Friday, August 29, 2014

Beer and Wine Producer Belgium

Picture: Belgian Beer in Antwerp

Recently, on a trip from Zeeland in Holland to Frankfurt in Germany, I had a beer in Antwerp in Belgium. I am not a beer drinker, but being in Belgium, I thought I should have a beer with my salty waffle. In fact, I let my daughter Katharina Schiller order the beer for me. What I got was beer with 8,5% alcohol, an alcohol level very typical for a sweet-style Kabinett or Spätlese from the Mosel Valley, which was not far away. And, as Katharina said, there are beers with much higher alcohol level, including in Belgium. And, finally, like neighbor Holland, Belgium is also an emerging wine producer: I could have had a Belgian wine!

Pictures: Antwerp

Beer Producer Belgium

The Belgians have been brewing beers since the Middle Ages. The country produces more than 450 different varieties of beer and has approximately 125 breweries.

Perhaps the most famous of all the Belgian beers is Lambic beer. This is made using an ancient style of brewing, which relies on spontaneous fermentation to produce a very dry and naturally gassy beer that improves with years in the bottle. Gueuze is a famous Lambic beer, produced by mixing a young Lambic beer with more mature vintages.

Trappist beers are ales brewed in a Trappist Monastery. The production process for this beer must be carried out, or supervised on site, by a Trappist monk to qualify for this category. At the moment, there are six monasteries in Belgium that meet this requirement. Brands include Chimay, Orval and Achel.

Pictures: Belgium

The other main types of beer produced and drunk in Belgium are:

(1) Lager type beers, known as dark (dubbel/double) beer, or even stronger versions, known as triple (tripel/triple) beer and

(2) White beers – witbier in Dutch and bière blanche in French. Well-known brands include Hoegaarden and Brugs Tarwebier

The Economist: As well as having a good claim to brew the best beer in the world, Belgium is also home to the world's biggest brewer. Anheuser-Busch (AB) InBev, based in Leuven, a small university town half an hour by train from Brussels, turns out one in five of every beer sold around the world. Belgium also makes a bigger range than any other—1,131 at the last count. Apart from six Trappist ales and other abbey beers, it churns out lagers such as Stella Artois and its stablemate Jupiler, the more popular brew in Belgium. Tipplers can also choose from an array of wheat beers, brown ales, red beers from West Flanders, golden ales, saison beers based on old farmhouse recipes, and any number of regional brews. Oddest are the austere, naturally fermented lambic beers of Brussels and the nearby Senne valley, a throwback to the days before yeast was tamed. These anachronisms have survived only in Belgium. The country generously shares its creations with the rest of the world. It is one of the biggest exporters of beer in absolute terms and as a proportion of national production (statistics boosted by the worldwide thirst for Stella Artois). More than half the booze it makes is sent abroad.

Picture: Antwerp is located on the river Scheldt, which is linked to the North Sea by the Westerschelde estuary. The city has one of the largest seaports in Europe.

Wine Producer Belgium

Belgium only recently began re-establishing a domestic wine industry. The Romans had established vineyards and made wine in Belgium 2000 years ago. However, this had come to end as a result of the colder climate in the 15th century. The recent climate change helped to restart winemaking in Belgium.

Modern winemaking in Belgium was initiated by Jean Bellefroid. During World War II, Bellefroid went to Moselle in Germany. There he worked in a vineyard and learned how to make good wine. He start his vineyard in 1963 in Borgloon.

There are now a number of vineyards, totaling about 200 hectares. Wine production occurs in both Wallonia and Flanders.

Pictures: The Cathedral of Antwerp with Paintings of Rubens

Belgium has five officially demarcated Appellations d'origine contrôlées (AOCs), four in Flanders and one in Wallonia, and two Vin de pays regions. AOC Hageland in Flemish Brabant close to Leuven was the first AOC, created in 1997. AOC Haspengouw (Hesbaye) followed in 2000, located in Limburg, close to the border with Netherlands, and home to Belgium's most famous and largest wine producer, Wijnkasteel Genoels-Elderen. AOC Heuvelland followed in 2005. There is also an AOC for sparkling wine from Flanders, Vlaamse mousserende kwaliteitswijn, created in 2005.

The first Wallonian AOC, Côtes de Sambre et Meuse, was created in 2004, and is situated between the rivers Sambre and Meuse, in the vicinity of Liège.

