Friday, May 7, 2021

Drinking Serious Wine from Israel's Domaine du Castel and Eating Causal Israeli Food #WinePW

Domaine du Castel Grand Vin 2016 and Shakshouka

The #WinePW bloggers are invited by Wendy Klik from A Day in the Life on the Farm to write about pairing Middle Eastern foods and wines in May. I'm particularly thrilled that this invitation makes me break the seal of the Domaine du Castel Grand Vin 2016 Jerusalem - Haute Judee, a high-end wine that I thought I should reserve for special occasions. While the wine is serious, I want to prepare some causal food that I identify with Israel. Let's have a disclaimer upfront. What I do here is not so much about precise pairing the wine to the food per se, but if you are like me, eating the food, drinking the wine, not necessarily side-by-side, and repeat the sequence, I bet you'd have a lot of fun too.


Castel Grand Vin is Domaine du Castel’s first red wine. It is produced from the winery's 40 hectares estate situated at Yad Hashmona, west of Jerusalem. It's located at the renowned mountainous Judean Hills appellation with an altitude of 700 meters.
Castel Grand Vin 2016 (SRP$79)
The grapes, planted in high density and for small yields, are hand-picked at harvest and, after fermentation, are aged in new French oak for 20 months. The wines are estate-bottled to ensure quality and compliance with kosher requirements. 2016 was a perfect vintage, "where everything came nicely together… weather, phenolic maturation and bud size", which is a Wine Advocate quote from Domaine du Castel's owner Eli-Gilbert Ben-Zaken. 
Castel Grand Vin 2016: Cabernet Sauvignon 74%, Merlot 15% and Petit Verdot 11%
The clean oak smell of the Castel Grand Vin 2016 encapsulates the nostrils of the nose, shortly opening up to the fragrance of cedar. The palate features a concentrated and complex bouquet of blackberries, spices, and Bing cherries. The velvety smoothness still allows the tannin to peek through, leaving an extraordinarily balanced and sophisticated red wine drinking experience to reckon with. The taste of the wine was lifted if it is aired for half an hour. What a memorable wine it is that needs a WSET systematic analysis! 
Castel Grand Vin 2016 extracted through a Coravin
Appearance: deep ruby color
Nose: clean oaky, cedar 
Palate: dry, subtle oaked, blackberries, Bing cherries, spices, earthy, medium-bodied, medium-high tannin, long finish with hints of graphite and Bing cherry
Conclusions: smooth, elegant 


When I want to go easy on the food prep but don't want to detour from the Israeli theme, I think about Shakshouka, Dolma, and Tahini sauce. 
Shakshouka is a dish that poaches the eggs in the tomato sauce, with added ingredients such as chopped onion, red bell pepper, garlic, parsley, and spices such as cumin, chili powder, chili flakes, and paprika.

Shakshouka Recipe


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil 
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 1/2 chopped red onion
  • 1 chopped red bell pepper
  • 1 (28 ounce) can whole peeled San Marzano tomatoes 
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon red chili flake
  • 3 eggs 

  1. Heat the olive oil in a wide saucepan over medium heat. Stir and cook in the garlic, onion, red bell pepper, spices until the onion and pepper have softened and turned translucent.
  2. Add the crushed canned tomatoes in the pan and simmer for about 15 minutes.
  3. Crack 3 eggs onto the simmering tomato stew and cook for another 10 minutes.
  4. Garnish with parsley and serve it with pita bread.

Castel Grand Vin and Dolmas

Trader Joe's Dolmas Vine Leaves Stuffed with Rice is my favorite dolmas as it's lemony but not overly harsh. The rice inside the dolmas is soft and juicy. Dolmas are the perfect finger food that retains their taste no matter how long they are left at the party table. 

Finally, I'm adding tahini (sesame seed paste) to my honey quick-oat smoothie for a cold dessert drink. The tahini sauce and blended oatmeal form a hearty drink that seems to help recover from hangover.

