Loire Valley Update

TASTEVIN GROUP WINE TOUR

  LOIRE VALLEY – FRANCE

« A CHATEAU IMMERSION »

OCTOBER 18 – 26, 2014

The vineyards of the Loire Valley are strung along the longest and prettiest river in France, extending 650 miles from its origin in the Massif Central to the Artlantic Ocean. Known as the Vale of the Loire, and the Garden of France, majestic chateaux and stout fortresses decorate the landscape.

You have read about towns and cities line Amboise, Tours, Angers & Orleans (Jeanne d’Arc) in your history books, but now you can discover their real glories – the kind made from grapes – which have been grown here for over 2000 years. The eastern area close to Burgundy is renowned for its white wines made from Sauvignon Blanc (Sancerre, Pouilly-Fumé), and for elegant red wines from Pinot Noir. The central area (Touraine & Anjou) specializes in white wines made from Pineau de Loire/Chenin Blanc (Vouvray, Savennieres, Anjou, Quart de Chaumes) and for sparkling wines made by the Methode Champenoise. This part of the Valley is the only region in the world that specializes in luscious red wines made from Cabernet Franc (Chinon, Bourgeuil, St.-Nicolas-de-Bourgeuil) … and perhaps you are already familiar with delicious Rosé d’Anjou!

History has left indelible impressions in this region, from Troglodyte caves & villages – still in use – to the grandiose chateaux that have sheltered royalty over the centuries. We will not only visit chateaux that are historical monuments, but we will experience the “chateau life” by staying in some that have been beautifully preserved as hotels. This will be the ultimate “royal” experience!

This trip is already 70% full, so don’t delay sending in your reservation. You can cancel until June 15 if you change your mind.

Terms Loire Valley

Intinerary Loire Valley

Reserve Loire Valley

 

SAVE THIS DATE!

We hope you will be able to join the Tastevin Group’s (final) annual celebration of commeraderie, food, and wine at a fabulous French/Asian fusion dinner at:

SUSANNA FOO
GOURMET KITCHEN
555 E. Lancaster Avenue
Radnor, PA
(Free Valet Parking)

6 p.m., Sunday, April 27, 2014
b.y.o.b.
Monsieur Herbert will supply the opening Mousseux!

Price: $70.00/ p.p. all inclusive

Gabriel Foo, who joined the Tastevin Group last year, and his famous chef mother Susanna Foo are planning a fabulous, very special dinner for us in their private dining room to mark the 2014 finale of the Tastevin Group’s travels and adventures.

It matters not if you are “tripping” with us to the Loire Valley, France this year – come to see old & new friends one more time and raise a glass together to celebrate our past shared experiences of that magical nectar called wine.

Bring a crisp Sancerre, luscious Vouvray, or structured Chinon or any other favorite wine of your choice to share. If you are just joining the Tastevin Group, come meet some of your fellow cellarmates.

Please make checks payable to Herbert Engelbert and mail to:

Herbert Engelbert
3204 Sawmill Road
Newtown Square, PA 19073-1901

RSVP by April 22, 2014
Questions or directions? Call Herb at 610-353-4870.

À bientôt!

 Tastevin dinner reservation form

Loire Valley – France

“Land of Rabelais & Balzac”

October 18-26, 2014

The vineyards of the Loire Valley are strung along the longest and prettiest river in France, extending 650 miles from its origin in the Massif Central to the Atlantic Ocean. Known as the Vale of the Loire, and the Garden of France, majestic chateaux (Azay-le-Rideau, Chenonceaux, Chambord, Rochambeau) and stout fortresses decorate the landscape.

You have read about towns and cities like Amboise, Tours, Angers & Orléans (Jeanne d’Arc) in your history books, but now you can discover their real glories – the kind made from grapes (which have been grown here for over 2000 years.) The area is renowned for its white wines made from Sauvignon Blanc (Sancerre, Pouilly-Fumé), Chenin Blanc (Vouvray, Savennieres, Anjou, Quart de Chaumes) and Muscadet, and for sparkling wines produced by the Methode Champenoise. The central part of the Valley is the only region in the world that specializes in luscious red wines made from Cabernet Franc (Chinon, Bourgeuil, St.-Nicolas-de-Bourgeuil) and the eastern part very close to Burgundy produces elegant Pinot Noir. Of course, you are all familiar with Rosé d’Anjou!

