery. “I’m always impressed by the unique and personal auction lots offered by Sonoma County’s wineries and growers. It’s also quite touching to see the generosity of the Sonoma County Wine Auction community and their commitment to raising funds and supporting those who truly need it. It is definitely the most fun you can have while raising money!”

“Gina and I look forward to welcoming guests to what we hope will be our most successful auction to date,” said Honorary Co-Chair Christopher Jackson of Jackson Family Wines. “In addition to the incredible auction lots, this year’s Fund-A-Need paddle raise is dedicated to helping build a Boys & Girls Club in one of the most underserved neighborhoods in Sonoma.” Adds Jackson, “this will provide educational services, experiences and opportunities that will have a lasting impact on the children and community for decades to come.”

The 40-lot collection that features GRAMMY-award winning musicians, luxurious travel excursions, extravagant meals prepared by world-class chefs, and rare behind-the-scenes experiences with three major Bay Area sports teams can be explored in advance at www.sonomacountywineauction.com. Auction lots also include special wine collections featuring large format and rare wines from Sonoma County’s outstanding wineries, perfect for those looking to enhance their cellars.

  • An intimate evening with Grammy Award-winning Lady Antebellum hosted by Christopher and Ariel Jackson of Stonestreet Estate Vineyards. Gather at the newly constructed private hunting club Wing & Barrel Ranch in Sonoma, CA, for an array of coveted wine, delectable food, and the evening of a lifetime.  Lady Antebellum is one of the most celebrated bands in country music and has released nine #1 hits, earned seven GRAMMY Awards, and sold more than 18 million albums.
  • A Tour of Northern Italy’s most spectacular cities and remarkable wineries curated by Gina Gallo of & J. Gallo Winery. The trip includes business-class airline tickets for four, insider experiences and wine tastings in Milan, Piedmont, Verona, Fumane, Florence and Montalcino. Explore some of Italy’s most remarkable estates including Renato Ratti, Allegrini Winery and Argiano.
  • A collection of CIRQ wines by Michael Browne and front row access to the CIRQ mailing list.  This exclusive wine lot allows you to bypass the 3-4 year waiting list and includes 18 bottles of CIRQ’s highly sought-after wines in large format and library collections, as well as a tasting and personal tour of the estate.
  • Ultimate fan experience with San Francisco 49ers Hall of Famers and iconic vintner Merry Edwards. Join celebrated vintner Merry Edwards and Chef Michael Mina for a pregame dinner. Then experience ESPN with Pro Football Hall of Fame Quarterback Steve Young. After, enjoy field passes and tickets for the Owners’ Suites to watch the Niners take on the Seattle Seahawks. Cap off your Hall of Fame experience with dinner in a private suite at the stadium with Edwards and one of football’s most celebrated Hall of Famers, Ronnie Lott. This lot also includes a 3-Liter collection of Merry Edwards wines signed by Merry and 49ers Alumni, and a separate stay at Merry Edwards Winery including dinner hosted by Charlie Palmer at the Dry Creek Kitchen.
  • Exclusive Culinary Cult Buy-in Dinner. 6 chefs, 12 winemakers, 40 guests—one incredible night! Be indulged as some of the top chefs in America including Charlie Palmer, Scott Romano, Dustin Valette, Tim Kaulfers, Jeff Mall and Mark Stark prepare a meal so exquisite that the only thing that could possibly rival the food is the collection of wines and winemakers who will be serving them
  • Barefoot Elegance on Francis Ford Coppola’s Private Island presented by Francis Ford Coppola Winery. Spend three nights at Francis Ford Coppola’s Coral Caye private island plus two nights at Sofia Coppola’s Beach House at Turtle Inn resort in Belize for the Coppola Winery lot. The “Gilligan glam” experience includes oceanfront luxury and a “Day at the Reef” excursion for snorkeling or diving at the second largest barrier reef in the world.
  • All-access passes to the 2019 St. Regis Snow Polo Championship in Aspen, Colorado courtesy of Flexjet and Senses Wines. Enjoy the freedom of private travel and experience the Flexjet Red Label difference as you fly from Sonoma, CA, to Aspen, CO, in an aircraft appointed with a custom-designed interior from the LXi Cabin Collection. Both couples will stay in luxury at The Little Nell, a 5-star,            5-diamond resort in Aspen.  The winning bidder will also receive a Horse Kit valued at over $25,000 and complete access to a host of VIP events at one of the most prestigious snow polo tournaments in the world.

