A Frost in Burgundy: Am I Out There With the Heaters?

This month I met with a local winemaker, Susan Danenburger of Danenburger Family Vineyards. She told me a story of a cold spring season that drew her (and everyone she knows) into the vines with fires, heaters, blankets, warm water…anything that would protect the baby vines from frost damage. This technique is practical, time honored…

A Flâneur Through Beaune

I “met” Cindy from Grape Experiences virtually, though in fact we were in the same event at Public Chicago when Vins de Provence took over The Pump Room in February for their 2015 tasting. We didn’t realize it, until later, that we’d likely brushed past one another with a glass of rosé in hand. Always one for…

A Taste of Burgundy with a Grand Cru Finish

Last night my husband and I had the opportunity to attend an outstanding Burgundy tasting offered by my local shop, The Corkscrew. Sean O’Hare from Fine Vines in Chicago was our guest for the evening as he presented an impressive lineup of wines paired with courses prepared by Chef Coffey at American Harvest Eatery. A…

Sustainable Wines for Earth Day

April 22, 2016 is Earth Day. Ask any winegrower the number one ‘ingredient’ in their wine and they’ll answer: terroir. The land. The Earth. This post is a round up of some of the recent sustainable and biodynamic (biodynamique in French) wines that I’ve highlighted on L’occasion. (And one recommendation for the beer lovers.) Profile…

Five Things I Learned about Loire Wines from a Bottle of Rosé

It’s a common travel fantasy: visit the Loire Valley (maybe on some sexy-fat-tire-bike), sip white wine, ogle the châteaux, ogle sunflowers, relax like royalty. If you bring a date, even better: ogle them too. Let’s bust up that vision a bit, shall we? I’m not arguing with tradition. I just want to snoop around a bit….

Monaco: Passport to Pleasure

Before a trip, people often ask, ” Are you traveling for business or pleasure?”. If your business is pleasure, you go to Monaco. My recent trip to Monaco was a Monte Carlo stop on a short road trip from the Alpilles region in Provence for a weekend in the Italian Riviera (also, highly pleasurable). The…

Welcome Spring with Fresh Food & Le Ferme Du Mont Côtes du Rhône

“Do not search in a wine for the reflection of an exact science. The formulas of scientific oenology are only a thin competition which does not know how to respect the mysteries of eternal creation.”  ~The late Jacques Perrin, Château Beaucastel, Châteauneuf-du-Pape Eternal creation. The mysteries of eternal creation… is there anything more beautiful? The…

Spring Meal Pairings for Southern Rhône Wines: #winePW

  {Spring Meal Pairings for Southern Rhône Wines} Saturday April 9, 2016 at 11 a.m. Eastern/10 a.m. Central Join in on twitter with #winePW The Rhône Valley of France is a diverse and fascinating wine region; for this #winePW, we’ll focus on the wines and winemakers of the Southern Rhône. As many parts of the…

Provence WineZine: Vins de Provence Annual Competition

Emmanuelle Baude of Domaine Tour Campanets was a Gold Winner for their Bois des Fées cuvee. Photo credit: W.T. Manfull of Provence WineZine.   The Vins de Provence annual tasting competition took place on Thursday, March 31, 2016 at the Maison des Vins Côtes de Provence in Les Arcs sur Argens in the Var Department. …

{L’occasion: Passport} New Wine Travel Column

It’s no secret that wine country travel can be the most luxurious, accommodating and interesting on the planet. I’ve stayed at incredible hotels and inns, dined at outstanding restaurants and witnessed (like, Amen) the most astounding natural beauty a person could hope see before they die. And I don’t plan on stopping! I’ve also driven…

A Night In: Celebrate Puglia at Home

When I was a kid, I heard Italy referred to as the country that “looks like a boot”. This description gave me a feeling that Italy was the sort of place that would be instantly recognized, if not from it’s map-friendly shape then from the taste of the food, the feel of the wind, the cut…

Visit French Wine

Atout France, the French tourism development organization, has rolled out a gorgeous new website that promises to be a place where “wine regions reveal their secrets”. The site is reasonably named Visit French Wine. The website allows visitors to slip into each wine area separately through regionally-based menus and an interactive map. Travelers may also input…

Light + Fresh with Muscadet

Last year I visited the famous Carrières de Lumières in Les Baux-de-Provence. The featured show was a magnificent display of Renaissance artists, bigger than life and astoundingly vibrant. After the main spectacle, Voyage Imaginaire: Hommage à Jules Verne, a short and fantastic depiction of the work of Jules Vern, closed down the exhibit for the evening. For those powerful moments…

The Wines of Ireland

I’ve recently dug out some old artifacts from my trips to Ireland. My husband and I have been to the Emerald Isle a handful of times since our original trip, our honeymoon 15 years ago. The first-married weeks we spent there — landing in the southern part of the island, driving our way through B&Bs and…

Wines of Baux-de-Provence to Enjoy with Steak Frites

This month we celebrate Wine Pairing Weekend (#wineWP) with a declaration of our indulgence on Open That Bottle Night (#OTBN), an evening set aside to encourage wine lovers to pop open a bottle that’s been considered “too special” to drink on a regular night. The founders of Open That Bottle Night are Dorothy J. Gaiter…