Monthly Archives: October 2014

Sips and castles of Loire Valley, France

In a land southwest of Paris, you can discover over 1,000 castles — in Loire Valley, France. On a City Wonders Tour, you’ll also discover the history of France that leads to the Loire Valley and the river that proved difficult for enemies to navigate, hence the place where the King of France lived during wars. The Loire Valley is also known for producing some of the best cabernet franc grapes, as well as 80 types of goat cheese.

Two hours of a history-lectured bus tour led us to the first tour stop: Chambord, which was the inspiration for Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast.” The palace was built by King Francis I, styled in comparison to what he loved in Milan, Italy. It was built as a mere hunting lodge in the forest of Chambord. Today, the forest is a national reserve – the same as it was in the 16th century, except there’s a wall that closes the forest. Within the castle walls of this former hunting lodge, where today you can rent out the space for $150,000 a day, there are more than 300 rooms, 200 fireplaces and 80 staircases.

The City Wonders Tour includes lunch and a wine tasting at Chateau de Nitray. We are served the food of peasants: roasted chicken, potatoes, tomatoes, cheeses, salad and apple dessert, all accompanied with a wine tasting and tour of the castle grounds and rudimentary, barrel-less wine cellar. Chateau de Nitray’s vineyards have been around for 28 years, where six varietals of grapes include sauvignon blanc, chardonnay and chenin blanc as popular whites, and cabernet franc as the known red. The sauvignon blanc is sweeter than anything I’ve ever tasted, with citrus, melon, peach notes that lead to a tart finish. It does have great structure. The rose is made with cabernet franc; they utilize the red skins for about 10 hours to get that beautiful rose color.

Chateau de Chenonceau proves to be the most elegant of our stops. Home to the six ladies: Catherine D. Medici (Henri II’s mistress, then wife after she ‘removed’ Diana), Diana Poitiers (the castle was dedicated to Diana by husband King Henri II), Louise of Lorraine (Henri III’s wife), Louise Dupin (artist who saved the chateau during the Revolution), Marguerite Pelouze (transformed the castle to a luxury estate) and Simone Menier (of chocolate fortune and who nursed the wounded during World War II). The interior will leave you in awe, but my goal was to check out the cellar — the wine cellar, where a tasting bar lures a crowd for sips of three wines. This is also where you can buy some bottles to take home. My advice, however, is to avoid the three-pack. Choose your personal favorites, such as the cabernet franc.

Visit to view the list of tours offered from Paris.

Champagne Day: Friday, Oct. 24

The fifth annual #ChampagneDay is a yearly social media event made possible by all Champagne drinkers around the world. It is the time of year to raise a flute to the quintessential wine of celebration, good cheer and toasts everywhere: Champagne. And remember, there are great sparkling wines from around the world, but Champagne only comes from Champagne, France.

The 2014 #ChampagneDay is set for Friday, October 24. All you need to participate is a glass of Champagne on October 24, 2014. Share your photos, tasting notes, experiences and videos on any social media site, and be sure to add the #ChampagneDay hash tag so your friends from around the globe can share in the fun.

This year, for the first time, show your #ChampagneDay support via Facebook and Twitter with Thunderclap! And visit to send an eCard to friends and family.

Join in on global #ChampagneDay tasting with friends from around the globe!

Date and time:

Friday, October 24, 2014. This is a 24-hour event so that everybody everywhere can participate.

Vive Le Champagne!

Other Hosts

Binny’s Beverage Depot

1720 N. Marcey St.
Chicago, IL 60614

Celebrate National Champagne Day with your favorite Champagne, Champagne Henriot. Meet Cellarmaster and Director of Vines and Wines, Laurent Fresnet who was born and raised in Reims, the heart of the Champagne region in France. As the descendant of several generations of wine growers in the Montagne de Reims area, he knew from an early age he was destined to work in Champagne. Taste through the outstanding range of wines from Champagne Henriot with Laurent in this Open House event.

Reservations Required
RSVP requested – Call 312-664-4394 today.

Sofitel Brisbane

249 Turbot Street
Brisbane QLD 4000

As part of Sofitel Wine Days we invite you to celebrate Global Champagne Day at Privé249 on Friday 24th October for a night of delights by Chef de Cuisine Josh Okorn and Craig Haworth of House of G.H. Mumm.

Five courses of delicate and imaginative dishes will be paired with exquisite Champagnes for a night of true opulence and pleasure.

Please click here to view the full menu.

For more information or to book please call (07) 3835 3535

The Winery

285A Crown St.
Surry Hills NSW 2010

The Winery in Surry Hills is scheduled to open on Champagne Day, October 24!