Tahini added to quick-oat smoothie

These Israeli foods may not pair side-by-side that cohesively with the wine. But if you follow the flow to have Shakshouka for breakfast, Dolmas for light lunch, tahini smooth for dessert, and intertwine Castel Grand Vin sipping in-between, I bet you'll have a super fun day of food and wine experience...anywhere you are.

For more Middle Eastern food and wine pairings, check out my #WinePW friends' blogs:

Saturday, March 20, 2021

Elevating French grapes outside France at Texas's William and Chris Vineyards #Winophiles

2018 Carbonic Tannat, Hye Estate (SRP$35), 2017 Tannat, Hye Estate (SRP$50), 2017 Malbec,
Lost Draw (SRP$42) and 2019 Roussanne, Texas High Plains 

The #Winophiles bloggers are obviously passionate about wines from France. Does our passion fade when it comes to wines that are produced from French grapes outside France? Cam Mann from Culinary Adventures with Camilla invites us to look at this topic in March 2021. To me, I'll go a deeper-dive how Texas's William Chris Vineyards elevates Tannat, Malbec, and Rousssanne, which are grapes originated in France, and transforms these wines into local and national favorites.

Wines from William Chris Vineyards are not new to me. I tasted and wrote about their impressive sparkling Rosé and Skeleton Key Red before. What really resonates with me is their focus on growing quality grapes, minimally manipulating the wine making process, and being innovative every step along the way. It's the to-do and bold attitudes...everything that speaks for Texas! 

Texas Wine AVA (American Viticultural Area) - Photo

Born French - Tannat, Malbec and Roussanne

The three types of French grapes used to produce the 2018 Carbonic Tannat, Hye Estate, 2017 Tannat, Hye Estate, 2017 Malbec, Lost Draw and 2019 Roussanne, Texas High Plains are Tannat, Malbec and Roussanne. 

2018 Carbonic Tannat, Hye Estate, a much fresher interpretation of Tannat due to carbonic maceration

Tannat is a red wine grape, initially grown in the Madiran AOC, southwest of France. Tannat is a "tough" grape and adapts well in rugged terrains. The Hye Estate Vineyards, where 2018 Carbonic Tannat and 2017 Tannat were grown and produced, is located in the middle of Texas Hill County AVA. In the Hye Estate Vineyards, about 6.5 acres of vines are planted on soil marked by bottom layers of rocky riverbed that give way to limestone. The soil is rich in nitrogen due to the turkey farming that previously dominated the region. The warm 2018 summer offered exceptionally high fruit ripeness levels but still retained great acidity in the grapes. While, generally speaking, Tannat is intensely fruity, spicy and heavy in tannins, the 2018 Carbonic Tannat is a fresher exhibition of the fruit. On the nose, it smells like freshly picked dark berries. As you sip, it's aromatic, slightly spicy and runs a tad licorice that leaves fun and tingling sensations in your palate. The winemaking technique for this wine is to "let it be"...there is no fining, no filtration, no sulfur, but wild yeast in its fermentation. At harvest, the whole clusters were transferred into a terra cotta clay pot, which was added with dry ice in layers to create an anaerobic environment, free of oxygen, in order to facilitate carbonic maceration of the grapes. Carbonic maceration is to ferment grapes in whole clusters in a carbon dioxide rich environment prior to crushing, fermenting the juice while it is still inside the grapes and yielding a juicer and low-tannic wine.

2017 Tannat, Hye Estate, a contrast to the 2018 Carbonic Tannat,
showcases a traditional and rich Tannat

The 2017 Tannat, however, is a much more traditional and richer interpretation of Tannat. Aging 26 months in five percent new French oak, this Tannat displays the aromas of pomegranate and leather on the nose and has a rich palate of smokiness, black cherries and leather. It's bright and tart and has elegant tannins and a long finish.

