Tag Archives: sparkling wine

New Tasting Salon and Atelier by JCB

Photo, Julie Santiago

JCB by Jean-Charles Boisset opened it’s the new Tasting Salon and Atelier in the town of Yountville, the heart of Napa Valley, in February 2016. The new local is all about fabulous wines and a luxurious lifestyle. The adjoin Atelier by JCB is all about the most enticing high-end gourmet foods from around the world; all wrapped in extravagant and surrealist décor.

The Tasting Salon encompasses the unique JCB approach that unites exclusive Napa Valley and French wines, luxury, and style that evokes surrealism. The JCB collection of Napa Valley wines are featured in three distinctive flights: the Premium Collection, the JCB Touch Interactive tasting at the digital touch table, and The Surrealist flight. It includes a first-of-its-kind interactive wine tasting experience at a digital touch table created exclusively for the tasting salon by Ideum. It offers, as well, wines preserved and served from Napa Technology wines stations, an electronic wine serving station. It is a vibrant, luxurious and uniquely designed tasting room that reflects and embraces the art of living elegantly, with retail pieces curated by Proprietor Jean-Charles Boisset.

The JCB Tasting Salon features a retail boutique that showcases the finest luxury goods from around the world, including JCB’s custom-designed jewelry collection, candles, and perfumes. Also, includes a collection of luxury goods from Lalique (crystal), Baccarat (crystal), Christofle (silver), Bernardaud (porcelain), to name a few, and books from Taschen, Assouline, Rizzoli, Abrams and Chronicle Books.

Inside the JCB Tasting Salon, you will also find the “Surrealist Boutique,” featuring Jean-Charles’s personally designed jewelry and Surrealist wines. The Surrealist Boutique includes an intimate tasting experience, inspired by the jewelry-adorned Surrealist wine, in a private lounge where wine tasting occurs atop a glass bar that showcases the JCB collection of jewelry. The Surrealist wine and the vessel in which the elixir is held is a piece of art and the inspiration for the Surrealist Boutique at the JCB Tasting Salon.

Boisset also launched into the world of gastronomy with the unveiling of Atelier by JCB, a gourmet “epicerie,” adjoining the JCB Tasting Salon, where offers a curated assortment of gourmet delicacies sourced locally from Napa and Sonoma alongside the best international producers from France, Italy, Spain and more. It offers salts, peppers and spices, mustards, honey, olive oil and vinegar from Boisset’s winery estates, smoked salmon, caviar, anchovies, truffles, Foie gras, terrines, charcuterie, more than 120 cheeses, chocolate, specialty teas and coffees. The Atelier by JCB is heaven for the Epicurious in all of us! Who can resist splurge and bring home some Pata Negra Iberico Chorizo, truffle honey, Pinot Noir Mustard, Foie gras, caviar, or a fabulous cheese like Taleggio, Mt. Tam, Tome de Savoie or Rabiola Lombardia? The Atelier even offers the signature Poilâne bread loaf from the famous Poilâne Bakery, flown from Paris every Thursday!

The location of the Tasting Salon and Atelier by JCB couldn’t be more fitting. In the heart of Napa Valley, the Town of Yountville is home to some of the best restaurant and hotels in California Wine Country, and the perfect backdrop to showcase JCB wine collection, specialty products, and luxury goods.

The JCB Tasting Salon and Atelier by JCB are open daily from 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. at 6505 Washington St, Yountville, CA. For more information regarding wines, reservations and membership opportunities visit their website.



Anna De Codorníu exceptional value Cava

Anna De Codorníu history of winemaking goes back to 1551, with a family of grape growers and winemakers headed by Jaume Codorníu. In 1659, the marriage between Anna Codorníu and Miguel Raventós, joined forever two major winemaking families and served as the bedrock for the Codorniú brand. By 1872, Josep Raventós produced the first bottles of quality sparkling wine in Spain. Josep expended time in the Champagne region and learned from their winemaking techniques. He applied the traditional method to the local grapes, Macabeo, Xarel·lo and Parellada; creating an exceptional sparkling wine with an identity of its own. A real pioneer in the Spanish Cava industry.

By 1983 Codorníu included Chardonnay grapes on his sparkling, giving birth to Anna De Codorníu. By 2007, the Brut Rosé was introduced with the use of Pinot Noir grapes. By 2011, the Blanc de Noirs made 100% Pinot Noir grapes join the family of quality sparkling wines. 2014 marks the launch of Anna de Codorníu Blanc de Blancs and Anna Rose Brut. These last addition to the Codorníu family of sparkling wines are suited to celebrate any occasion or just to enjoy every day with your favorite dish. For $15 a bottle these well crafted Cava make for excellent value wines.

