For the last six months we have found ourselves down in Los Angeles many times and finally discovering the good food that can be found down in LA-LA land. LA is much different culinarily speaking then I remember from many years back (or maybe we just never found what was good).
Top three things great about food in LA:
We are looking forward to enjoying more great eats in LA. If you have a favorite AND has a great wine selections let me know.
The last winemaker that I met on my trip to Burgundy was Paul Pernot. Again, I cannot thank Jeanne Marie de Champs of Domaines et Saveurs for her time and introductions to these fine winemakers. I have been selling Pernot’s wines for many many years now and knew what to expect somewhat based on my experiences with his wines. Like his wines, Paul Pernot is a seemingly simple man, but behind the exterior is honest hard work, a drive, a purity, and great complexity. There is nothing precious about the man, the vineyard, or his wines. Pernot is about tradition, pride, and passion for crafting his wines.
Paul Pernot is 5th generation burgundian winemaker. His great-great grandfather, a négociant in Puligny, started the vine purchasing. Between vineyards that were inherited and his purchases of the past 30 years, the estate has grown to over 23 hectares (about 57 acres). The vines are all in great shape and range in age from 20 to 55 years in age.
Paul and Michel, his sons, are the ones that actively run the winery now, but Paul is very much still the patriarch. They are carrying on the tradition with great results. Pernot’s wines are known for their minerality and clean fruit, and they know how to use new oak in a supporting role.
The Bourgogne Blanc is a no-brainer purchase at $23.50 a bottle, but when you pick up your case to get you through crab season, go for a few bottles for the cellar, too. Your only disappointment will be that you should have bought more for your cellar.
On my recent to trip to Burgundy, Jeanne Marie de Champs of Domaines et Saveurs took precious time out of her schedule to show us Burgundy through her eyes. One of the winemakers we met with her was Jean-Pierre Cornut of Chateau de la Maltroye.
Before I even laid eyes on Jean-Pierre I knew I was in the right spot. His home and winery were exactly how I envisioned them—not a stone out of place. It truly has to be the tidiest winery I have ever visited.
Jean-Pierre Cornut was an aviation engineer in Paris when his father fell ill in 1992. The family estate soon became Jean-Pierre’s responsibility. His meticulous personality has led him to success: He has transformed a very good estate into a first class estate. He prides himself on having the cleanest cellars in France. In constant search for perfection, he could not miss harnessing the elusive nature of Pinot Noir.
After meeting him and tasting his wines with him and Jeanne Marie de Champs, I completely understand him and his wines. He appreciates art and design. Even though he is very into precision, I get the feeling he understands that all he can do is give structure and support to what his vines give him. You might not say he is a nurturing personality, but it is very apparent that he is extremely passionate about what he does. With his passion comes the endless desire to seek perfection in such a mercurial grape as pinot noir, while handling the body of Chardonnay, and consistently making brilliant vintages.
Don’t worry about Jean-Pierre not getting out to have fun, as I am sure the gorgeous Ferrari in his cellar lets him release any frustration he might have with what nature gives him. Now when I think about how much “drive” his White Burgundies have, I will have a nice picture of his Ferrari in my mind. Amazing wines and a brilliant winemaker. One of his Red Burgundies is featured in this month’s Company Coming but he has many more Burgundies (white and red) that would be a fabulous addition to any wine cellar.
2010 Chateau de la Maltroye Chassagne-Montrachet (white) $56
Rated: 88 by Stephen Tanzer, Sep 12
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
Pale, bright yellow. Citrus peel and a hint of olive on the nose. Plush, sexy and open-knit but with enough acidity to maintain its shape. The olive element carries through onto the palate. Nicely dense village wine with moderate lift.
2009 Chateau de la Maltroye Chassagne-Montrachet Clos St. Jean Rouge $65
2009 Chateau de la Maltroye Chassagne-Montrachet La Boudriotte Rouge $66
2009 Chateau de la Maltroye Chassagne-Montrachet Morgeot Vignes Blanches $90
Rated: 91 by Stephen Tanzer, Sep/Oct 11
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
Bright yellow. Lemon, lime and powdered stone aromas. Then surprisingly fat and open-knit, with good limey lift to the smooth peach fruit. Finishes nicely dry and fresh, with a perfumed floral quality and a hint of warmth. Nicely coats the palate, but this is not a particularly weighty example of Morgeot--or of 2009.
Being a longtime fan of the Ehrharts’ wines, it was an obvious choice to visit Alsace and meet Philippe and Corrine Ehrhart. They are very much like their wines—quiet strength, no flash, completely authentic—they know who they are and where they come from. All of their wines are organic and biodynamic and fermented in stainless steel. Sounds simple, but these days I think it’s harder and harder to come by both.
