Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Understanding the Crus of Beaujolais.

This article was first seen on

Beaujolais is that light easy to drink wine made from the Gamay grape variety in the Burgundy region of France. On the label you can expect to see 5 different types of Beaujolais. If on the label you see just the single word Beaujolais you are purchasing the most basic wine type. If it says Beaujolais Supérieur it is still the most basic wine it has just reached a higher degree of alcohol so it will have a superior affect on your motor functions. If the label says Beaujolais-Villages the wine is blend from 38 villages in the area that make a higher quality wine. Then there is Beaujolais Nouveaux, this wine is released on the third Thursday of November which is only weeks after the grapes have even been picked. Beaujolais Nouveaux is like a preview of the vintage, and it is meant to be consumed within 6 months of it's November release date. Then at the top of the pyramid you have the 10 Beaujolais Crus. Each Cru is meant to show distinct characteristics, almost like how Actors' personalities are distinct. Here is my comparison of the 10 Beaujolais Crus with some modern day famous faces, to help make this wine region as easy to digest as the actual wine is. 

We will start with the most Northern Cru of the region St. Amour. This Cru reminds me of Ellen Degeneres as it is the lightest, and let's face it Ellen's sense of humour always lightens the mood. The Cru is in the transition area where Beaujolais turns into the Maçonnais (which is another one of Burgundies regions), just like Ellen made the transition from acting to hosting. The wine displays aromas of spiced berries, and has a distinct mineral flavour, making it great with Lamb.

Heading South to the Juliénas Cru. This Cru reminds me of Cate Blanchett  as no other Cru holds themselves to a higher overall standard. The region was named after the strong leader Julius Caesar, and Cate's breakthrough role was as another strong leader Elizabeth. The wine is spicier, and fleshier with a backbone that will keep it going over the years and is a great match for anything straight off the BBQ. 

Next up is the Chénas Cru, that can be compared to Leonardo Dicaprio, as Chénas keeps losing land to the top Cru Moulin-å-Vent just like Leo keeps missing his Oscar win despite numerous nominations. The wine may be losing land but the quality level is undeniable just like Leo's skills. The wine has earthy and floral aromas and has one of the longest lives of the Beaujolais Crus. It can be a great match for Chicken done in a cream and mushroom sauce. 

As I mentioned the Moulin-å-Vent Cru is at the top of the pack, so it seems pretty obvious to compare it to Meryl Streep as she is seen as the best. This wine is the most concentrated and flavourful of all the crus, with that much flavour this wine is strong enough to stand up to a grilled steak. 

Then comes Fleurie, the Cru that epitomizes the belief that Beaujolais is a joy to swallow. And let's face it Jennifer Lawrence is one of those people that is a joy to watch on screen or in a interview. She is so likeable, just like a Fleurie. The wine is silky and strong, and with great berry flavour. Match up the silky texture with a Paté or terrine. 

After Fleurie comes the prettiest of of the Crus, Chiroubles, both in wine style and in the aesthetics of the village. When I think of pretty actors there are so many that come to mind, it is sort of a prerequisite to the profession. But for this to work I need to pick just one so I'd have to agree with Ellen and say Jared Leto with those big blue eyes really is the prettiest just like Chiroubles. The wine displays floral and fresh red berry notes, that entice and seduce and can be a great accompaniment to Asian Cuisine

Morgon is the densest of the Crus which means it is the thickest and most full bodied, but when the term is used to describe a person it means someone of lesser intelligence. However, I do not wish to make a dig at someone even if it is a famous movie star. I want to compare Morgon to Mathew Mcconaughey not because I think he is dense but because Morgon is a fleshy juicy wine, and even when Matthew is wearing a shirt it seems like he isn't. There is just something fleshy about him. The wine ages distinctly and consistently much like Matthew's acting career. The wine has juicy dark cherry flavours to match it's fleshy texture, which goes great with Duck. 