2017 Malbec, Lost Draw, oaky, smoky, love at first sight, a lot of depth... a "refined" cowboy!

Malbec is indigenous to France, and its growing is now found primarily in Cahors in the southwest of  the country. This is one of those French grapes that travels around the world and becomes famous as a single-variety wine else where such as Argentina, when at its birthplace, Malbec remains as a humble blending grape in Bordeaux wines. The grapes of the 2017 Malbec were sourced from Lost Draw Vineyards*, which is situated in Texas High Plains AVA. They grow many warm-climate varietals at high elevation in the well-drained, iron-rich red clay soils. The quality of the Malbec grape does make this wine stand out. It's full-bodied, oaky, and has chocolate notes and a lot of chew. After all, the acidity is still retained, striking a good balance of elegance and richness. The finish is long, with memorable replay of chocolate notes. This Malbec is like a "refined" cowboy, who may impress you with the bold and outgoing appearance but eventually charm you with his deep thoughts. 

*Lost Draw Vineyards merged with William Chris Vineyards in October 2020.

2019 Roussanne, Texas High Plains, which consists of 90% Roussanne, 5% Marsanne and 5% Picpoul Blanc, is a hearty white that is good for all year around.

Roussanne is a white wine grape grown originally in the Rhône wine region in France. The grapes of the 2019 Roussanne were grown in three vineyards (i.e., La Pradera, One Way and Timmons Estate Vineyards) that are known for their clay base, limestone sub-soil, fine sandy loam, and high organic matters. Due to the unusually long growing season in Texas High Plains in 2019, there were two separate harvests of Roussanne at the La Pradera Vineyards. The younger block, which is about 35% of the wine, was harvested a week earlier than the rest and was fermented in a concrete egg. The remainder of the wine was barrel-fermented. In order to add additional texture and body, Bâtonnage was added every two to three weeks during the six month ageing period. The end result of this Roussanne is richer, full-bodied and loaded with minerality. 

2019 Roussanne with a pan-fried fish cake on rice

Smoky Pork Belly, Salmon Rice Burger and Pan-fried Fish Cake

I can't remember since when pork belly becomes very popular in Asian restaurants in New York. May it be a Japanese ramen shop or a 5-star fusion Thai-French restaurant, pork belly is cool and defies the all the low-fat diet trends. What I paired with my William Chris wines was slowly smoke-roasted pork belly strips that were marinated in nine different sauces or seasonings. The 3/4" thick strips were roasted in an oven at 350 degree for 1 1/2 hours. The sauces I used were simply a mixture of what I have in the pantry and a splendid showcase of diverse Asian flavors. From the left to the right (or top to bottom), the marinating sauces I brushed on the strips are: 

  • Japanese Miso sauce with paprika
  • Soy sauce with grinded up ginger (spicy)
  • Fish sauce with coriander
  • Montreal steak seasoning
  • Korean Gochujang red chili paste (spicy)
  • Chinese fermented tofu paste
  • Ginger honey salad dressing 
  • Soy sauce with rice vinegar
  • Miso sauce

Pork belly strips marinated in 9 different types of sauces and seasoning, slow-roasted at 350 degree in the oven for one and a half hours

Prior to the roasting, I did lattice-cut on the up side pork belly to allow easy absorption of the sauces into the meat. To let the fat of the belly drain out, I put a rack above the tray to catch the fat. The smokiness came from the soaked apple wood chips. I also added half a cup of water to the wood chips to prevent any burns during the roasting. 

Lattice-cut the pork belly to achieve better marination and maximum flavor

The pork belly is perfect for the Tannats and Malbec. I chilled the 2018 Carbonic Tannat for 20 minutes before drinking it, and it turned out it was the most fun and perfect for the pork belly, especially for the ones that are a bit spicy. There is no doubt in my mind that this wine will be a big hit red wine for summer BBQ pairings. The 2017 Tannat and 2017 Malbec were also a solid match with the ones that have rich, savory and creamy flavors like the miso paprika, Montreal steak seasoning and the fermented tofu. 

Crispy, juicy Pork Belly bite

For the 2019 Roussanne, I opted for a pan-fried salmon patty on a rice burger. This Roussanne is a substantially solid white wine that is very enjoyable with a heavier fish like salmon. I made an egg-yolk garlic aioli sauce to cream up the salmon and add extra flavors to the rice. I found that this Roussanne went very well with pan-fried fish cakes that can be made of any ground white fish.