The two Vin de Pays (country wine) regions cover Flanders and Wallonia, respectively. The Flemish country wine is simply designated Vlaamse landwijn, while the Wallonian country wine carries the name Vin de pays des Jardins de Wallonie.

Around 90 percent of the production is white wines. Most of the grape varieties planted are the traditional vitis vinifera grape varieties (e.g. Riesling, Pinot Gris, Rivaner, Pinot Blanc, Auxerois, etc). French American hybride grape varieties that resist mildew diseases better and ripen quicker, but lack a bit the elegance of the traditional vitis vinifera grape varieties, are also planted. They are, however, much more popular in neighboring Holland.

Belgian wines are mainly sold to vineyard visitors or distributed in local shops and restaurants.

Picture: Katharina Schiller, Annette Schiller, Cornelia Schiller Tremann and Christian G.E. Schiller in Belgium

schiller-wine: Related Postings

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Emerging wine country: Russia --- After the break down of the Soviet Union, many important wine growing areas became foreign for Russia

Emerging Wine Country Serbia - Still in the early Stages after the Break-up of Yugoslavia 

New World Wine Producer South Africa

The Exciting Wines of the Czech Republic

Emerging Wine Country Poland: The Early Days of a Climate Change Gainer?

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Emerging Wine Giant China: Top Wine China 2014, Beijing, China

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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Schiller's Favorite Oyster Bars and Seafood Places in Seattle, Washington State, USA

Pictures: Pike Market in Seattle

I am not that frequently in Seattle, but from time to time I am. I already issued a posting about Schiller's Favorite Wine Bars in Seattle: Schiller’s Favorite Wine Bars in Seattle, USA

Here are my favorite oyster bars and other seafood places in Seattle. The list is a mixture of own experiences, recommendations by others and finds in the internet that I still have to check out.

Schiller's Favorite Oyster Bars and Seafood Places in Seattle

Taylor Shellfish on Melrose Market
1521 Melrose Ave. (Capitol Hill)

“We liken ourselves to a Shellfish Deli. Groceries to go, Oysters on the half shell in house. Tables a first come, first service. Happy hours on weekdays offer half shell oysters at a discount.


The Brooklyn
1212 2nd Avenue

The epitome of a classic, old-school steak and seafood house. The Brooklyn has stood the test of time attracting business folk from the financial district with its martinis, oyster happy hour and big ol' steaks and salmon filets. The Brooklyn wears its checkered floor and copper worn-torn bar as a badge of courage. If you’ve already got your tie on, and your seats are saved across the street at Benaroya Hall, The Brooklyn’s cheap drinks and snacks are on your radar.


Elliots Oyster Bar
1201 Alaskan Way Pier 56

One of the top oyster places in the USA, if not the best. The selection of oysters (2 to 3 dozens) is outstanding, with a focus on West Coast Oysters. Other top pics include king crabs, wild salmon and Dungeness crab cakes. Interesting wine list.
Elliott’s happy hour runs from 3pm-6pm every Monday-Friday. The best deal in the house are the freshly shucked oysters on the half-shell. The earlier you get to Elliott’s the better. That’s because it’s a ‘progressive’ oyster happy hour. Oysters are just $.75 apiece from 3pm-4pm, $1.25 each from 4pm-5pm, and then $1.75 each from 5pm-6pm.

Pictures: Elliott’s Oyster House in Seattle

Ivar’s Acres of Clams
1001 Alaskan Way Pier 54

Ivar’s Original Acres of Clams at Pier 54 has been a beloved Seattle tradition since 1938. The original recipie for its well known Clam Cowder was seveloped in 1938. Below average wine list.


Lowell
Pike Market

A Pike Market institution - rustic atmosphere overlooking the water. In the early 1900′s Lowell’s was a combination of coffee roaster, peanut roaster and cafeteria that served the citizens of the Seattle when they visited the Pike Market to purchase fresh farm produce, seafood and dairy goods. The “flagship” Manning’s Cafeteria, then became Lowell’s in 1957, and has remained so ever since. On the first and third floors, you order first with the cashier/barista and then find a view seat and your food will follow you shortly. Opens at 7:00 am.


