luck or money?

me at the museumWould you rather be rich or lucky? My favorite museum provides the answer. Haunted by great wealth and heartbreaking tragedy the beautiful Musee Nissim de Camondo is a Paris treasure.

Conte Moise de Camondo had it all.  He was the scion of one of Europe’s wealthiest banking families.  Sephardic Jews, they had fled Spain in 1492 to escape the inquisition. Settling in Constantinople, they owned one of the largest banks in the Ottoman Empire.   After a stint in Venice where they picked up their titles, the Camondo’s moved headquarters and families to Paris 1868. Continue reading

my favourite things: LYON

lions of lyonIt is every blogger’s joy to get enthusiastic feedback and I am no different.   Whether this feedback is posted in the Reply section or, as is more often the case, shared in conversation and accompanied by a glass of excellent wine, I always happy to expound.  

 “I’d love to go there!” is the usual opening, followed by a litany of requests. These questions are always welcomed and often amusing:  Favorite table? Preferred hotel? Optimal bar-stool? Secret shoe store? Recommended masseur? And so forth.  Fortunately, I have many opinions and have never been shy to share them.  Continue reading

le vin jaune

When you spend 30 years of your life with a wine guy you learn a thing or two…. whether you want to or not. Red, white, champagne, rose. Got it! But Vin Jaune? Yellow wine? This I had to see. And taste.

The sommelier presented the special Clavelin bottle and poured me a glass. It was unexpected magic, reminding me of a sophisticated sherry.

the wine i tasted He explained. This wine comes from the Jura region in eastern France; made from late harvested Savagnin grapes. Huh? No, I did not misunderstand his French. Nor is that a typo. The grapes belong to the Traminer family, just like those used to make Gewurztraminer.

The production starts in the typical way until the wine is between 12 and 18 months old when it is moved into old oak burgundy barrels. Then it is just left as a layer of yeast, called voile, forms across the surface. This usually takes 1 to 3 years. Then it sits some more. The wine cocooned below the yeast stops oxidizing and develops its unique color and taste.

It also evaporates. With most wine the barrels are topped up when this happens. Not so with Vin Jaune. By the time it is bottled, in the seventh year after the harvest, about a third will have disappeared. What remains is put into smaller bottles (620 ml vs the usual 750 ml size). Legend says the evaporated portion belongs to the angels. What is left belongs to us. Try it if you have opportunity.