They are a family business, first and foremost. During our visit we met in the old tasting room, since they were in the midst of large-scale building project. Last year, they completed the new winemaking facility and next year they will be done building their tasting room and cellar. They are moving from the middle of Wettolsheim (just outside of Colmar) to the edge of Wettolsheim, so they have room to grow are closer to La Route des Vins. As soon as the new tasting room is built, Philippe’s parents will move to live atop the new facilities, as this is what they are accustomed to: They need to be “on top” of things. This family has three generations of history hand crafting their product through all phases.
Tasting with winemakers, you never know what ground you will cover (pardon the pun), but that is exactly what we discussed: terroir. While we were tasting, Corinne showed me on the map the location of each vineyard site. I was noticing the difference in body between Hengst and Herrenwerg and she noted that is because Hengst is higher in elevation and has a greater amount of red clay, which is attributed to the fuller body. Information like that is invaluable to tasting and understanding wine.
If you are ever in Alsace, Colmar is well worth the visit as is seeing the Ehrharts and the neighboring town of Eguisheim. This month in Everyday Libations, we are featuring one of my favorites from the Ehrharts, Pinot Auxerrois. It’s a great summer wine to have on hand to pair with appetizers and salads.
In Burgundy, I had the good fortune to meet up with Jeanne Marie de Champs of Domaines et Saveurs. She took precious time out of her schedule to give us a glorious afternoon in Burgundy meeting two winemakers whose wines I was familiar with and one new winemaker. Meeting the young and rosy-cheeked Philippe Pernot, grandson of Paul Pernot, was a great way to end the day of tasting. Philippe, raised amongst winemaking, married the daughter of a Puligny grower ,and thus... a winery is born, Domaine Pernot-Bélicard.
Philippe is into his fourth vintage. Having just tasted whites from two masterful vintners in the area, it was extremely interesting to taste his wines at the end of the day. While some of his wines didn’t have the preciseness as the elders I had just tasted, they were still great wines and extremely enjoyable. There was a sense of earnestness and drive to all his wines. The wines show great promise for immediate drinking and for the cellar. You can taste his understanding of his vineyards, and his unassuming style really comes through in his wines. The minerality is there, and he lets the uniqueness of each vineyard shine. The highlights from our barrel tasting were the Meursault (Village, $50) and the Puligny Montrachet Premiere Cru Camp Canet ($79).
I asked Jeanne Marie de Champs why she had chosen to add Philippe to her portfolio and she said, “I had been tasting his work along the way and seen him work his vineyards.” (She likes to drop by unannounced.) “He understands his vineyards and knows his craft, first and foremost. I see a bright future for him and his wines.” I couldn’t agree more.
This month in Company’s Coming we are featuring..... We have also added his other wines to the store. Be sure to sign up to try some.
Climbing Half Dome is on many people’s bucket list. I can safely scratch it off of mine. Last month, I was part of a group that set out to climb Half Dome as part of a 50th birthday celebration. Sad thing was (happily, the only sad thing about our climb) is that the birthday girl broke her ankle the DAY BEFORE we left! We had to set out on our adventure without our fearless leader.
As many of you know, a big part of any adventure is about the food and wine! On our way to Yosemite, my roomie and I stopped in at a BBQ place in Manteca, Weber’s BBQ. OMG! I haven’t had pulled pork like that in ages. I wanted to cry with happiness during my meal, the pork and the sauce was that good. Intensely spicy but not too hot, and so tender that it melts in your mouth. The owner extraordinaire is Carissa (who is also a preacher) and her helping hand is her son Myles. They welcome you in like it was their home. If you are ever driving through this area, you MUST STOP and say hi to Carissa and eat some of her BBQ!
Camping at the Ahwahnee is the only way I will go camping. The architecture is just breathtaking, it almost doesn’t matter what the food was like. Thankfully, it’s pretty good there at the lodge. I say pretty good, it’s fairly spendy but then, you are paying for the incredible view. The wine list was average, with hits from well-known California wine producers, but you could find some gems in there. We selected a few wines from Tablas Creek. The hike went well and the best part about hiking 16 miles is that you can pretty much toss your diet out the window for that night.
On our way back to San Francisco, I shared Weber’s BBQ menu with the girls. Everyone called ahead and picked up their dinners to take back to their families. The only problem is that when my roomie and I called, they had been cleaned out of ribs. Majorly bummed for myself but very happy for Carissa to get such great business. She’s working on getting her wine/beer license and I hope to be helping her out with a few selections. Manteca is no longer a place to drive thought on your way to Yosemite, Weber’s BBQ puts in on the map!
Webers BBQ: 823 Mellon Ave, Manteca, CA 95337
Tel: (209) 823-4227
Hours: Tue-Thu 11am–7pm; Fri-Sat 11am–9pm; Sun-Mon Closed
The Ahwahnee Hotel
Angela Camacho, a certified sommelier and author of a best selling wine tool, The Wine Wheel®, shares her obsession with wine and food.