Among the other incredible lots are

  • An intimate Nashville trip from Lasseter Family Winery, including an evening and private concert with country music performer Brad Paisley
  • A journey to the Amanyara Resort in Turks and Caicos with Knights Bridge Winery
  • And, an excursion to New Orleans with Benovia Winery featuring dinner at Emeril’s New Orleans and Trenasse






Suisun Valley,Viticulture,Wine,Wine Business

Fairness in Pricing ~ Suisun Valley is Only Asking for its Fair Share

When I began working with Suisun Valley, some 14 years ago, I was taken to one section of a vineyard, where Napa Valley crosses over into Suisun Valley. I was shown the northern part of the road (Napa Valley side) and was told the grapes from the same contiguous vineyard were selling for $3,000 a ton. Then, I was shown the southern part of the road (Suisun Valley side) and was told the grapes from that same contiguous vineyard were selling for $300 a ton. How can people get away with this, which is certainly not fair to the growers, their families, and their valley?

[A photo I took years ago; and for the sake of privacy, this is NOT the location; however, it’s very close to it.]

By doing something about it… Finding the red tape, and then cutting one’s way through it. Let me give you a simile… Sleeping Beauty was just beyond the thickets, all Prince Charming had to do was cut through it. Ever try to get through blackberry bushes? Aha… Now you’ve got it.

Our Prince Charming in this case is Roger King, former president of the Suisun Valley Grape Growers and Vintners Association. He retired after so many years as their board leader, like 14 years since they began and just stepped down. But, he didn’t go take a nap. He’s been very busy. With the onslaught of some pretty big guys moving in Suisun Valley (the best kept secret since the 1800s), critical items – in order to maintain an equitable lifestyle – have just been on a back burner.

The Prince is cutting through the thicket, ladies and gentlemen, to get to the castle, at last. From a press release:

First Petition in 30+ years to amend California Grape Pricing District Boundary

Suisun Valley, Fairfield, California: The Suisun Valley Vintners and Growers Association has formally requested California Department of Food and Agriculture to petition for amendment to boundary definition of Grape Pricing District 5 (aka crush district), in eastern Solano County.  The effort is being filed on behalf of the Association by Roger King, Chairman, Growers Committee.

The last such amendment to California Administrative Code Title 3 Chapter 2 Article 1 Section 1700 was dated July 24th, 1985.  It involved District 17, which will also be involved in this amendment request.

The Clare Berryhill Grape Crush Report Act of 1976 set in motion today’s current price discovery reporting system, for achieved grape pricing averages each year across the State of California, now subdivided into 17 Districts.  Price discovery is often used for future grape contracting or contract resets, as well as factors into crop insurance considerations and some financial institution asset valuation.

The grape and wine industry has changed significantly over these decades and the initial Grape Pricing District count of 11 has morphed to 17 as the industry advanced.  That evolution continues with this approach to amend the boundary of District 5 in the Ryer Island region (Sacramento River) of Solano County thus moving the region into District 17 to establish fairness in price discovery for producers and processors.

#  #  #

Roger has thoroughly prepared documents that support his case. I look forward to seeing this group slaying through the bureaucratic thickets.


Event,Viticulture,Wine,Wine Business,Wine Writer,Winemaker,Winery

Charles Krug Winery ~ An American Dynasty of the Best Kind

When I first came to California, I had solid PR credentials. With 11 years in WBLM radio broadcasting as their publicist, I knew all about radio broadcasting and not only creating, but also keeping their public file.

What I didn’t have was the slightest knowledge about wine. Still, I was ready to take it on.

So, I applied to Charles Krug Winery’s position of PR director. They were so kind to me. We all got along immensely, and they knew I fit their culture… but – big BUT… I didn’t know one wine writer and knew virtually nothing about wine. I can’t blame them for turning me away; but, they did so in the kindest possible way, seriously. They told me to study up on wine, in my process, and perhaps another day they could entertain my credentials.

I began a tasting room job at Belvedere Winery in 1993, taking an associate degree, 60-unit program, at Santa Rosa Junior College; and within five years my business card read “Communications Director – District Manager.” (My states were Northern California, Northern Nevada, Oregon, Ohio, Minnesota, Idaho, and Puerto Rico.) I had competed my 60 units, and had come of age.

Then everything has fast forwarded to now. And, I’ve just returned to Charles Krug Winery; not as an employee, but one of their honored guests. This is just a small piece of their story.