We will be going to the Loire Valley in March to meet winemakers on their own terroir and will have an itinerary and prices worked out after we return (by mid-April.) Of course, we will select the most interesting (and hospitable) wineries, restaurants, hotels, cultural & historic sites.

Preliminary interest in this trip is quite high. You can assure your place by sending in your reservation deposit now. I expect the trip to cost in the $4000. range. You can cancel until June 15 if you change your mind after you receive the trip details in mid-April.

We hope you will join us on this trip, which might be my “swansong” to wine trips (after 46 years.)

Dale Engelbert posting for Herbert Engelbert

Reserve Loire Valley

Terms Loire Valley 

Beaujolais Nouveau

It was one minute before midnight on the 3rd Thursday in November on the left bank in Paris. A good-natured crowd had filled the small bistro and spilled into the narrow street, where tables and chairs had been set up in front of a banner in the window that announced “Le Beaujolais Nouveau est arrivée” – the new Beaujolais is here! On the stroke of midnight, a happy cheer went up from the crowd as pitchers and glasses were filled from the wine cask sitting on the bar. Everyone smiled at his or her neighbor and toasted the new wine, a fruity, grapey, bright purple nectar. It arrives on the 3rd Thursday in November in France and wherever and airplane can take it that day. What is it? It is a fresh, light-bodied guzzling wine made from the Gamay grape that’s intended to be drunk within a few months of its birth, although bottled versions can be kept up to a year. It is at its peak as soon as it is made, and it will go with almost any food, especially holiday foods such as ham, turkey, or chicken. It is tastiest when slightly chilled, around 55 degrees Fahrenheit, which intensifies its fruitiness. About an hour in the fridge should do it. The “nouveau” style has been copied by many other wines, bu none has achieved the fame–or fun–of Beaujolais Nouveau.

RAGS TO RICHES – BEYOND MALBEC – UPDATE

The past decade has witnessed the emergence of Argentina as a powerhouse of world- class winemaking. Until now, wine production outstripped facilities for wine tourism. That has changed – Argentina now is ready for the Tastevin Group!

Severe economic crises in 2001 changed the target market for the wines of Argentina. The local wine-drinking population had difficulty affording wine, especially fine wine, so the industry began exporting with vigor. Malbec became the friendly, delicious red wine that consumers around the world have embraced. Malbec may be king, but there are princes and princesses, a few with names we are just learning to pronounce: Torrontes, Bonarda, Merlot, Syrah, Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon, and more.

We will focus on the largest wine-producing region: Mendoza, where the rocky foothills of the Andes ascend into 20,000 foot snow-capped peaks, where a green sea of vines runs to the horizon, and where most days are brilliantly blue (except when it rains).

Argentina represents a huge gourmet dining mosaic, with an exciting fusion of a sophisticated European palate and strong native traditions. We will discover unique culinary gems, each asking for a glass (or 2) of wine!

A stay and tour in Buenos Aires is on our agenda (and some tango!).

argentina2
Departure on October 19 will bring you to Buenos Aires on October 20 where we will connect on a flight to Mendoza. We will depart Argentina on October 28, arriving back in the U.S. on October 29 (unless you extend to continue your explorations – we will make some suggestions.)

 

 

Preliminary interest in this trip is quite high. You can assure your place by sending in your reservation deposit now. You can cancel until June 15 if you change your mind.

Itinerary
Reservations
Terms

Please join us for our reunion dinner on Sunday, June 23 at Chima in Philadelphia. Click here for details.

Rags to Riches–Beyond Malbec

Tastevin Group Wine Tour to Argentina – Preliminary Information
“Rags to Riches–Beyond Malbec”
Tentative date: OCTOBER 19-29, 2013

The past decade has witnessed the emergence of Argentina as a powerhouse of world-class wine making.
Until now, wine production outstripped facilities for wine tourism. That has changed – Argentina now is ready for the Tastevin Group!

Severe economic crises in 2001 changed the target market for the wines of Argentina. The local wine-drinking population had difficulty affording wine, especially fine wine, so the industry began exporting with vigor. Malbec became the friendly, delicious red wine that consumers around the world have embraced. Malbec may be king, but there are princes and princesses, a few with names we are just learning to pronounce: Torrontes, Bonarda, Merlot, Syrah, Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon, and more.

