Moods of Rhône

Last wednesday night, Inter Rhône was having its largest trade event of the year. With more than 50 wines featured at Gary’s Loft, the association of professionals representing Producers and Traders of Rhône Valley AOC wines did think big!

The venue was this bright midtown loft that was converted into an apartment.  Trade could switch between 8 rooms and experiencing different ways to enjoy Rhône Valley wines. My favorite room was definitely the kitchen where you could enjoy a formal dinner with 6 wines matching. Uncommon appellations were featured, like the Condrieu by Vidal-Fleury, the star of the room. However I did not understand the lack of Chateauneuf-du-Pape (‘too common’) when Côte-du-Rhône was in almost every room.

Besides eating the chef’s recipes, his cooking demos taught me how to cut veggies and make spring rolls without them to blow up.

The funniest part was probably the rooftop. With summer that finally hits the city, the BBQ was the best element the party could have offered us. Reds were chilled; whites and rosés were more than welcome. The guitar singer, the view on the Empire State Building, the ‘almost’ photo booth and the mini sliders reminded me how much I will miss this city and working for such an industry.

Dessert was served in the living room, were cheesecake pop-tarts and (too sweet but very well done) macarons were matching a glass of Muscat de Beaumes-de-Venise.

And I obviously did not leave empty-handed. The raffle made me choose a bottle of Rasteau, Domaine Grand Nicolet, from the rack. Unfortunately the last people asking for their price did not get the best choices but the sommeliers helped me choosing the best possible.

With my gift bag, my BBQ kit, my bottle and my belly filled, I had such a blast and was definitely in the Mood of Rhône…

Gary’s Loft
28 W 36th St, New York, NY ‎
(212) 244-0970

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Cru Event at Lafayette – The Dutch

Last Wednesday was the presentation of the Georges Duboeuf 2012 Crus. Known as the biggest French negociant who started exporting wine 31 years ago in the US, Duboeuf does not mean only Beaujolais Nouveau. His 10 Crus, from the best part of the Beaujolais area, are named Flower and present a great value. But he also owns other domains and bottles the juice in his property.
The presentation took place at Lafayette, the new restaurant that has been open for exactly one month, owned by the same team behind The Dutch and Locanda Verde. 5 tables were dressed in the wine cellar downstairs, which was really appropriate for this event.
The first step was a walk-in tasting with some small appetizer. The gougère was too hard, but the mini slider was definitely one of the best burgers I had, and it is on the menu! The secret must have been the raclette cheese, even though it was a bit too salty.
The star of the event was again the Juliénas, Château des Capitans. The Beaujolais and Mâconnais were also featured with a special mention to the Pouilly-Fuissé, Domaine Emile Béranger, which is going to be the killer once people understand Duboeuf can also be featured in white tablecloth restaurants because of its quality.


As part of the lunch, the paté was paired with Beaujolais-Villages. All the French people got a bit disappointed since they put so much spices and fresh herbs you can barely taste the meat. And I hope you have strong teeth to eat the toasted bread served with it, you will need them.
Between each course, the legend, Georges, and his son Franck, talked about the wines.
The spinach and slight goat cheese ravioli were really fine. The roasted chicken was definitely the best dish. Naked, served only with 5 bites of roasted potatoes, it was like getting the chicken from the farmers market a summer in France. I was expecting a tarte tatin for dessert; we got a tarte fine, which is absolutely not the same. Thin slices of apple served on a puff pastry dough with a slight burned taste. I should probably share with them the actual recipe.
Overall, Lafayette is a very nice place to get the spirit of a French Brasserie. And I will probably go back to taste their bakery for breakfast.
And I have to say that the flower bouquet with the gift bag was a nice wink to the Flower label and kind thoughts to women.

Lafayette
380 Lafayette Street
New York, NY 10003
(212) 533 3000

The Dutch is the American Soho restaurant own by the same team. The venue is bright, with the same snobby atmosphere you find in these trendy Manhattan spots I talked about in earlier posts. The non-so classic poached egg was served with ham, chipotle and tomato and a cheddar biscuit in an oven dish. Special mention to the burger and French fries. I feel I always get my best burgers in restaurants that are not known for that.