[PHOTO: Property of the Charles Krug Winery’s Website.]

The Charles Krug Winery ~ Mondavi Family

Peter Mondavi Family Estate, established in 1861

It wasn’t that long ago; but still, some has passed and the savory memories still brightly linger. Swept up with summer, grandkids in the pool, another season of #NanaGrampCamp, and off to Europe… with CK Mondavi on my mind, I would have to revisit the visit. And, now’s the perfect time.

I attended their great party in Napa, in May, in the drizzle, who knew it would rain in May? No matter where I’ve gone and what I’ve done since, it’s been on my mind as that fabulous opportunity. So, today, this is my event sharing…

It was such an honor to be among so few people, hosted by such a historic Napa Valley, iconic family… A delicious time was had by all.

All guests had the opportunity to play bocce ball, to then enjoy their latest releases of wines, which were also paired by a delicious barbecue with hosts Janice, Marc, and Riana Mondavi, at their home.

When I arrived, I was greeted by a very familiar face… the artwork. When working with the Suisun Valley Vintners & Growers Association, I was introduced to sculptor Philip Glashoff’s work… And here was one of his pieces. I knew this was going to be a great day… People who love and support the arts are my kind of people. More on Philip Glashoff: https://www.facebook.com/glashoffgallery

So, this was going to be a bocci ball day… with developed credentials. I arrived few minutes late, due to the drizzle and slippery conditions. Who knew it would do this in May? I was greeted with a fun CK Mondavi and Family sangria, and appetizers from Pitmaster, Matt Horn.

11:15 a.m.: Bocce history and how to play the game from Greg Travers, Commissioner of the Martinez Bocce Federation

Class was in session and I decided to record it, because, I’ve got Bocce down; except, how hard I’d have to be throwing heavier balls to have any impact. Interesting note: Pétanque’s little ball is called a Cochonnet… Translated is little piglet. Target ball in Bocci is called a Pallina, and simply translates to “ball.”

Yup… puppy on the bocci court. Is anything going to be safe?

… and the gardens… I love gardens. I call one of mine “Provence,” because it holds all of my herbs. Never, in my wildest dreams did I think I would ever be freshly back from Provence, too. But here I am, back in the Mondavis’ garden spaces. I found the Mondavi gardens just so refreshing in a beautiful, country setting.

Sculpture… and a BBQ with pork? Yeah, I could see their passion, and then tasted it, with wine and foods paired.

The straight on lineup of what we tasted… And I still find it remarkable that this wine is only $6.99 a bottle. Economy of scale allows for great pricing, which benefits consumers. I’d never think twice about picking up a bottle of CK Mondavi wines, based on what I got to experience.

Riana Mondavi told her family history. “CK Mondavi and Family wines are bottled in the Napa Valley by the iconic C. Mondavi & Family. For consumers desiring consistently delicious, everyday wines, CK Mondavi and Family wines over deliver for the price point. Based in the Napa Valley for almost seventy-five years, CK Mondavi and Family’s grapes are 100% sourced from California vineyards, utilizing sustainable farming techniques and winemaking practices that are more typical of expensive wines. Their relentless commitment to quality winemaking and hands-on small lot sourcing sets them apart from other value wines. A large portion of the grapes in CK Mondavi and Family wines are estate grown on the family’s 1,850 acres of vineyard property and the family is committed to working with American growers that they’ve had partnerships with for generations. CK Mondavi and Family are the first and only wines 100% “Made in USA Certified®” and the family produces wines that are consistent, vintage-to-vintage, providing consumers with a value and quality they can rely on. Today, CK Mondavi and Family remains one of the most successful wine brands in America because of its excellent quality and great value.

We had the Moscato and dessert with BACON! Sorry, excitedly, I got a little memory jolt. My friend Susanne Carlberg (Christopher Bridge Winery in Oregon City, Oregon) told me, “this totally works … at our house!” Yeah, now me, too.

That’s why I’m here enjoying this story to tell, I can honestly say. Fruit bombs they’re not. I have what’s called a “super palate.” (More taste buds than what’s considered “normal.” I don’t need a fruit bomb to hit my palate over the head, with a sledge hammer. Slow and easy does it… That’s what these wines are. Great for people just entering the wine world, set at the perfect price to make them affordable. I highly recommend any of these CK Wines, for easy enjoying pleasure.

