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The delicious story of the French pastry “éclair”2019/4/1

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The name éclair comes from French meaning “flash of lightning” and it’s named this way because well, it’s eaten in a flash. Some people also believe that the pastry received its name because it sparkles when coated with confectioner’s glaze.

Not much is known about the origin of the éclair, but it is known to have originated in France around the turn of the nineteenth century. Many food historians speculate that Éclairs were first made by Marie-Antoine Carême, a famous pastry chef for French royalty.

So, what exactly are the éclairs? A true éclair is a long, thin pastry made with choux pastry filled with a cream and topped with icing.The dough, which is the same as that used for profiterole, is piped into an oblong shape with a pastry bag and baked until it is crisp and hollow inside. Once cool, the pastry then is filled with…pastry cream (crème pâtissière), custard or whipped cream, and topped with fondant icing.”

Of course, if that seems a bit long, this definition for the éclair seems rather concise: according to the Chambers English Dictionary, an éclair is “a cake, long in shape but short in duration.”

Eclairs are becoming increasingly trendy, sporting new shiny coats and fluffy fillings with flavors like matcha (green tea) and lemon cream.

 

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And it’s delicious paired with Ultime Muscat, Jaillance!

 

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The Gem of Provence: Bandol2019/3/28

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“There are certain wine appellations that are cursed by thriving tourism, and the sunny, Mediterranean region of Provence is one of them. Typically, quality goes to the wayside when you have a steady, reliable market for whatever wine made, whether good or not. Moreover, the region is really, really sunny (I think I said that already), so this is good for tourists, but bad for grapes, which can ripen too quickly for their own good, with lackluster flavors in the final wine.

But Bandol is one of the blessed exceptions. The vineyards (first planted by the Greeks in 600 BCE) are planted on south-facing slopes on rustic stone terraces called restanques where they are protected from cold northerly winds, but bathed in warm Mediterranean breezes. This is, in fact, the only French red wine region where Mourvèdre dominates–because this grape actually needs all that glorious sunlight of this region in order to fully ripen; and any Bandol Rouge must have at least 50-95% to be classified as such (pink Bandol wines 20-95%). On its own, this unique variety is known for producing wildly rich, meaty and structured red wines, but it is often blended with Grenache, Cinsault, Syrah or Carignan. The red wines must spend 18 months in oak before it is released.

In fact, for restaurant-goers, Bandol Rouge is often a ‘steal’ on a wine list, compared to a Cabernet Sauvignon. Why? Because most consumers simply aren’t familiar with its key grape, Mourvèdre, or the region. But this makes one of the finest French reds in France, and is also responsible for some of the best, most layered rosés!

 

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So as far as pairing food with a Bandol Rouge, think savage and meaty. Steak is a no-brainer, roasted pork, or hearty stews or casseroles work very well, but rich cheeses such as Tete-du-Moine from Switzerland, marked by delicious notes of beef consommé, or Pyrenees Agour, a full-flavored savory cheese from the Basque region of Spain. Bandols with some age can be quite a meditative experience without food.”

 

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full article here: https://savvydrinker.com/tag/bandol-rouge/

to order Bandol wines:
https://shop.avin.jp/?pid=138116702


Clos du Caillou Châteauneuf du Pape Les Safres 2016 red2019/3/25

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What is the soil characteristic and why the name “Les safres”?
Safres soils is a type of compact sand. Located on the name place “Les Bédines”, the soil of this cuvée is made of Sandy and safres soils giving to the wine suppleness and fineness!

2016 VINTAGE : An excellent cellaring potential.

The vintage 2016 benefited from really exceptional weather conditions, every bloc was harvested with optimal maturity.
Following by soft winter and cool spring, summer was hot and dry.
However, very high thermal amplitudes was observed between day and night, favoring the synthesis of polyphenols.
Harvest started on September 7th with red grapes, for 3 weeks.
Nevertheless, the drought of the summer lead to decrease the size of berries, as a result of low yield but with outstanding juice.
Red wines have dense and dark dresses with very high levels of anthocyanins and very beautiful tannic structures leading to predict an exceptional potential of ageing.

VINIFICATION:
Harvest started on September 20st.
Hand-picking with sorting in the vineyard and then in cellar.
De-stemming (100%) and vinification in wooden tanks with wild yeasts. Manual punch-down and delestages are made during all the grape maceration (35 days).