67 Wine & Spirits

179 Columbus Ave
New York, NY 10023

67 Wine will be “pouring on #Champagne Day with Geofroy of AvanteGuard from 4-7pm.”


2401 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington, DC 20037

Marcel’s will be featuring a special Champagne menu and flights. Additional details forthcoming.

Muselet Restaurant & Wine Bar

Jacobsen Salt Co. 602 SE Salmon St
Portland, Oregon

Hors d’oeuvres and six courses, each paired with Champagne.
Four producers of Récemment Dégorgé (prestige) ‘grower’ Champagnes from France will be in attendance and seated among guests:
Rodolphe Péters, Champagne Pierre Peters
Arnaud Margaine, Champagne A. Margaine
Jean-Baptiste Geoffroy, Champagne Rene Geoffroy
Laetitia Billiot, Champagne H. Billiot Fils.

$150 per person, including wine pairings, excluding gratuity. Limited seating.

The Wine Sellar

9550 Waples Street, Suite 115
San Diego, California 92121

True Champagne comes from Champagne France and is made in the traditional method. We will be celebrating this fantastic day the right way! With some genuine Champagne!

Eddie V’s

4400 W Boy Scout Blvd
Tampa, FL 33607

Champagne & Jazz featuring Jazz vocalist Theo Valentin:
Celebrating Champagne Day 2014 one day early on October 23 in Tampa Bay.
Raffle proceeds and donations to benefit Moffitt Cancer Center for Breast Cancer Research and to support Breast Cancer Awareness Fight For A Cure.

Spark the Hague

Zeestraat 35
2518 AA The Hague, Netherlands

Hosted on the 24th of October by G-Bubbles and Hilton Sparkteam, this evening is all about class, exclusivity and champagne!

Time 18:00 – 19:30
Exclusive champagne tasting and dinner (limited access).
– six very rare luxury champagnes,
– elaborately explained and discussed by champagne experts Martijn Verbruggen and Gregor Neggers,
– set in an exclusive boardroom at Hilton The Hague,
– lobster from the Big Green Egg.
– €149,
– more info: &

Have questions about 5th Annual #ChampagneDay 2014? Contact ChrisO

Vendanges de Montmartre

If you happen to be in Paris this weekend, spend an afternoon in Montmartre, by the Sacre Coeur. Through Oct. 12, the annual wine harvest festival “Vendanges de Montmartre” takes place to celebrate the first grapes grown in Paris. But first, begin on the corner of Saint Vincent and rue des Saules to appreciate the only and remaining working vineyard of Paris – called Clos Montmartre, which dates back to 1932 and grows gamay and pinot noir grapes, as well as some sauvignon blanc and riesling. Don’t expect to taste wines made in Montmartre, however, as they are auctioned off at steep prices for collections only. You do not want to drink these. Not only are they inferior tastes, they are also known to be diuretic.

Now that you’ve appreciated the small vineyard, head back up the hill and take the funicular to the butte of Montemarte – unless you want a good step workout. Once at the top, you’ll be able to browse through endless tables of artisan food and wines. Many of these tables offer samples, but do not expect to sample tastes of wines complimentary; you’ll pay between 2-6 euros a glass. But you will get samples of many incredibly tasty cheeses, some Armagnac, almond/honey nougat, and more. My suggestion is to begin with a glass of Champagne, served in a flute you can keep as a souvenir. And then, browse through the tables until the end, check out a street performance, some artists in action, and head up into the Sacre Coeur to check out the interior beauty. Before you leave the area, hop on the carousel for a short ride and giggle, and then head back to taste and make your purchases if you please. End with a stop for some mulled hot wine, as the beautiful sunny days turn to chilly nights.

As you make your way back to the Metro stop: Anvers, you’ll walk through the souvenir street shops where you can participate or watch some live gambling in action. Yes, there are men with large cardboard boxes they use as a table where they place three hockey puck sized discs for you to choose which one has the two stickers underneath. Winner takes all.

Whatever you decide to do, here are a few of my suggestions of wines tastes I would highly recommend:

– A glass of Champagne Brut A Villers Marmery Premier Cru U.V. made in Champagne, France, made with chardonnay, pinot noir and pinot blanc grapes. A perfect blended wine, this one pairs well with rich fish, shellfish poultry, vegetarian dishes and venison.

– Taste the Comte De Lauze Chateauneuf-Du-Pape U.V. from Southern Rhone, France ($78), made with roussanne, marsanne and grenache blanc grapes. Pair this with pork, shellfish, rich fish or poultry.

– Finally, Jean Lecellier Santenay Passetemps 1er Cru Grand Vin de Bourgogne U.V. from Cote de Beaune, France.

Bonne degustation!