Now, I’m going to share the bottle shots that I took. While they speak for themselves visually, pay attention to their back label’s statement, remembering that each bottle gives you a perfect snapshot… no hype, no hyperboles; just honest information to make your experience more enjoyable. This is a great writing success, in my opinion. Also, notice the low alcohol level of 13.6? Yeah, see it in the 13 percent range and you can bet it’s food friendly.


As I once heard my friend Emiliano Bernardi of Colonnara | Vini e Spumanti say, “Ciao, ciao, ciao!


Beaujolais,Flavors from the World of Wine,Food & Wine,Food and Wine,France,Gamay,Wine,Wine Business,Wine Country,Wine Culture,Wine Ed,Wine Education,Wine Folly: Magnum Edition of the Master Guide,Wine Travel,Wine Writer,Wine-Blog,Winemaker,Winemaking,Winery,Wines

Beaujolais 101 ~ Your Primer Through the Lens of Les Vins Georges Duboeuf

PHOTO: Taken in the Beaujolais region of France, at the Georges Duboeuf’s Chateau, in Romaneche-Thorins, France. Georges Duboeuf is the highly regarded founder of Les Vins Georges Duboeuf.

These are all of my own images from my trip to Beaujolais, with the exception of Wine Folly’s map.

Beaujolais 101 ~ A TOP TEN Primer

  1. Pronounced: BOE-zjoh-lay, just south of Mâcon Burgundy, and is actually the southern part of Burgundy
  2. Red Beaujolais wines originate from the Gamay grape
  3. A whopping 98 percent of Beaujolais’s wine grapes are red
  4. Beaujolais grapes come from an area north of Lyon, beginning at a distance of 18 miles (30 kilometers)
  5. All wine grapes, in the Beaujolais region of France, must be picked by hand
  6. It’s a beautiful entry wine for anyone just starting out, and a favorite for other passionate, wine lovers
  7. Beaujolais wines make terrific Rosés
  8. Styles do vary greatly, which makes exploring them truly fascinating
  9. Bordered by
    • Burgundy to the north
      • Think Pinot Noir and Chardonnay
    • Saône River to the east
      • Leading to Côtes du Rhône
    • Lyon to the South
      • Considered the gastronomic capital of France
    • Monts de Beaujolais to the west
      • Hills of the Massif Central, part of the highland region in the middle of Southern France
  10. Classifications of Beaujolais ~ Crus of Beaujolais ~ listed from north to south – cross reference Wine Folly’s map below: Magnum Edition of the Master Guide, by Madeline Puckette and Justin Hammack. It so clearly defines how the appellations (French Appellation d’Origine Contrôlées (AOC) flow; not only southward, but also to outlying areas. Wine Folly’s site is highly recommended for more details, by Wine-blog.
    1. St-Amour
      • We visited Château de Saint-Amour (Saint-Amour) with owners and winemaker
    2. Juliénas
      • We visited Château des Capitans (Juliénas), with winemaker William Chevalier
    3. Chénas
      • One day in the future
    4. Moulin-à-Vent
      • We visited France’s famous windmill, know as Moulin-à-Vent
    5. Fleurie
      • La Madone Chapel in Fleurie, we met with vintner Patrick Darroze and his winemakers, sons of two growers that Patrick’s dad was very close to
    6. Chiroubles
      • One day in the future
    7. Morgon
      • Morgon Jean-Ernest Descombes, with owner Nicole Descombes
    8. Régnié
      • One day in the future
    9. Brouilly
      • Chateau de Nervers, Brouilly, with owners Jean-Benoit and Tiphaine de Chabannes in Odenas Brouilly
    10. Côte de Brouilly
      • One day in the future

Beaujolais 201 ~ Reflections

PHOTO: This is the actual Château de St. Amour, which also became a sketched image on their Georges Duboeuf bottle, of Les Vins Georges Duboeuf Chateau St. Amour’s wine.

In the real life picture, to the bottom left of the building, you can see our picnic gathering, for a tasting of their Gamay wine paired with Madame Sidauren’s homemade Gougères (French Cheese Puffs). It was a perfect morning in their beautiful gardens and at their intriguing and captivating chateau.

I’m sure you now know how this label came into existence, seeing both the chateau and the wine bottle’s label.

Each day of the eight days planned, we had so many chateaus to see, and we were also taken to the thrilling heights of the region, in a helicopter. This areal photo, taken in Beaujolais, was of the Golden Stone region. It was seriously fantastic. Our Pilot was Bruno Rivollet, of Helico Sun.