I think it is fair to say that drinking French wines made from French grapes are fine. You kind of know what you are getting into. But tasting the wines made from French grapes outside France, like Texas is a wild card, and with William Chris Vineyards, it is an awesome and rewarding experiment that elevates my palates, experiences and spirit!

Disclosure: the wines in this post are samples. The ideas of the post are mine.

Check out other #Winophiles bloggers' pursuits of French grapes outside France below:

Saturday, February 6, 2021

Farina Amarone della Valpolicella with Ground Pork in Karela Rings #ItalianFWT

Farina Amarone: Ruby red color with garnet hues. Mildly bitter, spicy, cocoa, sour cherry, raspberry, currant, and balsamic notes. Warm, full-bodied, structured, fine and balanced

It feels so good to kick off my Italian wine bloggings for 2021 with the topic of Italian Wines to Go With Meat Braises and Stews, thanks to the invite of Cam Mann's Culinary Adventures. With two feet of fresh snow outside my New Jersey home, I crave for a bit comfort food and wine, but want to go outside my comfort zone. Let's take a "bitterly" wild journey to taste the 2016 Farina Amarone della Valpolicella Classico and Ground Pork in Karela (Indian bitter melon) Rings.

Farina Amarone della Valpolicella 2016, SRP $30, ABV 15%, 
70% Corvina, 20% Rondinella, 10% Molinara

Farina Amarone della Valpolicella

Fairna was born and lives in Valpolicella, a land of deep-rooted and excellent winemaking tradition. Farina’s century-long expertise uniquely interprets the terroir of  Valpolicella. Valpolicella is the most famous red wine district in northeastern Italy's Veneto wine region. Amarone della Valpolicella Classico wines in particular are intensely rich, red Amarone wines from the traditional Classico viticultural zone of Valpolicella. 

Grapes drying at Remo Farina (Photo Credit:

This 2016 Farina Amarone della Valpolicella Classico is made from a careful selection of Corvina, Molinara and Rondinella grapes dried in the typical fruit drying sheds for about 4 months, and is matured first in barriques and then in Slavonian oak barrels. 

Grapes kept in drying rooms, known as appassimento in Italian, for 3 weeks to 3 months
(Photo Credit: Whole Food Market Wine)

Corvina, Rondinella and Molinara are the typical Italian indigenous grapes used to produce Amarone della Valpolicella. Corvina, with the classic bitter note, is generally considered as the finest and traditional grapes of the three. Rondinella's popularity picked up since 1960s because of its prolific yields. It is hardly ever produced as a single varietal wine, but rather is used to add herbal flavors to the Corvina base and to flesh out the blend. Molinara, which is super-acidic and easily oxidized, is a light-bodied Italian red grape that is used as a minor blending partner in Valpolicella, Bardolino and IGT Veneto wines. On its own, Molinara is fairly characterless and ultimately rarely appears as a varietal wine. 
Farina Amarone with Ground Pork in Karela Rings

Amarone - Bitter Plus Enormous Size in Italian

Amarone comes from the Italian word amaro, which means bitter, completed by the one suffix which denotes enormous size or volume. Amarone della Valpolicella is an intensely flavored dry red wine concentrated its flavors from dried grapes. This style was invented as Veneto's winemakers searched for a way to increase the body, complexity and alcohol content of their wines. The grapes are picked in whole clusters and are kept in drying rooms that have warm temperatures and low humidity (i.e., the process is known as appassimento in Italian) for anywhere from approximately three weeks to three months. When the drying process is complete, the grapes are gently pressed and the must is fermented to dry. The grapes' high sugar content translates into a higher potential alcohol, so a complete fermentation results in a powerful wine of 15 or 16 percent alcohol by volume. This is subsequently aged in larger barrels and smaller Slavonian oak barriques for at least two years before commercial release.

