God Bless The Baroness

God Bless The Baroness

by Paige Donner

Last summer, while attending Vinexpo in Bordeaux, I had the great good fortune to be issued a Press invitation to the Gala Dinner held at Mouton Rothschild in Pauillac, hosted by Madame Philippine de Rothschild. 

“The Baroness” Madame Philippine de Rothschild

The gala dinner that The Baroness (as her friends referred to her), Madame Philippine de Rothschild, was putting on was in…

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God Bless The Baroness

God Bless The Baroness

by Paige Donner

Last summer, while attending Vinexpo in Bordeaux, I had the great good fortune to be issued a Press invitation to the Gala Dinner held at Mouton Rothschild in Pauillac, hosted by Madame Philippine de Rothschild. 

“The Baroness” Madame Philippine de Rothschild

The gala dinner that The Baroness (as her friends referred to her), Madame Philippine de Rothschild, was putting on was in…

View On WordPress

The Baroness
1567019-philippine-de-rothschild-aux-cotes-de-950x0-2

by Paige Donner

Last summer, while attending Vinexpo in Bordeaux, I had the great good fortune to be issued a Press invitation to the Gala Dinner held at Mouton Rothschild in Pauillac, hosted by Madame Philippine de Rothschild.

“The Baroness” Madame Philippine de Rothschild

The gala dinner that The Baroness (as her friends referred to her), Madame Philippine de Rothschild, was putting on was in…

View On WordPress

Bordeaux Primeurs Explained – Interview with Sylvie Cazes by Paige Donner

Bordeaux Primeurs Explained - Interview with Sylvie Cazes by Paige Donner from Local Food And Wine on Vimeo.Sylvie Cazes explains the unique Bordeaux tradition of Primeurs, or  ”wine futures”; She also talks a bit about the annual Marathon du Medoc. Interview and video by Paige Donner for Local Food And Wine TV.

Sylvie CazesPresident of the Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux . Interview and video by Paige Donner for Local Food And Wine TV.

YOU WILL LOVE MY WINE PICKS!♥CHÉRIE DU VIN


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St. Emilion Jurade, Jean-Francois Quenin, Interview by Paige Donner, Local Food And Wine TV
St. Emilion’s Wine Council President, Jean-Francois Quenin. Interview by Paige Donner, LFAW-TV
St. Emilion Jurade, Jean-Francois Quenin, Interview by Paige Donner, Local Food And Wine TV
Interview With Rothschild S.A.’s Adrien Laurent, USA-Mexico Export Manager
La Table du Lavoir

by Paige Donner

Read Full Article on Bordeaux Food And Wine

La Table du Lavoir is built on the 19th c. site of an old vineyard wash house the wives of the vineyard workmen would use on laundry days. It has been re-built, just across the road from Château Smith Haut Lafitte, stone by stone. Its roof beams are recovered from the 18th c. cellars of Château Lafite-Rothschild.

La Table du Lavoir c. Paige Donner for Local Food And Wine

Photo c. Paige Donner

Its lovely glass doors - “French Doors” - are opened during the warmer Spring and Summer months to accommodate terrace dining overlooking the famous Bordeaux vineyards. During the colder months, or on rainy nights/days, the roaring period fireplace serves two functions: to heat the room and to roast the delicious-smelling meats.

Photos c. Paige Donner, Local Food And Wine

This is the “Bistro” restaurant of Hotel Les Sources de Caudalie and is run by Michelin starred Nicolas Masse. When he joined the team in 2010, on the 10th anniversary of the Small Luxury Hotel, he brought with him his philosophy of focusing on flavors concentrated in the local specialties of the region. For this, Bordeaux offers a range of both meats and seafoods, because of its proximity to the Atlantic Ocean as well as its country terrain. And, in addition, of course all the fresh produce and miraculous cheeses that the Gironde region, France is known for. 

La Table du Lavoir c. Paige Donner for Local Food And Wine

La Table du Lavoir c. Paige Donner for Local Food And Wine

Photos c. Paige Donner, Local Food And Wine

The menus, printed on antique wooden laundry beaters, hold delights such as Roasted Duck with Stewed Apples and Red Cabbage, a feather-light Cauliflower Puree Soup, Home Made Lemon Tart - whose meringue topping is so picture perfect that your tastebuds can’t believe that it can also taste so good! Chef Masse practices seasonality in his cuisine which allows for a rich and varied menu at any time of the year. 

For Local Food And Wine lovers - Two Saturdays a month Chef Masse offers cooking classes at the restaurant. And every Saturday night, Head Sommelier Aurélien Farrouil hosts Wine Tasting Courses in the on-premise La Tour Degustation or Wine Tasting Tower. The Tower that has a part Cuban, with rich latte colored leather chairs, and part English feel to it, drawing on the Aquitaine’s regal heritage, overlooks the vineyards. 