Athenian
Pike Market

Pike Place Market insiders and tourists alike frequent this “funky” institution (which started as a bakery in 1909) for its “affordable”, “genuine taste” of “old blue-collar Seattle” American breakfasts and seafood, served by “colorful” staffers in an “unmatched” spot to “watch the market wake up”; there’s no dinner, but the second-floor booths have “wonderful views” of “ships and ferries coming and going” in Elliott Bay.


The Walrus and the Carpenter (Ballard)
4743 Ballard Avenue

Oyster chic and small plate stand-outs. No one had yet created as perfect a frame for Puget Sound bivalves as Renee Erickson (along with co-owners Jeremy Price and Chad Dale) has with The Walrus and the Carpenter, where the oysters are gathered by the bushel into icy wire baskets on the bar. Light and airy, with a hint of midcentury French industry, the Walrus is a raucous gathering place, a cocktail joint par excellence and a place to down local oysters like you’ve never done before.

Ray's Boathouse
6049 Seaview Ave NW (Ballard)

Famous German winemaker Ernst Loosen, Weingut Dr. Loosen, went there with his crew, the night before the 4th Riesling Rendezvous.


Schiller’s Favorites

This posting is part of the Schiller’s favorites series. Here is a full list of all Schiller’s favorites postings so far.

Schiller's Favorite Oyster Bars and Seafood Places in Seattle, USA

Schiller’s Favorite Wine Bars in Frankfurt am Main, Germany

Schiller s Favorite Winebars in Beijing, 2014, China

Schiller’s Favorite Tapas Bars in Logroño in La Rioja, Spain

Schiller's Favorite Seafood Places in Bordeaux City, France 

Schiller's Favorite Wine Bars in Bordeaux City, France

Schiller's Favorite Wine Bars in Berlin, Germany

Schiller’s Favorite Wine Bars in St. Emilion, France

Schiller’s Favorite Wine Bars in New York City, USA

Schiller’s Favorite Wine Bars in Seattle, USA

Schiller's Favorite Wine Bars in Washington DC, USA

Schiller’s Favorite Restaurants, Brasseries, Bistros, Cafes and Wine Bars in Paris, France

Schiller’s Favorite Crab Houses in the Washington DC Region, USA

Schiller’s Favorite Wine Bars in Frankfurt am Main, 2013, Germany

Schiller’s Favorite Wine Bars in New York City, USA

Schiller’s Favorite Wine Bars in Charleston, South Carolina, USA

Schiller’s Favorite Wine Bars in London, UK

Schiller's Favorite Wine Bars and Other Wine Spots in Vienna, Austria

Schiller’s Favorite Wine Bars in San Francisco, USA

Schiller's Favorite Wine Bars in Bordeaux (City) (2012), France

Schiller's Favorite Wine Bars in Budapest, Hungary

Schiller’s 12 Favorite Restaurants of Antananarivo, the Capital of Madagascar

Schiller's Favorite Apple Wine Taverns in Frankfurt am Main, Germany

Schiller’s Favorite Spots to Drink Wine in Vienna, Austria (2011)

Schiller’s Favorite Wine Taverns in Mainz, Germany

Schiller's Favorite Wine Bars and Other Places Where You Can Have a Glass of Wine in Healdsburg, California

schiller-wine - Related Postings (Wine)

The 4th Riesling Rendezvous in Seattle: Impressions from the Grand Tasting at Chateau Ste. Michelle in Woodinville, Washington State, USA

The World of Riesling in Seattle - Fourth Riesling Rendezvous in Washington State, USA

The German Winemakers at the Forthcoming 4. Riesling Rendezvous in Seattle, Washington State, USA

Visiting Long Shadows Vintners in Walla Walla, Washington State - Where Armin Diel’s Poet’s Leap Riesling is Made, USA

President Obama Serves a “German” Riesling at State Dinner for Chinese President Hu Jintao

The Wines of Hightower Cellars in Washington State, US

The Wines of Abeja, Washington State

The Excellent Wines of Ken Wright Cellars, Oregon

Meeting Joel Waite, Winemaker and Owner of CAVU Cellars in Walla Walla, Washington State

Visiting Winemaker Steven Sealock at Pacific Rim Winemakers in Washington State, USA

schiller-wine - Related Postings (Oysters)

Fine Wine and Fine Oysters in Madagascar: Oysters from Fort Dauphin and Wine from Clos Nomena

In the Glass: 2007 Rheinhessen with Oysters at the Ten Bells in the Lower East Side in Manhattan

New Hampshire, US: Cheese ... Lobster and Oysters ... and Wine!