Indian Bitter Melon - Karela helps manage diabetics and gut health

Ground Pork in Karela Rings 

Karela, Indian bitter melon, is considered as one of the most bitter vegetables. This vegetable has a distinct "spiky" look and an oblong shape. It's hollow inside that's filled with flat seeds and pith, which are to be removed. While I care more about the bitter taste I like about Karela, this bitter vegetable is packed with therapeutic benefits such as managing diabetics and gut health. As you could tell, Karela is not for everyone - either you love it or you hate it. It is an acquired taste! To lighten up the bitterness, you could blanch the cut-up melon in boiling water for a few minutes. However, the freshly green color will turn dull. In comparison to Chinese bitter melon, which is bigger, longer and less spiky, Karela is milder in terms of bitterness. When I could handle Chinese bitter melon all my life, Karela is perfectly blanching required. 

Seasoned Ground Pork Stuffed in the Karela Rings

To retain the shape so that I can stuff the ground pork in easily, it's better just to cut up the fresh Karela in rings without softening it up by blanching. Although the seasoning of the ground pork is entirely up to you, I recommend using dried herbs, and maybe a bit garlic, paprika and cayenne pepper in my case. Try not to make the meat filling too wet so it won't be "mold" inside the round rings. First, pan fry the Karela rings in the hot pan until golden brown on both sides. Then add a bit water and put a lid on the pan to slow cook it for five to ten minutes, depending on how soft you want the Karela to be. I personally liked it more crunchy and am obsessed in looking at the vibrantly green color of the Karela. So I only cooked it for five minutes. But to make it into a "braised" dish with the softer Karela, I cooked another version of it for 15 minutes after the pan fry, and added a light cornstarch glace to wrap up the dish.

Obsessed in looking at the vibrantly green color of the Karela!

Bitter Wine with Bitter Food

Describing wines as "bitter" seems to be shooting yourself in the foot. However, this is only true when you consider bitterness as a turn-off and there's no right food to pair it. While sipping my pleasantly "bitter" and spicy Farina Amarone, which is attributed by Corvina's  signature bitter note and Rondinella's herbal characters, my taste bud was also bombarded by the stuffed Karela...bitter, juicy, spicy, porky and savory. I'm truly indulged in self-bitterness!

Indulged in "Self-Bitterness"

Check out other #ItalianFWT bloggers' Italian wines and braised meats or stews below:

Saturday, November 21, 2020

Sweet Bordeaux Paired with Asian Carbs - Chinese Sticky Rice and Korean Japchae #Winophiles

French #Winophiles bloggers have been invited by Linda Wipple from My Full Wine Glass to taste sweet Bordeaux wines in November. We are so luck to receive multiple #Sample of sweet Bordeaux, organized by Jeff Burrows of Food Wine Click. When most food and wine pairing 101 would recommend pairing sweet wines with desserts or cheese, I think about sipping these sweet Bordeaux  wines with a couple of hearty Asian carb-loaded dishes – sticky rice with Chinese sausage and Korean Japchae. Let’s learn some facts about these sweet wines from Bordeaux.

Photo Credit: Flickr


Botrytis aka Noble Rot Grown on the Grape Clusters (Photo Credit:

  • The dominant sweet wine region in Bordeaux is located 20 miles south of the city of Bordeaux, reaching both banks of the famed Garrone River and stretching into the beginning section of the Ciron River. The rivers provide the perfect condition for a misty morning microclimate that grows Botrytis, also called Noble Rot.
  • Botrytis grows on the grape clusters late in the harvest, bolstered by cool morning fogs that envelop the entire vineyards as well as the hot dry afternoons that evaporate the moisture and concentrate the flavors on the grapes.
  • The grapes to make sweet Bordeaux are mostly Sémillon and Sauvignon Blanc, plus a bit of Muscadelle or Sauvignon Gris.
  • Sauternes and Barsac are the most famous sweet wine regions in Bordeaux, producing the more expensive sweet wines. There are many other AOCs,  such as Loupiac and Sainte Croix du Monts, in Bordeaux that produce much more affordable sweet wines.
  • Loupiac AOC, which is located between Cadillac and Sainte Croix du Monts, requires by laws to make wines of greater ripeness than those of Sauterne, yielding slightly sweeter wines.
  • Sainte Croix du Monts AOC, which looks across the river to Sauternes, is a hilly area with chalk and limestone soil made from decomposing oyster shells.
  • Entre-Deux-Mers is the largest appellation within Bordeaux, but doesn’t appear on the wine labels that often. By law, the Entre-Deux-Mers designation is given only to dry white wines made there from Sauvignon Blanc, Sémillon and Muscadelle.