BLEND : 95% Grenache, 5% Mourvèdre, Vaccarèse and Cinsault

AGEING : In foudres and in demi-muids for 14 months.

WINEMAKER TASTING NOTES :
This wine presents an attractive madder red color to the dark purple reflections. The nose is greedy with flavors of wild lilacs and notes of flowerbed and faded roses. The mouth is magnificent with a beautiful sweetness, a beautiful fineness of tannins with aromas of liqueur of licorice and peaches/cherry compote.
A very pleasurable wine.

 

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FOOD AND WINE PAIRING :
Pie of wild pigeon – Ballotine of roe deer in blueberries.

 

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https://shop.avin.jp/?pid=104186295


A magical place to discover in Villeneuve-Lez-Avignons: the Abbey of Saint-André and its gardens2019/3/2

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“The royal Benedictine Abbey of Saint-André welcomes visitors to its magnificent terraced gardens and abbatial palace. A rare place that harmoniously combines the art of gardens with a mosaic of the heritage and rich history of the Languedoc and Provence regions since the 6th century

The history of the Abbey:

Classified as a National Heritage Site (« Monument Historique » since 1947, the Abbey of Saint-André and its gardens have ties to many historical periods. From its beginnings as a modest hermitage in the 6th century, it grew to play a role in international history with its most glorious periods in the 13th and 14th centuries.

 

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Mount Andaon’s elevation of 68 meters (223 feet) and its location on the right bank of the Rhone River give the site a strategic geographical position probably envied since Gallo-Roman times.

The gardens: 

Classified among the most beautiful in France, the Abbey’s gardens unfold with old roses, Mediterranean natives, and olive and pine trees more than a century old among the remains of Romanesque style churches and tombs dating as far back as the 6th century. At the foot of the abbatial palace lies a parterre garden in 16th century Tuscan style adorned with ponds, vases and sculptures, and bordered by a pergola covered with wisteria and roses. From the heights of Mount Andaon, these terraced gardens offer panoramic views of the Popes’ Palace in Avignon across the Rhone River.

 

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The Abbatial Palace:

Both a spiritual and a strategic site, the Abbey has an extensive history. Originally the retreat of a woman named St. Casarie, then a Benedictine monastery, Saint-André became a royal Abbey in the 13th century, overseeing 211 priories nearby. Restored at the end of the 17th century by the King’s architect Pierre Mignard, the abbatial palace has retained its elegantly vaulted rooms, grand entry doors and monumental staircase.”

 

On view from March 1st until April 28th: the exhibition « Herbier d’Azur » of Gabrielle de Lassus S.G.   Open every day from 10am to 1pm & 2pm-5pm

Address: Abbaye Saint-André – Fort Saint-André, Montée du Fort, 30400  Villeneuve-Lez-Avignon

Informations from: http://www.abbayesaintandre.fr

 

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CARIGNAN: a secondary grape variety used in Rhône & Provence2019/2/21

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Origin:
Carignan is a grape variety that originally comes from Spain, more specifically Aragon. In the 12th century, it was introduced into southern France where, on the shores of the Mediterranean, it has thrived, from both an agronomic and climatic standpoint.

Aromas:
Most of the time, wines made with Carignan have notes of spices and especially ripe fruits (namely prune), blackberry or black cherry. After ageing in oak barrels, these are accompanied by hints of toasted bread, grilled almonds or leather.

Wines produced:
Carignan has a high potential for acidity, and average potential for sugar content and color, especially when harvested in high yields. By controlling yield, however, we can obtain wines that are less acidic, more concentrated and thus better balanced. In this case, the tannins are softer and less herbaceous. Carbonic maceration is a winemaking technique that enables these characteristics to be easily improved. The wines thus become smoother and fruitier. Wines made from old vines, on the contrary, are often of great quality – powerful and full-bodied – thanks to their low yield.

 

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Areas planted:
Carignan is an exclusively Mediterranean variety.
Côtes du Rhône red and rosé (30 % maximum of total grape varieties), Côtes du Rhône Villages rouges et rosés (20 % maximum of total grape varieties), Costières de Nîmes, Luberon, Ventoux.

Used for red, rosé wines.


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