Plateau des Fruits de Mer and a Pessac-Leognan Wine in Bordeaux City, France

Oysters and Wine

The Best Wines for US West Coast and Other Oysters

West Coast Oysters and Wine with Jon Rowley in Seattle, USA

Maryland Crabs and Wine, USA

Wine and Crab Cakes: Amy Brandwein from Casa Nonna and Chris Clime from PassionFish win the 6th Annual Crab Cake Competition in Washington DC, USA

In the Glass: A Rust en Vrede 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon With South African Oysters in Stellenbosch

A Plateau des Fruits de Mer and a Pessac-Leognan Wine in Bordeaux City, France

Schiller's World of Seafood

In the Glass: A Rust en Vrede 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon with South African Oysters in Stellenbosch

Oysters - and Wine - at Zuni Café in San Francisco, USA

The 2012 Pacific Coast Oyster Wine Competition - 10 Oyster Wines

Tasting Virginia Chesapeake Bay Oysters with Oyster Producer Travis Craxton at the Rappahannock River, USA

Rappahannock Oyster Bar at Union Station – Virginia Oysters in Washington DC, USA

America's Best Oyster Bars (2013)

Visiting an Oyster Farm at Arcachon Bay, Bordeaux: Raphael Doerfler at Earl Ostrea Chanca, France

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Wijnhoeve De Kleine Schorre - Making Fine Wine in The Netherlands

Picture:  Christian G.E. Schiller and Johan van der Velde at Wijnhoeve De Kleine Schorre in The Netherlands

My interest in The Netherlands got a boost recently when my daughter Katharina accepted a position as junior researcher at the University of Wageningen. I started to do some research on winemaking in The Netherlands and visited one of the best winemakers of the Netherlands, Wijnhove De Kleine Schorre in Dreischor, Schouwen-Duiveland.

Against this background, I issued a posting on: Emerging Wine Producer The Netherlands This posting is more narrowly focused, covering my visit of Wijnhove De Kleine Schorre in Dreischor, Schouwen-Duiveland.

Emerging Wine Producer The Netherlands

The Dutch climate is cool and damp, which is not conducive for producing premium-wines. Yet, over the past twenty years, Dutch viticulture has boomed, with farmers planting vineyards at a growing rate. The 2 main contributing factors are: The European climate's rewarming to Roman-era temperatures of 2,000 years ago and the development of new, colder climate-resistant hybrid grape cultivars. Still, now exceeding 200 hectares, Dutch wine production is negligible by international standards. In neighboring Germany, for example, the vineyard area totals 100.000 hectares.

Pictures: Windmills Everywhere

The Dutch wine industry was kick-started by the development of new hybrid cultivars. “These new varieties resist mildew diseases better, their grapes ripen quicker, they are more adapted to the Dutch climate,” says winemaker Job Huisman. In addition, mainly in the southern parts of the Netherlands, in particular in the Limburg area, winegrowers still cultivate the traditional vitis vinifera grape varieties (e.g. Riesling, Pinot Gris, Rivaner). Wijnhove De Kleine Schorre in Dreischor, Schouwen-Duiveland, is one of them.

Pictures: The Netherlands

Snooth on Dutch Wine: The climate in The Netherlands, or Holland, is too cool and damp to produce quality wine. However the Dutch have been very active in the European wine market through the centuries, with their geographic location perfectly positioned as a prime merchant port for German and French wines. In addition, the Dutch have heavily influenced the production of South African wines. The Dutch settled there in the 17th century and established many wineries throughout the country, and also the Koöperatieve Wijnbouwers Vereniging van Zuid-Afrika Bpkt (KWV) in 1918. First developed as massive wine cooperative, this became the regulating force in the South African Wine industry. But while wine is not a big Dutch export, the Netherlands is known for gin….

Wijnhoeve De Kleine Schorre

Wijnhoeve De Kleine Schorre was established in 2001, in the province of Zeeland, in the south-west of the Netherlands. The De Kleine Schorre vineyard is located in Dreischor, a traditional Zeeland circular village, on the island of Schouwen-Duivenland. It is one of the oldest farms in Dreischor, having an original black-tarred barn dating back to 1735. Wijnhoeve De Kleine Schorre is run and co-owned by Johan van der Velde.