  • Anna Codorníu Blanc de Blancs Brut: (70% Chardonnay, 15% Parellada 15% Xarel·lo and Macabeo) The Chardonnay grapes come from estate vineyards located in Lleida, the Parellada, Xarel·lo and Macabeo come from various vineyards in Penedès. This sparkling shows vibrant yellow color with hues of yellow-green, with a constant flow of fine beads. On the aroma, you can enjoy Meyer lemon, passion fruit and fresh toasted bread and hints of floral. On the palate, this sparkler displays pleasant acidity, creamy texture, and refreshing finish. This wine shows flavors of tangerine, green apples and caramel and a touch of mineral water. A great value for $15.
  • Anna Codorníu Brut Rosé: (70% Pinot Noir and 30% Chardonnay) Both Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes come from estate vineyards located in Lleida, The Cava DOC with the most continental climate. This elegant bubbly displays a pale cherry color with raspberry overtones, with a steady stream of fine beads. On the nose, Loganberry, strawberry, and golden apples. One the palate you can enjoy a good balance between red fruit and acidity, finishing light and refreshing. Suggested retail price, $15.

Both wines are food friendly, enjoy them with salads, white fish, fresh oysters, popcorn, fried chicken, smoked salmon, or your favorite charcuterie and cheese plate. Salud!

Napa Valley Harvest 2015 early start

Photo by Edgar Solis

Napa Valley Harvest 2015 started early July 22, eight days early than the 2014 harvest.  Mumm Napa won this year’s race by picking four acres of Pinot Noir from the Game Farm Vineyard in Silverado Trail.“Game Farm Vineyard serves as the litmus test for the Napa harvest” related Vineyard Manager Doug Springer.

The vineyard usually delivers the first crops of the Valley. The 36 acres Vineyard is located west of Silverado Trail below the Rector Creek’s Dam. Topsoil from the vineyard area was used to create the dam, stripping off the Valley floor and leaving behind rocky soils and cobblestones. The 20-year old vineyard creates a struggling environment that forces the vines to direct its energy to the fruit. Heat and light reflected by the white stones on the ground increase the grape ripening speed, helping the crops to develop early every year. Traditionally Sparkling houses pick early seeking lower sugar levels and higher acidity. There is no surprise why this vineyard delivers the perfect grapes Mum Napa seeks for the premium quality Sparkling wines at an earlier time.

To celebrate the beginning of the 2015 harvest Mumm Napa Winemaker, Ludovic Dervin, and employees with the sabering of Sparkling, toasting to the grapes and a large group, pops corks of well-shaken bubbly.

Talking to the crowd, he explained, that, in general, this growing season has been different from 2011, 2013 and 2014 seasons. This season had unusual canopy growth, smaller berries, variability in the crop and unevenness on the crop ripeness. He calls it a diamond in the rough, “We had to do a lot of carving and polishing this year to extract the beautiful quality from the 2015 harvest”.

He indicated that Pinot Noir’s crop from Game Farm Vineyard this year yielded 12.1 tons, while the same Vineyard yielded 16 tons of grapes in 2014. He added, “Prediction is coming to fruition; we are having a lighter Pinot Noir crop, but what we are not getting in quantity, we are getting on quality.”


Sexy alcapurrias and sparkling wine


What makes them sexy? Having them with a luscious bubbly, the 2009 Ceja Late Disgorge Brut sparkling. What is an alcapurria? It is a typical dish from Puerto Rico, difficult and time consuming to make, but a delicious reward in the end. It consists of hand grated green bananas, green plantains and white yautía, stuffed with your favorite filling and deep fried until golden.

What is a yautía, you may ask?

Definition: This tuber has an elongated shape and the skin is bumpy, patchy, brown, and shaggy. The flesh inside is slippery, but crisp. It can be white, yellow, pink or purplish. It has a nutty, earthy flavor with a waxy, starchy consistency when prepared. This root is often confused with taro. If you mix them up, don’t panic. The two roots are so similar; you can usually interchange them in recipes. Thanks to About.com for the definition.

After grating everything and mixing it very well, you need to add a mix of achiote (annatto) and vegetable oil. This will add a reddish color to the masa (mix). Just add salt to taste, mix well and is ready to get stuffed.  Hopefully you have a filling made to stuff the masa. You can do the classic ground pork or anything you like, it can be vegetarian, crab, chicken or beef. After you form the alcapurrias by hand, freeze them and deep fried them until golden crisp.

The secret of a great alcapurria is the consistency of the masa (mix). It is learned by experience, but for a great start follow the recipe of  stupendous Puerto Rican cook Eris Garriga, she published several books of Puerto Rican cuisine, in Spanish and English. Check her website: http://homestylepuertoricancooking.weebly.com

I had a 2009 chilled Ceja Vineyards Late Disgorged Brut sparkling ready to go. What a sexy pairing with the ground pork alcapurrias. After a couple of bites to the crispy alcapurria, a sip of the Ceja sparkling cleansed your palate making you anxious for the next bite. What a culinary delight!

The Ceja Late Disgorge sparkling wine is made with 60% Chardonnay and 40% Pinot Noir grapes from Carneros, Napa Valley. Crisp and refreshing wine with nuances of green apple, brioche and slightly citrus notes. On the palate you get pleasant acidity, citrus, yellow fruit and hazelnut notes. A delightful and stimulating wine that will pair well with your favorite dish. Suggested retail price is $44.