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Clos Rougeard for Wine Blogging Wednesday


I know this is Friday, but it’s better (a little) late than never, no?  We drank the wine on Monday night even, so it’s definitely qualified for this Wine Blogging Wednesday Friday.  For those of you new to this, Wine Blogging Wednesday is the fun event in the (mostly) wine and (some) food blogging community.  Each month a new blog host chooses a theme for the tasting.  It could be anything from a cépage, year, region, flavor or even the wacky-name edition which I hosted a few years ago.

The theme this month is Cabernet Franc, and the host is none other than the oddly fascinating Gary Vaynerchuck of Wine Library TV. Gary hosts a wine video blog, so it should be fun to see how he’s going to do the roundup.  Count on him to do something outrageously hilarious, or hilariously outrageous, or even both.

My choice is my absolute favorite Saumur Champigny: 2001 Clos Rougeard “Le Bourg”.  At home on Monday, David and I hosted a small impromptu dinner party with the wine and a simple roast chicken with vegetables from the garden.


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Two “wine” blogs worth sharing


I don’t know about you but I find the whole wine drinking/tasting/collecting
enterprise a little vexing. Mind you, I didn’t say intimidating: there isn’t much I find intimidating in a bunch of boys drunk on
testosterone comparing the size and value of their, um, wine cellars.

I can’t really be bothered with scores and points and gold medals and
whatnots. Nor do I find much value in remembering the good years in
Pomerol. I learn about wine from cultivating my own taste, and from
listening to stories about wine makers and their wine making
practices. I chose not to put my trust in numbers but in people, and
it has served me marvelously well.

It’s hardly surprising that the wines I find delicious are from those
wine makers whose stories I find compelling – learning about them gives
me the context to better understand and appreciate the wines they
make. It usually works the other way round too, I often come across
wines that I adore for one reason or another, and fall even more in
love after I hear the stories.

Thus is the case with two wine makers whose respective blogs I came
across recently, Vincent Dancer in Burgundy and Hervé Bizeul in

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Chez Pim Gift Guide: for the coffee lovers in your life


Having trouble finding a gift for the coffee lovers in your life? Chez Pim is to the rescue!

Let’s begin with beans. What would be a better gift for the discerning coffee lovers in your life than great beans? If you can find great artisanal roasters near you, give them a visit and buy a pound of their freshly roasted beans. Do it just a day or two before you plan to give it the coffee lover in your life, for a serious coffee afficianado, it’s fresh beans or nothing at all. If you don’t have one in your area, there are a number of sources you could order online – Stumptown, Intelligencia, and my personal favorite, Blue Bottle, will ship your coffee just about anywhere. Even the best beans from these artisanal roasters will cost you less than $30 a pound, usually with shipping.

If you are willing to spend serious money for that serious coffee lover, why not sign him (or her) up for a coffee delivery program?

in Chicago has the Roaster’s Choice program, sending a lucky recipient a pound each of three different types of beans, chosen by the roaster, hence the name. The initial package includes an Intelligentsia mug, a French Press, and even a measuring spoon, all to get your coffee lover on his way to coffee nirvana. Intelligentsia’s Roaster’s Choice program begins from $180, for four months to $350 for 12 months.

BluebottleBlue Bottle Coffee Company – whose beans I use to turn the resident grumpy, sleepy ogre in my house into my wonderful, cheery, happy boyfriend I know and love every morning – has many subscription programs you can sign that coffee lover in your life up for. He can get his beans once a month, twice a month, get a particular beans you know he’d like, or get a rotating roster of wonderful blends, all designed for a particular coffee making method. The subscriptions start from as low as $18 a month.

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Pruneaux à l’Armagnac: Prunes in Armagnac

(If you are reading this post on a RSS reader, you might want to click through to Chez Pim for the slideshow.

In Gascony, you’re not invited in for coffee. You are invited for pruneaux. Not just simple prunes, mind you. The prunes they serve in Gascony after dinner – or as a side to a dishy conversation – are pruneaux à l’Armagnac, prunes soaked in Armagnac. Sweet, potent, delicious, and certainly not the stuff your grandma takes to stay regular. Unless your grandma is Tony Bourdain in drag.

I’ve been pining over the prunes soaked in Armagnac since I came back from Gascony. One lucky day, I came upon a bag of prunes in my cupboard, Pruneaux d’Agen demi-sec that I bought on a visit to Kate’s Camont earlier this year. I had nearly forgotten about it. Now I can have my own pruneaux at home.

The first obstacle between me and my pruneaux is finding a bottle of Armagnac. It’s not as easy as you think. If the Armagnac is too old or refined, it would be a crime to muck with it. While crappy Armagnac just isn’t worth drinking, prunes or sans prunes.

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For when the wine is in, the wit is out

So I was just puttering around, minding my own business, when an email arrived from Premier Cru, a local wine importer and seller. I’ve been a subscriber to the Premier Cru mailer for a while, and though I don’t buy as much wine as I used to –I’m underemployed, remember?- I still look at these mailers every so often, and scored some nice bottles here and there –like four bottles of Laurent Ponsot’s Clos St.Denis that will be coming soon to a cellar near me.

But I digress. Back to the mailer. I took a quick glance through the email, noticing the usual suspects: DRC, Leroy, Méo-Camuzet, Coche Dury, Leflaive (the Domaine, not the other one) –my, these guys have good taste.

Moving on over to the Bordeaux list, my eye quickly tripped over an old bottle of Lafite, that’s Château Lafite-Rothschild to you me. And by old I actually meant OLD, from 1865, in double magnum, that is to say a giant 3 l. bottle. A 140-yr. old bottle of wine ‘in perfect condition’ or so the mailer said.

The price tag –make sure you’re sitting down for this- is US$ 79,995.00. Let’s call it $80K, shall we?


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