More Beaujolais

Just to see, read, or hear the word Beaujolais spoken is tres jolie! And really, so are the terroir, wines, culture, people, and foods, from this region of France.

For most of us, there’s no better way to learn about the magical Beaujolais region, than by being there. Not very practical for many of us, though, and with that in mind, we usually depend on the learnings and teachings of others; either from those who live in the area, or from journalists who have made a trip to Beaujolais, who interview experts for details. This latter example is today’s story.

We entered the winery on our first day to meet winemaker Denis Lapaler. Denis is one of two head winemakers on the Georges Duboeuf team; the other being Emeric Gaucher.

PHOTO: Winemaker Denis Lapaler taking wine from the tank, so we can taste a developing Beaujolais,. Denis’s job is overseeing all quality control, as well as making wine for Georges Duboeuf.

I was the guest of a 10-day, well organized, and intense educational journey into Beaujolais. It included visiting the parent company of Les Vins Georges Duboeuf, as well as visiting other families growing wine grapes for the Georges Duboeuf family of wines.

The Georges Duboeuf family has it own estate wines, as well as being highly regarded, négociant merchants from Beaujolais. They’ve assembled the highest quality of committed, small family growers and winemakers, and have added them to their portfolio, each with specific designations. Their umbrella company includes Cru Beaujolais, Beaujolais Villages, plus Beaujolais, and Beaujolais Nouveau (which Georges Duboeuf popularized the tradition in Beaujolais of making a very young wine, with which to celebrate the harvest.  As they call it — “the first wine of the harvest.”)

Some members on their team just grow grapes, while some grow and make the wine to be delivered, and still more have chateau designated wines. Every configuration has it’s own procedure with rules and regulations. And, a lot of really great wine is made, following their guidelines. For a consumer, this makes for some very tasty and consistently delightful and distinctive wines. Tasting their samples, and quoting what I heard a five year old say on the return flight, as we were leaving Paris)… Ooooo la la!

So yes, I’m happy to say that if any of the George Duboeuf bottles of wine were placed in front of me, I trust that they’re a delicious representation of the Beaujolais region, of France, based on the family’s longstanding history in Beaujolais, their quality control practices, and all else that I’ve tasted and learned.

PHOTO of Georges Duboeuf signing his autobiography for me: Left to right, sitting, Georges Duboeuf and me (star struck). Standing, Franck Duboeuf and his son Aurélien Duboeuf… Three generations met us… An important moment in history for the Duboeuf family.

These thousand or so words don’t even begin to express what I’ve just learned in Beaujolais, as a guest of Les Vins Georges Duboeuf. There will be many more profiles of the brands, who are growing the wine grapes and are part of the Georges Duboeuf Family. Stay tuned for more Beaujolais profiles of the lovely French families, we met along the way… living and loving in the Beaujolais region of France… the wining, dining, and experiencing the good life in rural France.


Bubbly,Bubbly Wine,Italy,Prosecco,Wine

Wine of the Week – Stella Prosecco for the Joy of It


  1. THE HEART OF THE DEAL ~ THE WINERY: info is coming from the company’s own statements
    1. I can’t make up their history
    2. Nor am I to try
    1. Imported by LLS (Leonardo LoCascio Selections), a member of The Winebow Group)
    2. Creative Palate

Stella Prosecco


Following a recent makeover, and just in time for spring and summer, Leonardo LoCascio Selections (LLS) is pleased to introduce Stella Prosecco, a new addition to its Stella collection of Italian wines. Stella Wines offer an inviting taste of Italy, where Prosecco is affectionately known as “The Welcome Wine.” Italians love their bollicine (bubbles); a glass of lightly sparkling Prosecco is a favorite way to welcome visiting family and friends. Spring debuts on March 21 (the vernal equinox), transitioning to summer on June 21 (summer solstice). From Easter, to Mother’s Day, to the Memorial Day holiday weekend, bridal season and beyond, there’s no shortage of excuses to pop a cork and celebrate with a glass of Prosecco in the months to come! Stella Prosecco is a lightly sparkling wine, made in the Veneto region from 100 percent Glera grapes, Stella Prosecco is fresh, fun and easy to enjoy.