Picture: The island of Schouwen-Duivenland

Johan’s father made his income by producing potatoes. When Johan took over from his father, potato growing business was bad and he looked for something else. Unusually, he decided to go the winemaking route. As a first step, he worked for 3 years in a family winery in Luxembourg to learn the art of growing grapes and making wine.

Pictures:Wijnhoeve De Kleine Schorre

In terms of financing the winery, he went the route of acquiring equity capital. In addition to him, there are 5 investors from Zeeland in the winery. Apart from 5 shareholders, there are also 25 certificate holders involved in the winery.

Picture: Wijnhoeve De Kleine Schorre

In terms of grape varieties, he planted noble vitis vinifera grapes (and not the new, colder climate-resistant hybrid grapes) – all white varieties that he had worked with in Luxembourg (Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc, Rivaner and Auxerrois).

The first harvest was in 2004. “We produced 200 bottles and the quality was poor”, said Johan. But from there on the way was only upwards. In the following year, production increased to 15 000 bottles and in 2006, KLM, the Dutch Airline, ordered 25 000 bottles for its business class flights. Today, production is 70.000 bottles. At that level, Wijnhoeve De Kleine Schorre has become one of the largest wineries in the Netherlands. There are perhaps a dozen other wineries in the Netherlands at the same size. Most of the production is sold at the winery. “We sell out before the new vintage becomes available” says Johan.

Pictures: In the Winecellar with Johan van der Velde

In terms of quality, “most of the Dutch Michelin-starred restaurants have our wine on their menu”, says Johan. “Our wine goes very well with the fish, the oysters and the mussels that you find in our region.”

The vineyards of Wijnhoeve De Kleine Schorre are around the winery and total 10 hectares now. Johan took us on a tour of the vineyard. “We have 200 days of sunshine. The soil is very loamy and chalky due to the mussel shells and 5 meters below the sea-level.” At harvest time, volunteers are recruited to pick the grapes. “Currently, we have a list of 260 volunteers, who want to help at the harvest. But we need only about 30 helpers.”

Pictures: In the Vineyard with Johan van der Velde

The Portfolio

Pictures:  Wijnhoeve De Kleine Schorre Portfolio

Schouwen-D®uiveland Rivaner 2013 Euro 11.50
Winemaker comment: A particularly fresh wine with voluptuous fruit tones, such as lychee, peach and pear; a slightly sparkling touch completes this wine.

Schouwen-D®uiveland Auxerrois 2013 Euro 11.95
Winemaker comment: Vibrant, fresh with modest shades of apple, citrus and fragrant peach and pear.

Schouwen-D®uiveland Blanc 2013 Euro 12.50
Winemaker comment: Pinot Blanc is a fresh and fruity wine, which is mellow and round. It is wine which is suitable for all occasions. Great as an aperitif, but has enough body and structure to suit all sorts of fish and seafood dishes. Par excellence, it is a wine which goes very well with mussels. Most suitable to be drunk young. Delectable with mussels.

Schouwen-D®uiveland Gris 2013 Euro 13.95
Winemaker comment: Has a complex nose with smoky overtones whilst its acidity allows it to age beautifully. Luscious with lobster and oysters.

Schouwen-D®uiveland Barrique 2012 Euro 17.95
Winemaker comment: Intense aromas of honey, vanilla, toast surround this wine; a full-bodied wine with a finish to match.

Schouwen-D®uiveland Gris 2009 Magnum Euro 49.50

Schouwen-D®uiveland Brut de Zélande Euro 24.50
Winemaker comment: Lovely fresh aromas and an exceptionally fine sparkle, green apple bouquet with a spicy finish.

Wijnhoeve De Kleine Schorre

Zuiddijk 4
4315 PA Dreischor
Telephone: +31 (0)111 401550
Fax: +31 (0)111 401946
Mobile: +31 (0)6 1344 6326

schiller-wine: Related Postings

Beer and Wine Producer Belgium

Emerging Wine Producer The Netherlands

The Wines of Madagascar

Champagne in Russia

Emerging wine country: Russia --- After the break down of the Soviet Union, many important wine growing areas became foreign for Russia

Emerging Wine Country Serbia - Still in the early Stages after the Break-up of Yugoslavia 

New World Wine Producer South Africa

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Emerging Wine Country Poland: The Early Days of a Climate Change Gainer?