exotic fruit, citrus, a touch of vanilla, light and fruity

Château La Hargue Bordeaux Blanc Moelleux Semi-Dry 2019 (SRP$15)

This Château, which was acquired in 1954 by Henri Ducourt, has been known for producing quality sweet white wines. Planted with only white varieties on loamy soils, it is blessed with its proximity to the running water and amble exposure to the sun. The fluctuation between hot days and cool nights intensifies the aromatic expression of the grapes, forming the winning terroir for white-wine producing in this part of Entre-Deux-Mers.

aromatic intensity, Acacia flower, candied fruits, distinguished by its minerality and vivacity which gives it freshness and elegance

Château La Rame Sainte Croix du Mont 2016 (SRP$35)
Château La Rame, which is currently under the direction of the family’s seventh generation winemaker, Yves Armand, is a well-sized estate, with fifty hectares of vineyards planted, of which over one third of the hectares are dedicated exclusively to Sémillon and the production of Sainte-Croix-du-Mont.

intense on citrus fruits and candied fruits, supple, fresh

Château du Cros AOC Loupiac Vin Liquoreux 2014 (SRP$30)

Under the leadership of Catherine Boyer, the vineyard of Château du Cros lies on the hill-slopes at the right bank of the Garonne River, 40 km South of Bordeaux on argilo-calcareous soil. The limestone subsoil and chalky clay topsoil bring the freshness to the sweet wines.

savoir faire, easy to drink, strong presence of fruit, mouthful of freshness

Château Loupiac-Gaudiet Loupiac Vintage: 2016 (SRP$20)

At the Château Loupiac-Gaudiet, their wines are built around the delicate balance between fruit, sugar and acidity, allowing each vintage to be able to reveal at its freshness and best aroma.


Sticky Rice with Chinese Sausage
Sticky rice with Chinese sausage is a hearty meal for the winter. The rice is also called “sweet” rice, which is glutinous rice that releases a lot of starch when cooked. In addition to the rice, the other main ingredients are finely chopped Chinese sausage (like salami), dried shrimps and dried shiitake mushrooms. I typically cook the rice, according to the cooking direction, in the non-stick pressure cooker or rice cooker first, and let it sit in the cooker and dry up a little bit before transferring it to the frying pan. In the frying pan, sauté all the chopped ingredients with sesame oil, use two spatulas to mix the sausage into the cooked rice, drizzle with dark soya sauce for the color and regular soya sauce for the taste. The starchy sticky rice is slightly sweet with rich umami flavors like dried shrimp and mushrooms, a perfect accompaniment to the sweet Bordeaux.

Korean Japchae

Japchae is a savory and slightly sweet dish of stir-fried glass noodles, minced beef and vegetables that is a signature carb dish in Korean. It is typically prepared with dangmyeon, a type of cellophane noodles made from sweet potato starch. The noodles are mixed with assorted vegetables, meat, mushrooms, and seasoned with sugar, soy sauce and sesame oil. Japchae is a fun party dish as it looks very colorful and is affordable to make. It goes well with the sweet Bordeaux as the sugar and soya sauce is seasoned through the noodles.