We will focus on the largest wine-producing region: Mendoza, where the rocky foothills of the Andes ascend into 20,000 foot snow-capped peaks, where a green sea of vines runs to the horizon, and where most days are brilliantly blue (except when it rains :) ).

Argentina represents a huge gourmet dining mosaic, with an exciting fusion of a sophisticated European palate and strong native traditions. We will discover unique culinary gems, each asking for a glass of wine!

A stay and tour in Buenos Aires will certainly be on our agenda (and some tango?).

We will be going to Argentina in March to meet winemakers on their own terreno and will have an itinerary and prices worked out after we return (by mid-April.) Of course, we will select the most interesting (and hospitable) wineries, restaurants, hotels, cultural & historic sites. We expect the trip will be approximately 10 days in length – we will define that exactly upon our return.

Preliminary interest in this trip is quite high. You can assure your place by sending in your reservation deposit now. You can cancel until June 15 if you change your mind after you receive the trip details in mid-April. Please download the attached pdfs (reservation request and preliminary terms) to reserve your spot!

Reservation Request

Preliminary Terms

Toasting

Holiday time is usually a time for a toast. Have you ever wondered what a roasted slice of bread has to do with the practice of offering a toast? The term “toast” comes from the early Roman practice of dropping a piece of burnt bread into the wine to absorb some of the off flavors the Romans sometimes had to tolerate in their wine. Even Falstaff said in The Merry Wives of Windsor, “put some toast in’t” to soften the harshness of the wine. In time, the Latin “tostus” meaning roasted came to refer to the drink itself. In the 1700s, party-goers even started to toast the health of people not present, especially beautiful women, who would gain the reputation of being the “toast of the town. By the 1800s, toasting was considered mandatory at a dinner gathering and every glass had to be dedicated to someone; if no toast was made to a guest, it was considered a direct contempt for that person. One of my favorite toasts is “Here’s hoping that you live forever, and mine is the last voice you hear.” This has been a historical perspective on wine from Herb Engelbert via Dale Engelbert.

Holiday Wines

The time for joyful eating is upon us. We are entering the holiday season, so let’s talk about the wines you’re going to select to go with those dinners. Turkey is usually accompanied with a sage  or sausage stuffing and sweet potatoes, and ham usually has a sweet/salty flavor. Both these foods want soft, off-dry white wines to complement the sweetness and salt in the food, like a young German or American Riesling (if German, get one marked Kabinett,) a Vouvray or Chenin Blanc or Viognier. A Sauvignon Blanc would complement the herbs in the turkey dressing, but wouldn’t work as well with ham because it’s too dry for the salt in the meat. Chardonnay is usually not the best choice with these dishes. For red wines, you want fruity, low tannin wines, because tannin and salt or sugar don’t like each other. For a soft fruity red, try a young inexpensive wine like Beaujolais or Beaujolais Villages or for something a bit fuller, an American Pinot Noir.  Roast beef, on the other hand, wants much fuller-bodied, slightly tannic red wines, because the fat in the beef will bind the tannins in the wine and make it taste softer. Look for a red Bordeaux, a Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon, a Pinot Noir or red Burgundy. If you prefer white, get an oak-aged Chardonnay. There are so many possibilities, and the more company we have at dinner, the more we can play the game I call the music of the wines. Just open bottles of several different wines, and let each wine sing its own song in harmony with the food. Try playing the music of the wines; let your dinner companions sing the praises of the wines that work best for them, and above all, enjoy the camaraderie. This has been a holiday edition of Time Out for Fine Wine from Herb Engelbert via Dale Engelbert.

Cheers!

Skoal! Na zdroviya! Prosit! l’Chayim! Santé! To your health! Cheers! It’s been done since humankind discovered that a grape left to its own devices will produce something called wine: the offering of good wishes to fellow humankind. It is usually a wish to cheer, and almost every nation has a word or expression for it. Ancient Norsemen drank from the skulls of fallen enemies, hence “Skoal.” The term “to toast” started in the late 17th century when Italians placed toasted croutons into the wine glass, either because it made the croutons tasty or more likely helped to mask spoiled wine. The glass was shared by passing and the person who was able to drink all the wine and claim the toast at the bottom became the “toastmaster.” By the 19th century, toasting became a gesture of friendship and celebration, usually accompanied with spoken good wishes. This has been a historical perspective on wine from Herb Engelbert via Dale Engelbert.