Tour France; Atlanta Has a Wine Tasting to Remember!

Sacre Bleu! Bliss Travels owner Wendy Jaeger recently traveled to Atlanta, Georgia to give some past clients a fabulous wine tasting evening. Featured wines came from Wendy’s personal cache and the vineyards that Bliss Travels visits on trips, so clients could “taste” their memories!

Bliss owner Wendy Jaeger brought fun stories and years of expertise to the evening.

Bliss owner Wendy Jaeger brought fun stories and years of expertise to the evening.

Peaches Please blogger Morgan Perkins was invited to the evening of reminiscing, and was an enthusiastic guest–and writer! Here are some snippets from her blog post:

“As we sipped on the wines, Wendy explained where each bottle was from, including personal anecdotes about the vineyards and wine makers. This inevitably led to reminiscing by the folks who had been on tours with Bliss Travels. From the sound of it, everyone who had been on one of the tours had a wonderful time. One gentleman even brought a beautiful book of photographs from his vacation and much time was spent pouring over the pictures and memories.

From everything I heard over the course of the evening, going on on a tour with Bliss Travels is an amazing, one of a kind experience. I hope that one day I am in a position to indulge in vacation like that!”

Past clients brought books of pictures from their Bliss trips to reminisce.

Past clients brought books of pictures from their Bliss trips to reminisce.

To read the rest of the article, and see some more of the fabulous photos Morgan took throughout the evening, check out her blog!

Oh Blissful Indulgence- An Evening with Bliss Travels

Thanks for coming, Morgan! We hope to see you on a trip with us soon.

A Bientot,

Bliss Travels

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French Wine Tasting: Tour de France of Wines in NYC

French Wine Tasting in NYC 

This past Saturday we co-hosted a blind wine tasting of fine wines from several fabulous regions of France. This fun event was held at the NYC home of “frequent travelers” Kat & Mark. They graciously opened their lovely home on a perfect day, and stocked the tables with fabulous French and Spanish cheeses and delicious gourmet treats!

2013-04-27 09.15.54
Getting ready for people

2013-04-27 09.16.00Each glass had a name2013-04-27 11.30.25Just before arrival, our hosts and “penny” enjoying the sunshine.

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We tasted 5 wines, all from France.

Wine 1: Laurent Combier Crozes Hermitage white. A beautiful wine with floral notes and a rich bouquet. This wine is from just north of Chateauneuf du Pape. People don’t think of Chateauneuf du Pape as a town or even area that produces whites, but they produce excellent white wines. This is a very small part of production but the top ones are truly special –and hard to find in the US. We regularly highlight these when in Provence.

The area around Chateauneuf du Pape, where our first wines came from

Wine 2: Meursault, Les Narvaux, 2010 David Moret. A great buttery chardonnay. Loved this wine (as I do all Burgundy wines). This wine has a bit more minerality than the Les Charmes, 1er cru, we like to profile on our Burgundy trips.

Typical of Burgundy, wines and quaint towns and villages

Typical of Burgundy, wines and quaint towns and villages

bourgogne 025

Our hosts this past September in Burgundy on a private visit to the 14th Century cellars of the winemaker who owns our luxury inn!

Wine 3: Auxey Duresses, 2010, Billard.  A very nice pinot noir from Burgundy. However, Burgundy did not receive its due by comparing and tasting a village wine with the 1er Grand Cru classe from Bordeaux. Next tasting I will showcase wines from Burgundy that are equal in quality and ranking to the ones from Bordeaux. Because this region’s wines have such a “wow” factor  -and the area itself is so stunning –it’s a shame to leave people thinking one region is superior to the other!

The stunning town of Beaun

The stunning town of Beaune

Wine 4: Les Amouriers, Vacqueyras, 2010. This grenache and syrah wine is also from just north of Chateauneuf du Pape, and a very accessible alternative to the big names (and prices) of Chateauneuf du Pape reds. Needs to breath for about 90 minutes to 2 hours as it is young. But is a good wine, full flavored and a great example of what the region can produce.

St Emilion, from Pavie's vineyards

St Emilion, from Pavie’s vineyards

Wine 5: Chateau Pavie Macquin, 2007, her Grand Cru Classe. Predominantly merlot (84%) with 16% cabernet franc, this wine is truly a top wine. It surely overshadowed the other reds. It was smooth, rich and extremely well balanced. Still young, it was opened 2 hours before drinking. Next tasting, we will bring out the big guns in Burgundy to compare with Bordeaux. I think it will be a very tough decision for folks at that point!