For other sweet Bordeaux sipping, check out the blogs of my #Winophiles friends:

  • Camilla at Culinary Adventures with Camilla: “Surprise! Pairing Spicy and Savory Dishes with Sweet Bordeaux”
  • Terri at Our Good Life: “Spicy Hot Tacos and Sweet Bordeaux”
  • Martin at ENOFYLZ: “Pairing Sweet Bordeaux with Southern Fare”
  • Lauren atThe Swirling Dervish: “Golden Bordeaux Meets Savory Pumpkin and Smoked Bacon Tart: a Delicious Thanksgiving Twist!”
  • David at Cooking Chat: “Pairings for Sweet Bordeaux Wine"
  • Katrina atThe Corkscrew Concierge: “Golden Bordeaux Delights in Louisiana’s Cajun and Creole Cuisine”
  • Payal at Keep the Peas: “Four Sweet Bordeaux Wines with Four Courses”
  • Jane at Always Ravenous:“Golden Sweet Bordeaux Wines: Tasting and Pairings”
  • Wendy atA Day in the Life on the Farm: “Hot Chocolate and Halva Pudding paired with Lion De Tanesse L'Amour”
  • Jeff at foodwineclick: "Sweet Bordeaux Meets the Smoke"
  • Jill at L'OCCASION : “Sweet Bordeaux Wines Aren’t Just for Dessert”
  • Lynn at Savor the Harvest: “Sweet Bordeaux Wines Get Savory Pairings”
  • Rupal at Syrah Queen: "Sweet Bordeaux Is A Sweet Delight - Savor These Perfect Food Pairings"
  • Robin at Crushed Grape Chronicles : “Sweet Bordeaux Wines and pairings from opposite sides of the globe”
  • Pinny at Chinese Food & Wine Pairings: “Sweet Bordeaux Paired with Asian Carbs - Chinese Sticky Rice and Korean Japchae”
  • Susannah at avvinare: “Delightful Sweet Wines from Bordeaux”
  • Nicole at Somm’s Table:“Château Loupiac Gaudiet with Cinnamon Apple Crème Brûlée”
  • Gwendolyn at wine predator: "Successful Pairings of Salty and Savory with Sweet Semi-Dry Bordeaux"
  • Jennifer at Vino Travels: "A Look Into the Sweeter Side of Bordeaux Wines"
  • Linda at My Full Wine Glass: “Appetizers, entrées and yes, dessert please, with sweet Bordeaux”

Saturday, October 17, 2020

Sipping Tissot-Marie Crémant du Jura Brut Lapiaz and Snacking Fried Pork Skin #Winophiles

Tissot-Marie Crémant du Jura Lapiaz Brut with Fried Pork Skin, Dill-infused Cheese, Pitted Dates and Almond

#Winophiles bloggers are taking a virtual journey to the smallest wine region, Jura in France in November. David Crowley from Cooking Chat Food is inviting us to share the delicious pairings of Jura wines with our choice of food. I have purchased a bottle of Tissot-Marie Crémant du Jura Brut Lapiaz and found it exceptionally tasty with snacks like the fried pork skin. To start, let’s learn some fun facts of Jura wines.

Photo Credit: Wine LoveToKnow

Ten Facts of Jura Wines

  • Jura is the smallest wine region in eastern France, between Burgundy and Switzerland.
  • The climate in Jura is continental - long cold winters and hot summers, with more rain nearing the Burgundy side of the region.
  • Jura is famous for the idiosyncratic sherry-like late-harvest wine Vin Jaune, made in the Château-Chalon AOC.
  • Other important grape varieties in Jura include Pinot Noir, Poulsard, Trousseau, Chardonnay and Savagnin.
  • Chardonnay is the Jura's most planted variety, and the growing success of Crémant du Jura has benefited from the unripe grapes that are used as the sparkling base.
  • There are seven AOCs (Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée) in Jura, namely Arbois, Château-Chalon, Côtes du Jura, L'Étoile, Crémant du Jura, Macvin du Jura and Marc du Jura,
  • Crémant du Jura is an AOC for sparkling wines. White and rosé sparkling wines are produced from Poulsard, Trousseau, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, and Savagnin.
  • Crémant du Jura is made in the méthode traditionelle, like champagne and is styled from bone-dry to delicately sweet.
  • The vineyard soils throughout the region tend to contain mostly clay in the lower flat lands with more limestone based soils in the higher elevation.
  • Due to the cool climate, chaptalization, which is the process to add sugar to unfermented grape to achieve the desired alcohol content, is permitted in the Jura region and is sometimes a necessity to compensate for the low sugar levels in the underripen vintages.