The Glera grapes are harvested in the Veneto region of Northeast Italy, surrounded by the Dolomites and the Adriatic Coast. Mountain and sea influences converge to produce a wine that is smooth and refined on the palate, with effervescent notes of green apple and pear. Stella Prosecco is made from fruit grown in a vineyard planted in 1986. No “Johnny-come-lately” here, but a vineyard with longer roots, managed by a vineyard team with the experience to produce the best results. At the winery, the team does not rush the process: the fruit remains on the lees a total of 30 days (10 days for the first fermentation, 20 days for the second) for enhanced flavor and body. The final sparkling wine comes in at a relatively moderate 11 percent alcohol – ideal for parties and summer entertaining.


Light, lively, and fun. Once you’re in any old town of Italy, be prepared to see one of these Vespa scooters, weaving in and out on the cobblestones, avoiding (sometimes, just nearly missing) pedestrians…  The soul of this wine is simply that, too. Light, lively, and fun, weaving flavors in and out as you’re enjoying the bubbles!


Contest,Wine,Wine Blogger,Wine Writer,Wine-Blog

Why do I feel like I’m prostituting myself?

Once upon a time, I was an artist.  Making very intricate jewelry. When it came time to sell it, I fell short of being able to say, “Isn’t that just beautiful! It would look so GREAT on you.”

I just couldn’t do it. “Buy it or not, it’s your decision; it will find a home.”

That’s also when I realized I could easily cheerlead for others (PR is my calling), but not for any of my own work… How can one judge one’s own work and then really brag about it, unless there’s that bit of narcissism in one’s DNA? (Maybe I have a smidge?)

So, I think this is the fourth email I’ve received from Lisa, and just ignored them, until right now for the above reason ~ How would I do that?

It took a while to find some sense in it; and, then I found an easy way. Some people do like wine blogs and will vote for them. Readers might like to know about their friends on this very formidable list, each of the blogs are fascinating reading, after reviewing them. So more blog options for you, Dear Reader, related to wine).



We recently sent you an email detailing your nomination for Best Wine Blogs Award 2019.

We remain interested in having you as one of our nominees. As such, we would like to confirm if you are still interested in being a participant.

The prize pool worth €300 [$336.77 United States Dollars] will be given away to those who receive the highest amounts of votes on a percentage basis.

Every vote will be counted to ensure that the participants will receive the prize money that they have earned.

Deadline for voting is at 12:00 PM on 3rd of Oct. 2019.

Your participation simply involves you helping to spread awareness of the award by mentioning it in your blog in any way you see fit.

For your choice of banner, you can visit: https://tab.do/fr-ci/banners/banners-for-best-wine-blogs-award-2019

To confirm your participation, please respond via this email. In the event that you are unable to participate this time, we would like to extend you an invitation to join future awards.

Thank you for your time.



Wine Blog

One of the best wine blogs out there, wine-blog.org is worth checking out thanks to the comprehensive and exceptional contents available in it. You’re going to benefit most from contents like “Are wines really seasonal or reasonable, while an equator separates all of it,” “Misleading Move to Monetize Historic Legacy in the Famed Napa Valley?,” “He Asked, What Do You Think… Will CBD Be cutting Into Wine Sales?,” and “Georges Duboeuf’s Beaujolais Nouveau Label Design Now Goes Public.” You check the site out for more of such contents.



This list of talented wine writers is seriously amazing, and you may want to become familiar with their work, too.


Petite Sirah,Wine,Wine Appreciation,Wine Business,Wine Culture,Wine Ed,Wine Education

When Dark & Delicious Returns as the Petite Masters at Copia

Who: PS I Love You

What: Masters of Petite: Petite Sirah Panel, Tasting, & Walk-Around Reception

When: Sunday, July 14, on Bastille Day, 1:00 – 4:00 p.m.

Where: Copia, Napa Valley

Why: Celebrating our French Love Child Petite Sirah’s Heritage

While the carefree days of Dark & Delicious are now but a drifting memory, there’s been a U-Turn, a reinvent, a realization… Petite Sirah is just a really great variety, loved by its own cult following. And we love to party, hear stories, and learn more about our adopted love child from Montpelier France.

This is July, a time of our own American birth, via Fourth of July Celebrations… And for some of us, Like Petite Sirah, we also enjoy any French grandparent DNA we might have.  On July 14, the French will be celebrating their National Day for the anniversary of Storming of the Bastille. On 14 July 1789, this was the turning point of the French Revolution. With Petite Sirah’s French lineage, it’s just a great way to celebrate, especially those with French grandparents and anyone else who might also love Petite Sirah, for its sumptuously beautiful flavors.