Bordeaux France Wines

Thank you to all of your who came. And for those of you who couldn’t make it, we hope to be able to hold “reunions” for other groups and more return travelers!

One final shot of those of us who went out for dinner at a cute French style bistro after the tasting.

Dinner for those who could stay late

2013-04-27 15.35.19Hope to see you in all again very soon!

A Bientot,

Wendy

Tour de France of Wines & Cheese: Virtual Travel with Bliss Travels

French Wine & Cheese Parings on our Tour de France

tour france paris for the holidays

Burgundy, Chateauneuf du Pape, Bordeaux… people “oooh and ahh” over these fabulous wines –forgetting that they are place names –names of villages and towns, not actually names of specific “brands” or even “makers” of wines.

Certainly the places have a terroir that creates a similarity between the wines and the foods. So too, certain grapes (which have different flavors) are grown in certain regions (like pinot noir in Burgundy or Grenache in Chateauneuf du Pape) and that also gives wines from a particular area similar flavor profiles. It’s a good idea to find what grapes you like, first.

The ruins of the Chateau at Chateauneuf du Pape which we visited on our May and October wine/photography trips

The ruins of the Chateau at Chateauneuf du Pape

In some ways saying “I like Chateauneuf  du Pape” is like saying “I like Princeton food” or “I like bread from New York City” –okay….but which food in Princeton? What restaurant? Which bread? They are, within a common American theme, all very different…just like the wines made by different people of the same region or village in France. One exception to this idea is where the place uses only one grape. The best example of this is Burgundy. By using one grape –the wines are much more identifiable by area. A French pinot tastes completely different than an American one.

Then there are cheeses. Also similar to wines in that their place names have almost become their brand names to us. Why do I say that? Well, Camembert is from ….you guessed it! And Roquefort? That’s right. Towns name their prized products (much like people do) after themselves! Now, it might make sense to you why “Champagne” would be so upset that people from other places started calling their sparkling wines by their regions proper name. They thought it was deceptive. Many of us would agree if we were to see a company called, for example, Beverly Hills Real Estate Brokers located in Brooklyn. Same concept.

So, what did we pair at our Tour de France of wine and cheese.

Here’s the list. Below are the tasting notes.

1. Champagne Marie Weiss,  paired with a Brie. (And a Cremant d’Alsace as the bargain substitute for this pairing).

It’s blend of 25% Pinot Noir, 25% Pinot Meunier and 50% Chardonnay from the Montagne de Reims and the Cote des Blancs. About half of the juice comes from 1er Cru and Grand Cru vineyards. The Marie Weiss label is produced by the superb, small Champagne house of Ployez-Jacquemart, near Reims. The nose is of apple, white peach, brioche, and fresh nutmeg. It is full-bodied, crisp and balanced.

(Note: Sparkling wine is a wine with significant levels of carbon dioxide in it making it fizzy. The carbon dioxide may result from natural fermentation, either in a bottle, as with the méthode champenoise, in a large tank designed to withstand the pressures involved.)

2. Laurent Combier Crozes Hermitage Blanc with Chevre and fig jam. Both from Provence, where figs also grow –this is combination that really enhances the flavors of each. The wine is made up of 80% Marsanne and 20% Roussanne, is aged in temperature controlled stainless steel, and 30% is fermented and aged in new oak.  Aromatic nose combines flowers, dried fruits. Medium body, perfect acidity. Ready to drink right away.

Tour France Provence

Artisan made goat cheeses in Provence

3. David Moret, Bourgogne, 2010 paired with Epoisses. Epoisse, a cow’s milk, bloomy rind cheese from Burgundy, that is washed in a Marc de Bourgogne is a wonderful treat. This was a great chardonnay made in the town of Beaune.

Tour France:: Regions of France: Burgundy

The town of Beaune Burgundy

4. Bourgogne Pinot Noir with a crystalized, well aged Comte. Unless you’ve tasted a real, well aged Comte –you won’t understand the allure of this pairing. We compared this with a California pinot noir to highlight the fruit forward flavor of the California pinots and to explain the common characteristics of the French Burgundy wines.

Tastings of Premier Cru and Grand Cru wines

Tastings of Premier Cru and Grand Cru wines

Burgundy cellar

There is a video linked to this photo so that you can see a wine trip to Burgundy. You can also access the video on the Bliss Travels website.

