Sunday, August 19, 2012

My first full course French meal in France

I landed in Geneva, Switzerland and met two business associates at the airport. We had a limo waiting to take us to Annecy, France which was 20 minutes up the road. None of us speak French however the limo driver did speak a bit of Spanish, so he and I got along well.
When we arrived in the village, we got our hotel rooms for the night and set out to find a late night bite to eat. Luckily, we found a café that was still serving so we could order some food and a bottle of wine. Our waitress recommended  a bottle of Bourgogne Hautes-Côtes de Nuits to pair with the food that we ordered.

©2012 Steve BorichevskyOkay, now I’m not overly intimidated by French wine. I just need a little help. In the New World, the grape varietals are put on the label so it is easier for me to think with. I have some of my favorite regions that I’m familiar with, but honest to Pete, how can anyone tell if this wine is going to pair with a meal by reading the label? I don’t know if I’m going to get merlot or gamay or what. This was the only label on the back and it was no help!
So what was this stuff? I did a little research when I got home. Bourgogne Hautes-Côtes de Nuits is an appellation located a little south-west of Dijon. This is a good value red wine, fruit forward and very light on the tannins. It has a very mild wood treatment, almost like it was aged in steel. But look folks, this is 2012 and this bottle is 2010. It’s going to be young and sassy not old and classy. I don’t think it was built for aging (almost no tannins), but more of a table wine.
  ©2012 Steve Borichevsky
My research told me that it could be a blend of three grapes, Pino Noir, Pino Liebault and Pino Gris. Did I like it? Yes, it was a good wine and went well with our food. We had a “light” late night dinner of some type of local cheese over potatoes, similar to what we would call scalloped potatoes, but honestly it was not that heavy.
Fast forward to the next day. It started with breakfast and then off to the business meetings. But you don’t want to hear about the meetings. They all went well and were productive…but unless you do what I do, you probably would click on some other link to get away from the tech-talk.
We had time to get a nice French meal before flying to Frankfurt. We went to a restaurant called Le Clocher which means The Steeple.
©2012 Steve Borichevsky
At a business dinner, I’m not likely to start shooting a lot of pictures, but the guys I was traveling with know me well enough so I was confident that I was not going to start an international incident by taking a couple of foodie shots.
©2012 Steve Borichevsky©2012 Steve Borichevsky
The wine was Domaine de Saint-Just “Montée des Roches” from the Saurmur Champigny appellation. This was a very well rounded, full bodied wine with great tannins. It was a little young and fruit forward as this wine was developed to lay down for up to 8 years. The vintage on this bottle was 2010, so we were committing infanticide. Hey, you know what? It was good. It was much more complex than the wine we had the night before. As shown in the pictures, it was heavily extracted and fun. I just wish I had a few to let age for a bit.
In the wine world, they pick on us Americans for drinking wine too young. In Europe, “they have patience” and know better. But guess what? It isn’t an American restaurant snuffing out the life from these wines. No. Just saying. Taking a tip from us unsophisticated Americans, the label on the back actually talked about the wine. It turns out that this wine is 100% Cabernet Franc. I’m not a big fan of 100% Cab Franc, but if I saw this in a Massachusetts packie, I’d pick up a bottle or three.  
Ahhhh, the cheese course.  My first real full course French meal in France.
©2012 Steve Borichevsky
©2012 Steve Borichevsky
Please excuse me while I get up on a soap box. It is hard for us to get good cheeses in this country. The warlocks and trolls that govern the food industry in this country make it damn impossible to get honest food.
Sorry, back on track. This is the Clocher from which the restaurant gets it name.
©2012 Steve Borichevsky
©2012 Steve Borichevsky
And another view of the Annecy region. I could get used to this!
©2012 Steve Borichevsky
After the great meal we went back to Geneva (with another Spanish speaking limo driver) and flew off to Frankfurt for our next day’s business meetings. I wish I had more time to shoot this area. It was indeed a beautiful place. Stop by tomorrow and I’ll have some pictures from Germany.

1 comment:

Cheri said...

That last photo was beautiful. When I visited France I think I gained 10 pounds on cheese alone.

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