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Emerging Wine Giant China: Top Wine China 2014, Beijing, China

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The Size and the Structure of the German Wine Industry

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Friday, August 22, 2014

The 10 Winners of the 2014 Pacific Coast Oyster Wine Competition, USA

Picture: Christian G.E. Schiller with Oyster Guru Jon Rowley in Seattle tasting oysters and oyster wines: West Coast Oysters and Wine with Jon Rowley in Seattle, USA

The 10 winners of the 2014 Pacific Coast Oyster Wine Competition were announced. The Pacific Coast Oyster Wine Competition is an annual event, now in its 20th year, orchestrated by Seattle-based Oyster Guru Jon Rowley and sponsored by Tayler Shellfish Farms.

Panels of top food and wine experts convened on April 8 at the WaterGrill in Los Angeles, April 9 at the San Francisco Marriott Marquis and April 10 at Anthony's Homeport at Shilshole Bay in Seattle to select the 10 best West Coast wines to go with oysters on the half shell as the culmination of the month-long, three-tiered 20th annual Pacific Coast Oyster Wine Competition. "Not many wines go with oysters", says Rowley, "but when one does, bingo!...it's a beautiful thing.”

Picture: Chateau Ste. Michelle, Washington State - One of this Year's Winners

Historically, the benchmark wines for oysters were French Muscadet and Chablis. The idea behind the Competition is to identify West Coast wines with similar oyster-friendly characteristics. West Coast wineries were invited to submit the crisp, clean-finishing white wines that best complement oysters on the half shell. California fielded 59 entries, Washington had 49 and Oregon 15.

Picture: Taylor Shellfish on Melrose Market, 1521 Melrose Ave. (Capitol Hill), in Seattle

See for more:
Schiller’s Favorite Wine Bars in Seattle, USA

Jon Rawley explained to me how the contest works when I met him some time ago in Seattle: “We're not judging the wines on their own merits, but on how the wine's flavor goes with oysters. The ideal oyster wine is crisp, clean, and gets out of the way to let the taste of the next oyster to come through. The wines come in batches of five labeled A-T, swaddled in shiny mylar bags to protect their identity. You thoughtfully eat an oyster, chewing carefully, then take a sip of the wine and see how the two jive. Like speed dating, you go with your first impression, take notes on the comment sheet if you like, give the wine a score, and move on. At the end, you rank your top 10 wines and the amalgamated scores from the three cities lead to the winners.”

For previous Pacific Coast Oyster Wine Competitions, see:
The 10 Winners of the 2014 Pacific Coast Oyster Wine Competition, USA
The 10 Winners of the 2013 Pacific Coast Oyster Wine Competition, USA
The 2012 Pacific Coast Oyster Wine Competition - 10 Oyster Wines
The Best Wines for US West Coast and Other Oysters 

The 10 Winners of the 2014 Pacific Coast Oyster Wine Competition

Listed alphabetically:
*Acrobat 2012 Pinot Gris (OR)
**Chateau Ste. Michelle 2013 Sauvignon Blanc (WA)
**Foris 2012 Pinot Blanc (OR)
**Geyser Peak Winery 2013 Sauvignon Blanc (CA)
**Kenwood 2012 Pinot Gris (CA)
**Kenwood 2013 Sauvignon Blanc (CA)
Lost River 2013 Pinot Gris (WA)
Revolution Wines 2013 Chenin Blanc (CA)
Sebastiani 2013 Sauvignon Blanc (CA)
**Van Duzer 2013 Pinot Gris (OR)

*Prior Oyster Award **Multiple Prior Oyster Awards

4 Types of Oysters

The judges consumed about 1200 Kumamoto oysters. The Kumamoto belongs to the family of Pacific oysters. In fact, it is one of the most famous Pacific oysters. But oysters are found all over the world. I recently had delicious oysters in South Africa and Madagascar, which are typically not on the radar of the mainstream oyster eater.

I distinguish 4 types of oysters:

The Pacific

Originally from Japan, the Pacific or Japanese oyster is the most widely cultured oyster in the world. It accounts for 75% of world production. In France, it has crowded out the Belon and now accounts for 99% of oyster production there. Gone are the days of the Belon in Paris. The Pacific oysters are marketed under a variety of names, often denoting their growing area. The Kumamoto is one of the most famous Pacific oysters. I tend to think of a Pacific oyster as a creamy oyster, with a mineral note.