5. Vacqueyras (Les Amouriers) primarily grenache –with  small percentages of CarignanMerlotSyrahGrenache blancRoussanneViognier. This was served with a St Marcellin.  The wine was put in a carafe 1h 30m before drinking to allow it to aerate so that the tannins would soften. There was spice and fullness to this wine. This was best liked by the group as a whole.

6. Muscat de Beaume de Venise with Forme d’Ambert  -sweet and strong. A great finish to a meal. A muscat is a fortified sweet wine from a stunning postage stamp sized Provencal village like the one below. It is offered typically as an apero and served with olives or other salty contrast. Serve more chilled than typical whites. Is ready to drink right away.

Tour France luxury vacations in provence

So, other than following the list (mine or anyone else’s) how do you find a way to pair wine and cheese yourself? Well, you’ve probably figured out that cheese that is made from animals who graze on the same land  as the land where the grapes that make your wine have grown, fit the wine very well together. An herbed rack of lamb is lovely with a Rhone wine because the land infuses both with the same subtle flavors and spice.

So, if you’re looking for an “easy fix” find the cheese that is from the same area as the wine. This dish paired beautifully with a Chateauneuf du Pape, La Nerthe (white)….So well, we did it twice!

Tour France Paris French Food

A big thank you to Swati and Vinnay who generously purchased the wine and cheese “tour” to benefit the Pennington School! Thank you for being wonderful hosts and inviting a great group of people!

Any questions? Contact Wendy et a tres bientot a tous!

Tour France: October in Provence (video)

October in Provence…

On our recent trip to Provence we visited the Luberon and Chateauneuf du Pape.

What was extra special about this trip though was that people had the option to participate in daily photography workshops/sessions before or after sightseeing, and also that we had professional photographer, Anthony Bianciella traveling with us full time. That meant that he was always there to offer help and advice, or simply take on the spot photos for people. (Isn’t it nice to be in your own vacation photos for a change?)

Of course, before we sped down to beautiful Provence via TGV train, we spent a little time in Paris. Walking, sightseeing, photographing…

and, mais oui, dining -in this case, on the season’s first truffles. Truffles in a creamy polenta.

One of the highlights is always the Provencal scenery. The ruins of Chateauneuf du Pape compete for our attention with the changing colored vines, and the gorgeous Medieval villages… Hard to choose which is the best view.

This particular trip included some light hikes through the countryside as well as the ocher mines, sightseeing in various Medieval villages, and a day trip to Chateauneuf du Pape for some truly remarkable wines from some pretty great vintages (Beaucastel, La Nerthe, Vieux Telegraphe, Barroche…to name a few). Click on the “wine” and watch the video Anthony Bianciella made of our trip so that you can take a “virtual vacation” in Provence.

Our next trip to Provence with Anthony is this May….Everything will be in bloom. Poppies, iris’s, cherry blossoms. It is a gorgeous time of year to go to Provence. Some of Anthony’s Spring photos are below. Click on any of the photos to learn more about our May 2013 trip to Provence. It’s small, custom and pure Bliss!

flower boxes around every corner.

spring produce fills the markets.

poppy fields everywhere.

October in Provence and Chateauneuf du Pape

Bliss Travels
wendy@blisstravels.com
609 462 6213
Bliss Travels News (Blog)
Welcome to the Bliss Travels Newsletter
Bonjour from France!

Summer is in full swing and we have some exciting photographs to share. Don’t miss our October trip to Paris and Provence, where we will highlight Chateauneuf du Pape, fall foliage and the beautiful Luberon region of Provence. Photographer Anthony Bianciella will once again partner with us on our exciting adventure. Off the beaten track, insider experiences…And the chance to preserve those memories with spectacular photographs.

Wine & Photo Pairing 
– like wine and cheese but lasts longer!

Fall Foliage

Join us on this one of a kind trip to the wine region of Châteauneuf du Pape. We’ll explore delicious wines, dine in wonderful authentic locales, visit beautiful villages and take amazing photos

Our October trip is designed for those who like to learn a little while they enjoy the finer things in life. All along the journey, we will provide information about the region, details about French wines and French cuisine and even help you take great photos of the experience so you can bring your memories home with you.

Our low-key approach is like having a friend with special expertise  traveling with you as you explore these spellbinding destinations. As a small group, you will have personalized attention and the level and type of activity that you prefer. No prerequisites to join this trip! Your desire to see and do things that most tourists never get to experience is all you need! Whether you are a novice or expert –photographer or wine lover — this trip is something special. (Don’t believe us, look at our client testimonials.)