On July 14, While France celebrates Bastille Day, we’re so pleased to also celebrate in grand tradition, with our immigrant child… Petite Sirah.

PART I – Seminar & Select Tastings
We’re focused on Petite Sirah education. Attend the seminar, with other devoted Petite fans, to learn about and taste five distinct, Dark & Delicious styles. Each winery has its own story, and each Petite will reflect its own terroir.

  1. Winemaker Tres Goetting of Robert Biale Vineyards
  2. Winemaker Nicole Salengo of Berryessa Gap
  3. Winemaker Randle Johnson of The Hess Collection and Artezin Wines
  4. Owner/Winemaker Julie Johnson of Tres Sabores Winery
  5. Owner/Winemaker Miro Tcholakov of Miro Cellars

PART II – Walk Around Tastings

The walk around tasting has 20 vintners/winemaking stars. The wines will be paired with gourmet bites from CIA chefs.

Participating Wineries:

At PS I Love You, we’re all looking forward to continuing the wine education for this American Heritage variety. According to American’s venerable wine historian Charles Sullivan:

1880 – Dr. Francois Durif, a grape botanist and grape breeder at the University of Montpellier in Southern France, released a new variety that he named after himself. It grew from a seed he extracted from fruit of the old French variety Peloursin. Dr. Durif didn’t know the pollen source at the time, but we now know that it was Syrah. The combination of Peloursin and Syrah resulted in fruit with saturated color and very dense fruit clusters.

1884 – Durif was introduced into California by Charles McIver. He imported Petite Sirah for his Linda Vista Vineyard, at the Mission San Jose in Alameda County. Petite Sirah entered the US through the East Bay. Some growers called it Petite Sirah, which was a name commonly used for Durif in some parts of France.




Argentina,Art in Wine,Sauvignon Blanc,Wine,Wine of the Week,Wine Samples,Wine tasting,Winemaking,Winery,Wines,Women in Wine

Finding “The House at Rueil” in Wine, can it be done?

Connecting Art to Wine, Before Even Tasting the Wine


I’ve wine samples to taste; a lot of samples to taste. Life just backs up the volume, as I work on balancing every to-do. At my present age, my grandmother… and then my mother… were taking long naps during the day. I’m not sure what’s happened in this day and age, but naps aren’t even a luxury. They don’t exist. So, I’m navigating new territory of how to live well, when my elders used to check out for a good part of the day, and didn’t even seem to check back in for the rest of it…

Seeing this house, while searching for something else… The House at Rueil, by Edouard Manet… made me want to go through the wine collection; and, not be thinking about what arrived first, so then (and only then) I will find the art to match it. I’m going to flip the switch. I’m going into new territory, so the joie de vivre takes on new meaning.

I’ve been blogging since 2002. I’ve written over 3,000 stories. By this time, I need new inspiration… I think I may have found a new trigger, at least for this moment.

First of All

Credit for this painting’s current whereabouts:

The color and warmth of this house is what first attracted me. I needed to find a sample that would be as evocative:

  • image ~ label design needs at least some of these colors
  • memory ~ my parents painting my grandmother’s Victorian a soft yellow, before they moved in (and then took naps)
  • feelings ~ enticingly light, breezy, and lovely

But, will a wine hold up to all of that as a first thought, rather than being the afterthought? Let’s see how this one evolved.

Off to Search Through the Wine Collection

IMAGE: Started with the cream color, so red and white both worked.

MEMORY: Next came the bit of Burgundy. Narrowing it even more.

FEELINGS: Sweating in the summer sun, while tasting lemonade, made by my grandmother…

When all was considered and the wines had been pulled for not having exactly the right “it,” I did succeed in finding a match. (I do know all of the wines I pulled have “it,” with another piece of art work, though, yet to be determined.)

Chosen strictly as a process of elimination in the realm of the wine label matching a painting, I’m very pleased with the final selection of a Domaine Bousquet. The culture of the painting and the winery of Domaine Bousquet both have a French lineage. My Bernier/Ouellette grandparents home had many French touches as well. I can connect so many dots. Perhaps my French DNA played a role?

So, where is The House at Rueil actually located?