Régnié is the new Cru on the block since it was only bumped up from Beaujolais-Villages level to Cru status in 1988. While most of the others received their Cru status in 1936. You can draw a similarity between newcomer stand out star from 12 Years A Slave Lupita Nyongo. They may be new but the talent is obvious. The wines are soft and forward with redcurrant and raspberry notes perfect with a Swordfish steak.

Coming into the Southern end of the Beaujolais Crus you have Brouilly . It is the largest Cru at 1200ha and therefore it seems only right to compare it to one of the biggest movie starts out there Brad Pitt. The wines from here have notes of blueberries and cherries. Try matching Brouilly with a Chacuterie plate

Finally within the Brouilly area is the Côte de Brouilly Cru. Surrounded by Brouilly vineyards the two must co-exist. Côte de Brouilly wines tend to be more elegant, and floral, the female counterpart to Brouilly. So obvious we compare Côte de Brouilly to Angelina Jolie if Brouilly is Brad Pitt. Pair it with soft cheeses like Camembert or Brie.

You can even take these pairing ideas one step further and match the Cru with the food then add a movie from the compared Actor for a great Friday evening. Happy sipping.

Kayra Tilsim Çalkarasi-Shiraz 2012 - Natalie MacLean

Kayra Tilsim Çalkarasi-Shiraz 2012 - Natalie MacLean

You can taste Spring in this Rosé

Friday, April 18, 2014

Beach, Bacon, and Booze Visiting Ölüdeniz, Turkey

This piece first appeared on Check it out for all things food and travel related.

So you've been travelling through Turkey for a few weeks now. Perhaps you've been educated by the lengthy role this country has played in history. Maybe you've been rendered speechless by the natural wonders. Definitely you've put on a few pounds, having indulged in all the great Turkish specialities. But maybe, just maybe you would give anything for a slice or two of bacon with your kahvalti (breakfast). If you are looking for a little slice of the Western world in this unique foreign country, the beach town of Ölüdeniz is perfect for the homesick Traveler. Most of the signs are in English in this small village in the Fethiye district. Tiki bars line the streets offering a variety of nightly specials like my personal favourite 2 for 1 Margaritas. Then there's the bacon. Not only does just about every brunch joint serve a traditional English breakfast but Ölüdeniz has it's own Porky's, so you can stock up on Pork products if you so desire. 

Once your bacon craving has been satisfied, it's easy to see why Westerners, and Turks alike flock here in the summer months. The beach called Belcegiz pronounced Beljehiz is where the Aegan meets the Mediterranean. The water is clear, warm, and a celeste turquoise blue. The sand is soft and white except for at the water's edge. Here there is a metre wide bench of stones, that add a great percussion to the crashing of the waves, but are not so kind to sensitive feet. I recommend water shoes, especially if you have kids with you. Access to the beach is free but there is a $5TL fee if you want the comfort of a beach chair or umbrella. 
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The beach couldn't be more relaxing, but if adrenaline pumping is more your style, paragliding off Mount Babadag will surely do the trick. The elevation is almost 2,000 metres, thats 6,400 feet up. It takes about 50 minutes to get to the top and another 50 to paraglide down, while you enjoy a view fit for the gods. Prices start at around $250TL which is about $120 US. You want to check for two things before booking with a company; 1 they offer insurance and 2 you are going to the very top of Babadag. Some companies only go halfway up which means you end up flying for only 10-15 minutes often for the same price as the 50 minute adventure. 
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Some other great activities available in the area include; day long boat trips that provide lunch, great views of the coast and the best swimming spots. Hiking the Lycian way. Rock climbing. Or try out a rejuvenating full body clay mask. Inline image 1

Vignamaggio Terre Di Prenzano Chianti Classico 2010 - Natalie MacLean

Vignamaggio Terre Di Prenzano Chianti Classico 2010 - Natalie MacLean

Have you seen the show DaVinci's Demons? That show with this wine that comes from the home of Mona Lisa is a great historical match.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Faust Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 - Natalie MacLean

Faust Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 - Natalie MacLean

Goethe's Faust may have been a tragedy but the only weeping you will be doing after drinking this wine will be in gratitude.