Just sit back and enjoy the ride. We’ll help you navigate the beautiful landscape and ensure that you will see and experience things that only an insider could see and do.

For more information and a full itinerary, please visit our website at Bliss Travels (www.blisstravels.com)

What some of our most recent clients say:
” We really had a great trip, you made it all come together so nicely, picked a perfect hotel and a fantastic mix of restaurants.  You made all of the planning so easy and stress free.  The tours of the sites, gardens and museums was perfect … we feel that we really got to “know” Paris in just a few days. 
Thanks again … we look forward to planning a return trip with you…” (BB, Stamford Conn. June/July 2012)
“I had a super time and the whole adventure was a wonderful experience.  From the tours, site seeings and all the delicious food. I will always have great memories of my vacation in France. You made it all happen for me. Thank you very much for everything.” (WR, New Jersey June/July 2012)

 
We hope to see you soon!
Wendy Jaeger
Owner, Bliss Travels

 

In This Issue
October in Provence
Wines: Chateauneuf du Pape
Quick Links

The Wines of Chateauneuf du Pape
Chateauneuf du Pape has world renown red wines, full of flavor. Grenache is top grape here! Big wines! Not many people know that they also make truly excellent whites. The wines themselves are made from a selection of 13 grapes and each winemaker has his own combination. What a treat to try! Imagine visiting in fall just after harvest. The perched village with castle ruins surrounded by brilliant fall foliage, and the crisp fall air perfect for leisurely walks and sightseeing.  wendy@blisstravels.com
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per room on either Christmas Week in Paris or May trip to Provence if you book before September 1, 2012. Contact wendy@blisstravels. and put “$200, Early Booking” in your subject line.
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A Perfect Day in Provence with “Insider Access”

One of our favorite days…A lunch in a small village, following a private wine tasting, in a cave from the 1400’s. The meal is custom to the group and the company is amazing. It’s Bliss. The amazing photos were taken by Anthony Bianciella (he co leads our photography trips and chronicles our adventures).
Our group of 8 was welcomed to a candle lit room with music playing. We had 4 wines from the Cote du Rhone. This tasting focuses on Chateauneuf du Pape. Some focus on Provencal Roses. We design each one for the people who are attending.
From the Kitchen area of our chef
Her private work space!
A special meal was prepared for everyone. Some had a duck confit. Some had orange and fennel salad with a fish wrapped in parchment.Our fabulous host came to see us off!

Superb Wine Trips to Burgundy and Chateauneuf du Pape

Our current Grand Cru wine trip for September 2012 (on Lot18) has all but one room sold out.  I expect that one will sell in a matter of days.

So, due to popular demand, we are expanding our Fall Foliage in the Luberon to include an Ultimate Wine Experience:

LUBERON EXPERIENCE:
Fall Foliage in Provence 

(Ultimate Wine Tour too!)
October 18-23 in Provence 

 

Travel off the beaten track and see the real Provence. Experience things most tourists don’t have access to. The trip is led by the owner of Bliss Travels, who has 30 years experience in France, and the itinerary includes a personal pre trip consultation to customize the trips meals and daily activities to cater to the preferences of the travelers.
6 days and 5 night trip. Includes all lodging, pick up and drop off at the Avignon train station, daily sightseeing with private guide, 2 meals per day and wines, and private ground (van) transportation. $2,400 per person for all items in the below itinerary (not including the “Ultimate Wine Tour” below)

                      
Want more?

Have the Ultimate Wine Tour of the Cote du Rhone 
(6 night trip. 5 in Provence, 1 in Paris)
Paris (October 17-18) in a luxurious Left Bank boutique hotel with gourmet breakfast
a Michelin starred meal by one of Paris’ top chefs
a wine and chocolate pairing on the Left Bank
roundtrip hotel/train transfers in our Mercedes van
first class train travel to/from Provence (with a gourmet picnic and carefully chosen wines)
 an exclusive tasting and teaching session in the famed Chateauneuf du Pape
lunch in a castle
a walk through the vines of Chateauneuf du Pape
a multi course gastronomic meal with specially chosen Chateauneuf du Papes and Crozes Hermitage, and, last but not least
a private wine event and tasting of the best Cote du Rhones out there –which you get to help choose! All in the 1400 century cave/cellar, accompanied by a special meal prepared by the chef/owner.
This addition also includes all hotels, all sightseeing, all custom events, and everything in our regular October in Provence trip!
Price: $4,900 per person for all inclusive Paris and Provence travel and all wine events