From ArtsandCulture.google.com

Edouard Manet’s fascination with the effects of light and colour was constantly renewed as he took in the myriad impressions of the infinitely varied world around him. His portrayal of the house just outside Paris belonging to his host, the poet Eugène Labiche, was in no way intended as a faithful view. Instead he restricted himself to a section of the facade, like a detail, much in the style of Japanese woodcuts. It is not possible to take in the house as a whole, both because of the limited view and because of the tree trunk that calculatedly cuts through the aedicule and thus through the functional and aesthetic center of the house, heightening the viewer’s attention and fascination. While the facade is bathed in blazing sunlight, one can nevertheless sense the cooling shade cast by the crown of the tree up above the top edge of the picture. One also senses that there is a slight breeze causing the patches of light to gently shift their position. “A blithe spirit has created this picture with consummate skill” (Hugo von Tschudi) — skill that is evident in the finely balanced play of colours, the powerful contrasts of red and green, and the restrained resonance of tones of yellow and blue.

The blue of the house isn’t represented anywhere here, and just as an FYI – Blue is perhaps one of the few colors used on a label, so the violet takes care of having one of the final shades in the color spectrum, and what I finalized as the winner of this experiment. Still, I wanted to know… WHERE was this  house?

Finding this actual location was like looking for a needle in a haystack, but I persisted. While the house belonged to poet Eugène Labiche, it looks like Manet was there to recover from maladies, where he painted the gardens around the house.


Manet and his wife Suzanne, were spending a period in this small village, just west of Paris.

Unlike Giverny, where the garden was the artist’s creation, the Manets were renting… [Eugène Labiche‘s] house in the hope of improving Edouard Manet’s health.

It doesn’t seem to have been a particularly congenial location for Manet, although he produced a number of paintings of the house and garden and of his wife.

The village was small and quiet, consisting of a number of different squares. There was little company for the sociable Manet although his sojourn at 18, Rue de Chateau was meant to provide him with rest.

You wouldn’t sense from the painting, that Rue de Chateau was a narrow cobbled lane, with no chateau to be seen, and that the house had a small garden.

~ The Wine I Ultimately Found ~


  • French family, French wine – check!
  • Variety from France’s Bordeaux – check!
  • The flavor as welcoming as what I wanted to replicate with this simply delicious view – check!

DOMAINE BOUSQUET is a favorite wine brand for me. I got to meet Anne Bousquet – Al Ameri, who’s a brilliant young woman, a second generation member of this hard working Bousquet family. When she came to California, we had a delicious lunch and time together at Barn Diva in Healdsburg. Her wines matched our menu selections perfectly. The quality of the wines are fabulous, the price is a true value… If the price were to rise, I wouldn’t bat an eyelash, and would happily pay the price, because it would STILL be a great bargain.

Domaine Bousquet


  1. HEART ~ WINERY ~ From the winery

    • In the early 1990’s, Anne’s father Jean Bousquet visited Tupungato, Argentina. Four generations of winemaker history, Jean arrived from Carcassonne, located in southern France. He was searching for exceptional terroir, in order to start a new winery. By 1997, a parcel of land was purchased and the family relocated from France to the foothills of the Andes, when Jean had sold his southern France vineyard and winery property. The land he purchased in Tupungato, was completely developed, with no wineries anywhere to be seen. This is land in the Uco Valley. [For perspective, Tupungato is an hour south of Mendoza City.]
  2. SCIENCE ~ WINEMAKING ~ From the winery
    • Domaine Bousquet’s premium varietal series comprises a blend of estate and purchased fruit from the Uco Valley. The grapes benefit from major diurnal temperature swings, achieving exuberant ripeness while retaining the juiciness that invites a second glass. The wines are vinified with a French sensibility. The wines are un-oaked – an on-trend sensibility of little or no oak to let the fruit shine through and make the wines extremely food-friendly. This wine is100% Sauvignon Blanc, cold macerated to extract aromas and flavors, and is fermented in stainless steel tanks.
  3. SOUL ~ Jo’s notes
    • The pure pleasure of this 2019 Domaine Bousquet Sauvignon Blanc, from Mendoza Argentina, tasted on a 90 degree day just as summer arrived, was so refreshingly delightful. Not only did I satisfying my adventure of finding the right wine to match a piece of artwork (versus the other way around), but the Domaine Bousquet Sauvignon Blanc also quenched my thirst on a hot summer’s day. This Sauvignon Blanc is in perfect balance and harmony, as is this Edouard Manet painting, which delivered its statement of well-balanced, visual art.
    • Domaine Bousquet’s wines are liquid art, and so very easy to enjoy.

Trying any of the Domaine Bousquet wines is liquid art realized. This 2019 Domaine Bousquet Sauvignon Blanc over delivered, per usual.