Archive for the ‘ Life Storeis ’ Category

Pays Basque Wines of Xareta

Hotel Restaurant Lastiry, Sare/Fr

Most recently a trip was taken by my family to Espaina and the southern region of France- Xareta, which means “Wooded Valley”. We visited one of the villages, Sare (Sara) in the Basque region.

This charming town is part of the winding roadways off the major Autovia, or highway once you cross the French border. There we had two wines of the area with our meal, before setting off to San Sebastian, the other side of the Basque border.

A white and red wine, both AOC Irouleguy- Andere D’Ansa (white, 09) and Gorri D’Ansa (red, 07). Soft and light, but well matched for the regional dishes of seafood (squid and scallops, of which are mostly small) and le boeuf (veal).

A plus in this region and Spain were the offerings of small bottles, and no competitive pricing. Spain has no taxing on alcohol, because the believe that ‘Wine Is Food’, so I suspect France may be the same. Finding a bottle for as little as 1 Euro is not uncommon. Maybe not as good, but easy on the Euros with meals. I would suggest if you are ever near this region, which just above and to the left is Bordeaux- do not pass this experience up.

Our hotel and restaurant are connected- service, food and wine were excellent. If you do not speak French (a bit different in Basque), the hotel receptionist if on duty speaks English, and helped us with the menu since the wait staff had no patience with my son’s Spanish or our unused French from college and about. Spanish is also spoken, but a bit choppy with the French mixed in. I would suggest a Berlitz course, or lessons before you go.

Food- Basque, but French in many ways. Scallop pie, Le Boeuf Kidney Pie, and a beautiful Squid Casserole.

Also, one last suggestion- For breakfast, skip the lobby breads, and head down to the left, around the corner, and down the alley like street to the local bakery- Pan/Pain for some chocolate crescents. The memory of them lingers…some red wine would go well!

The food, wine and scenery is beautiful!

Cheers!

Chef Elizabeth Stelling Food ~ Wine ~ Fun!

HISTORY: Xareta is an association law 1901 of French right dating from September 2004, gathering 4 villages on the two side of the border: Ainhoa, Sare, Urdazubi-Urdax and Zugarramurdi.

The country of Xareta, zone of a few square kilometres, forms a common basin of life on the two side of the border, around the villages Urdazubi-Urdax, Zugarramurdi, Ainhoa and Sare. The territory is located near mountains and sea. Moreover, Xareta has a strong cultural identity, thanks to the bonds of its inhabitants, who exceed the borders.

Sare/Sara, Fr Village View

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More Wine(ing) To Come

Corky is on the job as we speak!

Partners In Wine Club Press will be bringing you new and updated information on the marriage of food, wine, technology, and social media…

Both Chef Elizabeth Stelling and Adrienne Turner are attending classes, meeting with wine producers, and getting ready for Wine Art Music Poetry Project, and will begin regular posting soon…

The Garden State Wine Has Arrived

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This and a bottle of Europa!

To borrow from written history, various documented internet sources, and my own education in and around the New Jersey Vineyards over the past year, I have discovered my new home makes more than just ‘Okay and fruity’ wine.

The state has begun to take back its bragging rights of being ‘The Garden State’* in the last few years, and is staking a claim in some of the best wines produced outside of California and France. In 1767, London’s Royal Society of the Arts had already recognized two New Jersey vintners for their success in producing the first bottles of quality wine derived from the colonial agriculture. The problem I believe, started when everyone wanted a stake in the wine industry here and began buying up land and growing wine grapes further north, where the soil and weather are vastly different. Thus the huge difference in wine.

The GSWGA website with its marketing verbiage of ‘Savor The Experience’ and hearing from locals about how great their wines are in the central Jersey area (as they showed me their local fruity blueberry and cranberry wine), I was beginning to think no one knew what good vino really was. I already hail from Texas where there are very few, if any drinkable to my mature palate in the Lone Star State ( Texas grows wine grapes, and bottles it!). Yes laugh! Five years ago when I hit what I call the central Jersey wine trail…well…I was more than disappointed. De ja vue hit me like a mad bull in a packed rodeo parking lot!

I am sure a few winery cowboys would love to come after me on that comment, but I do agree in the spring along the east bound highways of I45: blooming wildflowers, historical site seeing, and a few stops at wineries can break up the ‘out of the AC lock down’ lifestyle of the Lone Star State, but I discovered something MORE breath taking in Jersey.

The Outer Coastal Plain American Viticultural Area– beautiful acres of green grass, pine barrens, and shore line. New Jersey is a puzzle so spread out that it can take years to place each piece together and find your way around, but its worth the wait. New Jersey wineries are generally in one of two areas: the triangle defined by Atlantic City, Cape May, and Philadelphia or the strip from near Trenton to High Point along the Delaware River.

Last year while taking a weekend excursion, which there are so many here to discover with its rich history, I ended up in the Marlton, Berlin, and the Atco New Jersey area. Noticing the clump of wineries on the ‘Garden State Wine Growers Association’ map, we decided to visit a few and see if they differed from the upper regions near our home in Princeton. Some were more drinkable, but our last stop was Amalthea Cellars. We walked away more than two hours later with over a case of wine, and I have made a few trips back since.

A big southern Thank You to ‘The Garden State’* as is well known for; it consist of rich cultural food history, small historical towns dotted up and down its old highways, sprawling farmland, farmers markets and (in my opinion) some of the best wineries down south. Put them together, and the sweltering summer heat of late aside, I have come to embrace my new home of wine and foodie paradise.

There is a lot going on now that the New Jersey Outer Coastal Plain AVA is getting noticed, and I would not miss it if I were you!

*HISTORY: New Jersey’s nickname, the Garden State, derives largely from the more than one hundred year history of growing of fruits and vegetables in this area which supplies such produce to the mid-Atlantic region and as far north as Montreal.

Cheers!

Chef Elizabeth Stelling Food ~ Wine ~ Fun!

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