Picture: Christian G.E. Schiller and Raphael Doerfler (Earl Ostrea Chanca, Cabane 22, 54 allee du Grand piquey, 33950 Lege Cap-Ferret), an Oyster Farmer at Arcachon Bay, Bordeaux, France

See also:
Visiting an Oyster Farm at Arcachon Bay, Bordeaux: Raphael Doerfler at Earl Ostrea Chanca, France 

The Olympia

The Olympia is a very small oyster seldom exceeding 2 inches. For comparison, in Massachusetts, oysters must be a minimum of 3 inches to be sold. Olympia is a native American oyster, which once flourished on the West Coast, before the Pacific took over. Olympias are hard to find today as they grow very slowly and are difficult to transport. They hold very little liquid and dry out quickly. The Olympia has a very full flavor with a distinct aftertaste.

The Atlantic

Another American native, there are many varieties of Atlantic oysters, such as the Malpeque from Prince Edward Island in Canada and the Blue Point from Long Island in New York State. Bluepoints were originally named for Blue Point, Long Island but now the term is generally applied to any Atlantic oyster two four inches long. These two are now the most common restaurant oysters in the US. Also called Eastern oyster, the Atlantic has a thick, elongated shell that ranges from 2 to 5 inches across. It's found along the Atlantic seaboard and the Gulf of Mexico in the US.

Pictures: Christian G.E. Schiller with Owner Travis Croxton and Farm Manager Patrick Oliver at the Rappahannock River, USA

See also:
Tasting Virginia Chesapeake Bay Oysters with Oyster Producer Travis Craxton at the Rappahannock River, USA
Rappahannock Oyster Bar at Union Station – Virginia Oysters in Washington DC, USA

The Belon

The Belon, or European Flat, is Europe’s native oyster. The Belons are round and shallow. That’s why they are called Flats. They are also not very liquid and dry out fast. They have a long history. They used to grow in Brittany, Normandy, England, Spain, Holland, Greece and the Black See. But a disease is wiping them out worldwide. The Flats from the Belon river in Brittany were at some point the connoisseur’s top choice and the name was soon adopted by all oyster growers, a bit like the Blue Points from Long Island. The Belon oyster grows in limited quantity in Maine on the rocks of the Damariscotta river bed.

For more on the different kinds of oysters, see:
Oysters and Wine

Wine that Goes with Oysters

Not every wine goes with oysters - a vibrant combination of minerals, sweetness and the sea. In general, first, I always try to go local. Second, the best oyster wines are dry, crisp, clean-finishing white wines, both sparkling and still. I avoid red wines and the sweeter style German Rieslings, although in South Africa I had a Cabernet Sauvignon with my oysters on the half shell, as suggested.

Jon Rowley

The 2014 Pacific Coast Oyster Wine Competition was orchestrated by Jon Rowley again. Jon is a fascinating and entertaining man. I enjoyed very much an afternoon with him and my wife Annette in the summer of 2011 in Seattle. I felt very honored to spend time with a man who was inducted into the prestigious “Who’s Who of Cooking in America” in 1987.

Before my trip to the US West Coast, I had not heard much about Jon Rowley. But in preparing for the trip, I quickly learned that Jon had a major impact on the flavor and quality of fish, shellfish, fruits and vegetables that are served in the North-West of the US. All his life, he has fought to get better-quality food on the tables of restaurants and households in this part of the world.

"I am fascinated by oysters" Jon said over lunch. “Today's availability of oysters was unimaginable here say 25 years ago. Almost no oysters were served on their own half shells in Seattle. Instead, oysters were eaten in cocktails, shucked and swathed in red sauce laced with so much horseradish that any tang of the sea was largely conjectural”. This has changed completely as I could witness at Elliot’s Oyster House, partly thanks to Jon’s efforts. He has organized restaurant oyster programs and promotions.

See more:
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Thursday, August 21, 2014

Juvéniles in Paris: Legend Tim Johnston Pulls Back and Daughter Margaux Moves In, France

Picture: Margaux and Tim Johnston, and Christian G.E.Schiller, in 2014 and 2013.

One of the best wine bars on the contemporary Parisian wine scene is Juvéniles, a cosy wine bar cum wine shop.