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Crémant is French sparkling wine that is produced outside Champagne. Unlike Champagne, which restricts to Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier, and Chardonnay, Crémant simply expands creativity, affordability and varieties of grapes in the French sparkling world. Crafted with the the Champagne method, Tissot Marie Crémant du Jura Brut Lapiaz (SRP$18) is a blend of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and local Jura varieties. It’s drier in style with notes of honey, ripe pear and white flowers. No doubt, this Crémant du Jura, which is a prime example of Jura wine, embraces affordability, tradition, and highly idiosyncratic Jura styles. • • #chinesefoodandwinepairings • • #jurawines #cremantdujura #henritissot #jurawine #burgundywine #frenchsparklingwine #cremantwine #cremant #cremantjura #sparklingwine #sparkilingwine #winepw #frenchsparkling

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Tissot-Marie Crémant du Jura Brut Lapiaz

Tissot-Marie Crémant du Jura Brut Lapiaz is one of the five Crémants, jointly produced by Henri Maire et Tissot and Groupe Boisset. Founded by Joseph Tissot in 1896, Maison Tissot started to sell wines before partnering with Henri Maire in early 2000s. Domaine Maire & Fils, another major Jura wine family, started its wine journey back in 1632. In 2000, the Tissot family draws closer to Domaine Maire & Fils, a long-time local partner and gives birth to Tissot-Maire, an alliance of winemaking knowledge inherited from more than 11 generations and with the largest winegrowing estate in the Jura region, to produce top-notched Crémants.

The company logo symbolizes the alliance of Tissot and Marie, two great Jura families, the connection with local traditional arts and craft, and the complexity that comes with winemaking
The Brut Lapiaz symbolizes the rough and rustic climate of the Jura. On the nose, it smells white flower blossom. As you sip this Crémant, the mineral, citrus, honey notes reveal, layering with creamy froth and dried apricot. The finish is amazingly fruity and long. No doubt, this Crémant, which has the Champagne feel, is a steal!
Tissot-Marie Cuvée Crémant du Jura Brut Lapiaz (SRP$18) - a blend of Chardonnay (50%) and Pinot Noir (50%) 

Food Pairing

To pair with this fresh and elegant Crémant, I put together a quick snacking plate that includes some dill-infused cheese, unsalted almond, pitted dried dates and store-bought fried pork skin. I’m particularly fond of the fried pork skin with this Crémant as the wine tones down the fattiness of the pork skin and the rich pork taste. Its bubble is so fun when it mingles with the crunch of the pork skin.


Check out other #Winophiles bloggers’ Jura wine journey and fun food pairings:

Camilla from Culinary Adventures with Camilla will share "Seafood B'Stilla + Domaine Rolet Arbois Trousseau 2012"

Pinny from Chinese Food and Wine Pairings is "Sipping Tissot-Marie Crémant Du Jura and Snacking Fried Pork Skin"

Linda from My Full Wine Glass will be heading "Back to the Jura (virtually), for Crémant this time around"

Robin from Crushed Grape Chronicles is "Channeling the Jura for a rooftop getaway with a bottle of Savagnin and Friends"

Payal from Keep the Peas is sharing "Sherry? No, Jura"

David from Cooking Chat will be sharing "Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken Thighs with Jura Wine"

Terri from Our Good Life will tell us about "Sparkling Jura for Celebratory Moments"

Wendy from A Day in the Life on the Farm will serve up "Bourride served with a Chardonnay from Jura"

Nicole from Somm's Table will be "Cooking to the Wine: Two Savagnins from Domaine Daniel Dugois with Coquilles St. Jacques"

Christy from Confessions of a Culinary Diva is talking about "Jura in the Afternoon"

Gwendolyn from Wine Predator will share "Exploring Flavors of Jura Food and Wine Take Two: Trousseau and Melon"

Susannah from Avvinaire tells us about "Discovering Delights From Jura Region"