The Dutch
131 Sullivan St
New York, NY 10012
(212) 677-6200

Kin Shop

 

Watch out! Super hot. If you do not like spicy food, stop reading. If you usually ask for medium spicy at the restaurant, pay attention to the *** on the menu, they warn you. If you like adventure, keep reading. Kin Shop is a trendy Thai restaurant in West Village. The venue doesn’t look Asian at all. Neither do the owners who feature a contemporary reinterpretation of Thai dishes.

The impressive wine list is a relief when it is usually not the strongest part of the menu of Asian restaurant. We go for the Côte du Rhône Blanc, delightful. Since I have been working for the wine industry, my palate is finally differentiating the varietals I do like, and Viognier has been catching my attention for a while.

Let’s go back to the food. Sophisticated, tasty, somewhat original, you should definitely give a shot. The Red: Roasted Duck Brest looks pretty small at the first sight served, but served with its fresh home made tortilla style and the spiciness of the dish will feed you soon enough. Because my scale to rate Thai places is the curry, I obviously ordered the Northern Thai Style Curry Noodle. Absolutely delightful, I would have given him a great rate if I could have finished it. The amount of spice in the dish killed my palate by the end of the bawl and made me give up. This is the only downsize of this restaurant: this is way too hot…

Kin Shop
469 6th Ave
New York, NY 10011
(212) 675-4295

Betches Love This

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Last Wednesday night was the release of the book « Nice is just a place in France » by Betches Love Thisa popular website run anonymously who chronicle what she loves or not since she’s the one who has everything figured out. I am still a bit confused about this website but I guess that night I felt like a ‘Betch’…

Two sisters (are they really anonymous?) had invited all their friends of the gilded youth to celebrate the launch party at The Jane in West Village. I guess this party was my first and last time at this hotel since my skirt was not tight and short enough and my heels way too boring.

Anyway the sisters hosted such a great party. [yellow tail] and Liquor 43 were largely poured at the bar, and chocolate covered pretzels (my favorite US candy) were all over the tables  before guests decided to turn them into a danse floor.

Great party? Ohh yes! A regret? Who stole my ‘Betches Love This’ glasses?

The Jane
113 Jane St
New York, NY 10014
(212) 924-6700

A Goldmine of Bordeaux Wines

IMG_6363On March 5th, Planet Bordeaux, the syndicate of Bordeaux Appellation, was featuring an event called “A Goldmine of Bordeaux Wine” at the Metropolitan Pavilion in NYC.

20 importers and producers were part of the event; more than 60 wines were featured. The aim of the event was to bring the most affordable and accessible wines from France’s most famous wine producing region. Since the US has become the world’s largest wine-consuming nation for the first time in 2011 (even though it is 5 times bigger than France), there is a real opportunity for our wines to increase exportations.

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We know that French wines and everything France related is appealing to the American consumers. However, there are two challenges for French wine, which is the basic consumer challenge, as they do not understand it and is not necessarily appealing to him because of the lack of differentiation. It is then also a distribution challenge created by producers themselves. Retailers have stopped importing top wines in the States as they will not be bought by the consumer who does not know about it.

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However, I don’t know if it is because of the 4 wine tastings organized in Manhattan on the same day, the bright sun, or the disappointing French style cheese and charcuterie buffet that cost the event a small number of participants.

Like every tastings, people just walk around the room with their glasses, talking to producers. However, some of them did complain since they could only feature their wines from any other appellation than AOC Bordeaux and AOC Bordeaux Superieur. It could have been one of the reasons of the poor involvement.

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The funniest part of the event was the Master Class led by Kevin Zraly. The guy was hilarious, trying to teach us how to taste and appreciate affordable 2009-2010 Bordeaux. I would have appreciated a bigger discussion about tasting notes. 10 wines tasted later, I leave the event with a great wine list for my dinners to come.