Juvéniles - in the 1st Arrondissement on the Left Bank, at 47 rue de Richelieu, very close to Palais Royal, the Louvre and the Grands Boulevards further north - has been a cult winebar/bistro for 2 decades, at least for the Paris expatriate community, run and owned by Tim Johnston from Scotland. Tim Johnston is a highly likable wine-loving bon vivant. It is fun to talk with him. And, of course, he speaks not only French but also English. He was now handed over to his charming daughter Margaux.

As a result, the interior has not changed a bit, the wine list has remained as interesting as under Tim, but the food has been pushed to a new level by the new chef, Romain Roudeau.

Picture: Juvéniles

Tim Johnston reacting to the above (which I had posted on facebook): Strictly speaking, I still have not "handed over"- I still look after the wine side, which has always been of utmost importance in Juveniles. However, I am delighted to have Margaux and Romain with me and Romain has achieved wonders in the six months he's been cooking at Juves. The interior has in fact changed with Margaux taking down all the "purple "labels (done by her & her sister, Caroline) and giving a coat of fresh paint!

Regardless, a new area has begun at Juvéniles.

See:
A Cult Paris Wine Bar - Juveniles

Juvéniles

Juvéniles was started by a Scot and a Brit a a number of years ago, Tim Johnston and Mark Williamson. Tim Johnston worked at Mark Williamson's (the Brit) Willis' Wine Bar from 1981. They created a wine dealership under the name of Great Grape Traders in 1984.

In 1987, they opened the Juvéniles shop, selling wine and serving some tapas with wine. Juveniles became an outlet for off the beaten track wines that they would dig up from all over France.

In 1998, the two long-time associates separated and Tim took the wheel on Juvéniles and Great Grape Traders. By that time, Juveniles had asserted itself on the Paris wine bar scene and began sourcing wines from further away. In the early 1990s, Tim made two trips to Australia and started to import wine from there. Juveniles became, with Willis' Wine Bar, the only place in Paris at the time to sell Australian wines, causing quite a stir.

Pictures: Toilette of  Juvéniles with my Business Card

Today, Juvéniles remains a 'cult' Parisian wine bar and a fabled pit stop on the international wine bar circuit. Not only does it offer a wonderful selection of both French and other Old World, but also New World wines; and it maintains an excellent kitchen, which recently got a boost, with Tim’s daughter Margaux taking over the service and her boyfriend Romain Roudeau taking over the kitchen.

Pictures: Juvéniles: Now and Before - Has it Changed?

The Wines

Last time, when I was there, Juveniles offered about 2 dozen wines by the glass, including a sparkler from Australia, but overall surprisingly little New World wines; the list is basically comprised of off-the-beaten track Old World wines. One thing to note is that since 1990 Tim doesn't sell any reds from Bordeaux or from Burgundy any more. He likes the Rhone wines, dating back from the time he was living in Aix en Provence, before working at Willis.

Juvéniles is also a wine shop where you can choose among about 60 different wines and pay to go as you would do in your usual wine shop. The wines on the shelves have both prices displayed, the one to go, and the one to drink on the spot.

The Food

The food was always excellent, but got another boost with Chef Romain Roudeau taking over the kitchen.

Nick Lander earlier this year in the Financial Times: The welcome and wines at Juvéniles have been under the care of Tim Johnston, a Scotsman, for the past 27 years but he has now passed on responsibility to Margaux, his 25-year-old daughter. I have rarely seen someone so happy in this role. She is obviously devoted to the family business and she is also now in love with Juvéniles’ 26-year-old chef, Romain Roudeau, whom she met while part of the team at the renowned bistro La Régalade, in the 14th. Roudeau has made the tiny kitchen behind the bar his own and although he has kept certain dishes from the previous menu, notably the Macsween haggis and a couple of English cheeses, he has composed an intriguing, great-value menu. Our first courses of green asparagus soup and a duck consommé with burnt onions gave an inkling of the excitement to follow, but it was the manner in which our main courses were served that was really impressive. Far too many French chefs consider vegetables to be a second-class ingredient, but not Roudeau. Here came leeks and rocket with poached chicken breast; peas and broad beans with duck breast; and carrots and turnips with tenderly cooked beef cheeks. His desserts are just as good and the €28.50 three-course dinner menu is a steal.

Juvéniles
47 rue de Richelieu
75001 Paris
Metro Palais Royal (line 1 & 7)
phone 01 42 97 46 49
juvenileswinebar@gmail.com
www.juvenileswinebar.com

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