I Love French Wine and Food - A Languedoc-Roussillon Pinot Noir

If you are looking for fine French wine and food, consider the Languedoc-Roussillon region of south central France. You may find a bargain, and I hope that you’ll have fun on this fact-filled wine education tour in which we review a local red Pinot Noir.

Among the eleven wine-growing regions of France Languedoc-Roussillon ranks number four in total vineyard acreage. This area, which includes the Midi was traditionally known for generating immense amounts of rather dubious table wine called vin ordinaire. Recently, in part because of Australian winemakers, the region has started to produce a lot of fine wine. A few weeks ago a salesman offering free samples greeted me at my nearby wine store. While I hadn’t planned to review yet another Languedoc-Roussillon wine so soon after the two others, I was particularly intrigued by this wine’s classification and its grape variety.

The wine bottle proudly displayed a sticker proclaiming its Gold ranking in a national contest for Vin de Pays (Country Wines) in 2006. You may recall from the initial article in this series (I Love French Wine and Food – Launching a Series) that Vin de Pays is a relatively recent French classification for wines of promise that for one reason or another don’t meet the stricter requirements of the presumably better classifications. Even though almost one third of French wine is classified as Vin de Pays we don’t get too many of them here. I smelled a potential bargain.

I Love Touring Paris - the Tenth Arrondissement

The tenth arrondissement is located on the Right Bank in northeastern Paris. Its land area is slightly more than 1.1 square mile (a bit less than 3 square kilometers). Its population is slightly under ninety thousand and offers about seventy-two thousand jobs. Two of its major attractions are railway stations. If you haven't seen a grandiose railway station such as in Europe or Manhattan's Grand Central Station, you really should visit some of Paris's offerings such as described below.

This arrondissement is not particularly well known to tourists. However, if you visit here you may get a feel for the real Paris, the Paris of Parisians. You might start by viewing the Canal Saint-Martin, which links the Seine River with northeastern Paris. This 2.8 mile (4.5 kilometer) long canal was built from 1806 to 1825 under the orders of Napoleon Bonaparte. Believe it or not, in some places it is only about three feet (one meter) deep. It nearly disappeared in the 1960s to become just another highway. While there is some canal traffic, mostly it's a place to view the boats and the locks. Recently the neighborhood has become trendy. In 1938 the Canal Saint-Martin was featured in the famous movie Hotel du Nord. And in 2001 it was once again featured in the movie Amelie. The nearby streets are car-free for the later part of Saturday and all day Sunday giving the area a unique cachet.

I Love French Wine and Food - A Midi Merlot

If you are looking for fine French wine and food, consider the Languedoc-Roussillon region of south central France. You may find a bargain, and I hope that you’ll have fun on this fact-filled wine education tour in which we review a local red Merlot.

Among France’s eleven wine-growing regions the Languedoc-Roussillon is the largest in total area and ranks number four in the vineyard acreage. This area, which includes the Midi, had been known for generating immense amounts of rather dubious table wine called vin ordinaire. Recently, in part because of Australian winemakers, the region started to produce a lot of fine wine. Like Alsace, and unlike most other regions of France, many Languedoc-Roussillon wines, such as the one reviewed below, are identified by their constituent grape variety on the label.

This lovely region is hardly uniform. For example, Languedoc is mostly flat; in contrast Roussillon is hilly. Several areas take advantage of their unique combination of microclimate and soil (terroir) to produce one or more local AOC (Appellation d’Origine Contrôlé) wines. These wines are usually more expensive than their generic cousins. We intend to examine one or more such wines in this series. Languedoc-Roussillon has almost 50 AOC wine appellations; red, white, rosé, sparkling, and sweet. This diversity is not surprising given that the region grows over 30 grape varieties including Merlot, the single most important grape variety in Bordeaux.

I Love Touring Paris - The Ninth Arrondissement

The ninth arrondissement is located on the Right Bank of the Seine River. Its land area is slightly more than 0.8 square miles (about 2.2 square kilometers). While its population is about fifty–five thousand the area hosts over one hundred ten thousand jobs and is a business center of Paris.

The Olympia is Paris’s oldest music hall and one of the most famous in the world. It has also hosted circuses and the ballet. When business was slow it did a long stint as a movie theater. And in the 1990s it was almost transformed into a parking lot. Famous Olympia performers include Édith Piaf, Jacques Brel, and Jeff Buckley, but the list goes on and on.

A different sort of music hall the Folies Bergère north east of the Olympia was built in the mid Nineteenth Century as an opera house with the name Folies Trévise. But to protect his reputation the Duc de Trévise had its name changed shortly afterwards. Among its famous performers were the singer-dancer Joséphine Baker who wore a skirt made of bananas and the Maurice Chevalier, but nobody remembers what he wore.

I Love Touring Paris - The Eighth Arrondissement

I love touring Paris so much that I am doing a series on both the well known and the rarely visited tourist attractions of Paris's twenty arrondissements (districts). This article visits the eighth arrondissement in central Paris. We suggest French wine and food to increase your touring pleasure. The eighth arrondissement on Right Bank of the Seine River is part of the business and tourist center of Paris. Its land area is a tad under 1.5 square miles (about 3.9 square kilometers) and has a population of about forty thousand but hosts over one hundred seventy thousand jobs, the most of any Parisian district.

L'église de la Madeleine, often called la Madeleine is a church built to honor Napoleon’s army. Towards the end of the Twelfth Century the site contained a Jewish synagogue that was seized and consecrated as a Church dedicated to Mary Magdalene. In 1757 construction started on a new church, one demolished prior to completion. Then a new church was started but work ceased during the French Revolution. Napoleon and others got involved and finally the church was consecrated in 1842, almost one hundred years after rebuilding commenced. The building is Neo-Classical but inspired by a Roman temple at Nimes in the south of France. You can’t miss its fifty-two Corinthian columns, each twenty meters (over sixty feet) high.

The Madeleine’s organ is top of the line; the famous composers Camille Saint-Saëns and Gabriel Fauré were church organists. I am told that this is THE place to have your wedding and the list of Madeleine funerals is quite impressive including the likes of Chopin, Saint-Saëns, and Josephine Baker.