French Paradox Bar, Bordeaux, c. Paige Donner for Local Food And Wine

Photo c. Paige Donner, Local Food And Wine

The French Paradox Bar is a cozy place to enjoy your pre-dinner (or pre-lunch) aperitif, either facing the 1200 bottle cellar that opens up from the bar or facing out towards the terrace that overlooks the delightful pond, inhabited by swans, and the vast vineyards in the background. The bar serves white and red AOC Graves by the glass which gives you a good opportunity to taste some of the appellation’s prestigious wines before continuing on with your Oenotourism.  La Table du Lavoir

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Château Smith Haut Lafitte

By Paige Donner

Read Complete Article on Bordeaux Food And Wine Château Smith Haut Lafitte, Bordeaux, Photo c. Paige Donner

Château Smith Haut Lafitte is one of those wineries in Bordeaux that has its own helipad. Likely, it’s one of the only wineries in Bordeaux that has its own helipad, actually. It also has its own weather station and its own cooperage. And, yes, mais oui!, the wine barrels are all made from French Oak.

Château Smith Haut Lafitte’s owners, since 20 years, are Mr. and Mrs. Cathiard, a dynamic “Power Couple” who can count Olympic Team competitive skiing, grocery store and sporting goods retail empires and an international advertising executive career as part of their storied pasts. But that was then and wine is now.

Château Smith Haut Lafitte wines are considered one of the top 20 wines of Bordeaux. That is no small feat. Just look at the company they keep. But having reclaimed the historic Graves AOC Bordeaux Château, which, by 1990 had fallen into disrepair, the Cathiards set about doing things their own way. It worked.

Château Smith Haut Lafitte, Bordeaux, Photo c. Paige Donner

Château Smith Haut Lafitte, Graves AOC, Bordeaux Photo c. Paige Donner

To examine just two facets of their innovative approach, let’s look at the 2009 vintage, both white and red.

Château Smith Haut Lafitte - 2009 Vintage

Fabien Teitgen, the winemaker, and the Cathiards believe in whole grape fermentation. Grapes are not crushed at this winery. To help achieve this, the 2009 vintage saw two revolutions here: one for de-stemming and the other for grape sorting.

Grape Sorting: they refer to it as Optical Sorting and use a Vistalys Optical Sorting machine. This sensitive machine photographs the fruit and sorts it based on color and shape characteristics. A jet of air eliminates all the detritus and unwanted bits such as debris or under ripe fruit.

Destemming: The second revolution is also grace á a “revolutionary” machine. The destemmer vibrates the grapes which releases them from their stems. No splintering of stems results and only whole grapes, then, are released into the fermentation vats. The Château Smith Haut Lafitte winemaking team is able to use “precision and reproducibility” with these machines as well as keep nothing but whole, perfect grapes for their wines.

2009 Reds are: 64% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Cabernet Franc , 1% Petit Verdot, 30% Merlot  ”The wines are taking on a lovely fleshiness. They are full and silky.”

2009 Whites are: 90% Sauvignon blanc, 5% Sauvignon gris, 5% Sémillon “Lovely, ripe, concentrated rich wines just like a fine, sunny day. They have nice acidity that reflects the cool summer nights of 2009.”

Dynamic Soil

While the term “bio-dynamic,” is not used by Fabien Teitgen,  Château Smith Haut Lafitte’s winemaker, there are practices on the vineyard reminiscent of bio-dynamism. For instance:

On a number of vineyard plots, we have applied the same, gradual, empirical approach, to vine protection and developed a system based solely on copper and sulphur (in homeopathic doses) combined with nettle, chestnut, and horsetail tea and herbal concoctions.

This risky step has paid off: the vines are beautiful and healthy. - Fabien Teitgen

Teitgen also credits the use of organic compost - horse manure, vine prunings, pomace - on the 67 hectares of Gunzian gravel terroir with revitalizing it and helping maintain the necessary equilibrium between soil and vine. They use an innovative (not standard) cover crop between the rows of vines which helps revitalize the soil’s structure, drainage and dynamics.

Château Smith Haut Lafitte, Bordeaux, Photo c. Paige Donner

Château Smith Haut Lafitte, Cooperage, Bordeaux Photo c. Paige Donner

So why the helipad? Well, maybe it’s for their Rich & Famous friends who have dropped in at the winery, you know, like Mr. and Mrs. Johnny Depp, Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz.

Stay at the neighboring Les Sources de Caudalie

33650 Bordeaux - Martillac  www.smith-haut-lafitte.com

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