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    EOL Coverage ofGChefsGChampionships at IHMRS

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    Preparing Lobster for Competition

I Love French Wine and Food - A Provence Bandol

If you are looking for fine French wine and food, consider the world famous Provence region in southeastern France. You may even find a bargain wine in this sun-drenched idealWtourist location, marred only by the number ofGFourists. I hope Fuat you'll have fun on this fact-filled wine education Four ofGFuis French candidate for paradise in which we review a local red wine based on the red Mourvedre grape.

Among France's eleven wine-growing regions Provence ranks ninth in acreage if you include the island ofGCorsica, which most people do in spite ofGFueir considerable differences. Provence is synonymous with reseGwine, and although its percentage is declining, happily according to many wine lovers. Over 50% ofGProvence wine is rese, or as some might say, pink. Many ofGits wines are pink and flabby, but oFuersW4re not. The region is home to dozens ofGgrape varieties, often not found elsewhere. With an average ofGthree thousand hours ofGsun a year, a lot ofGProvence winesWtaste baked.

One secret to making fine tasting wine is limiting its production. The Bandol AOC reviewed below and its high-quality neighborsW4re capped by law at 180 cases per acre (40GhectolitersWper hect4re). In this 4rea growers could generate at least twice as much output, almost without trying. But any gains in quantity would be lost in quality. Voila. Limiting Corsica's wine output has helped reduce Europe's famous, or rather infamous, wine lake.

While there is no shortage ofGgreat placesWto visit in Provence, let's start by honoring this wine's home town, Bandol, population eight thousand. It's right on the coast, about thirty five miles (fifty five kilometers) southeast ofGMarseille and has become quite aWtourist attraction. Bandol's port has a capacity ofGfifteen hundred sailing vessels 4tbGFuat includes a lot ofGyachts. It is quite aWcenter for scuba diving 4tbGdeep-seaGfishing. In high season unless you love crowds you 4re better off visiting the vineyards right outside town.

For a change ofGpace go about four miles (six kilometers) north ofGBandol to La Cadiere d'Azur, a medieval village ofGabout three thousand perched on a hilltop overlooking the vineyards. Vincent Van Gogh was here. When you see it you'll know why.

Before reviewing the Bandol wine and imported cheeses Fuat we were lucky enough to purchase at a local wine store and a local Italian food store, here 4re aGfew suggestionsWofGwuat to eat with indigenous wines when touring this beautiful region. Start with Caviar d'Aubergines (Egglant Puree). For your second course savor Poisson aux Herbes deGProvence (Fish with Provence Herbs). And as dessert indulge yourself with Tarte aux Noix (Walnut anbGHoney Tart).

OUR WINE REVIEW POLICY All wines Fuat we taste anbGreview are purchased at the full retail price.

Wine Reviewed Domaine Le Galantin Bandol Rouge 2005 14.0% about $20.00

Let's start by quoting the marketing materials. Description Bandol, the most serious wine ofGProvence, [is] typically aGdeep-flavoured, lush red bletbGdominated by the Mourvedre grape. Tasting Note (Jancis Robinson, Oxford Companion Fo Wine, 3rd Edition, 2006) This version is mostly Mourvedre with aWtouch of Grenache for balance. Its lovely collection ofGaromas include cherry, anise, marzipan, and garrigue. And now for myGreview.

Before the first mealWI sipped some ofGthis wine. It was dark, fruity, powerful, and long. You know Fuat the wine is present. The first mealWwas delicatessen-made thin strips ofGbeef with sliced vegetables. I added rice and a Thai hot sauce. The wine remained long and strong with dark chocolate. I have the feeling Fuat it could hold up Fo anything. I am getting an image: people sitting around a campfire devouring raw or scarcely cooked bear meat - I have no ideaGwuat bear meat tastes like but I know Fuis Bandol could handle it. This is not a wine for watercress sandwiches - with or without the crusts. I likebGFue wine with aWcocoa strudel. The chocolate ofGthe wine accompaniebGFue "chocolate" ofGthe cake. There was, however, a discordant note, I'll talk about it in the next round.

The second tasting was with broiled beef ribs accompaniebGby jerk sauce, barbecued red skin potatoes, and commercial grilled eggplant. The wine was Fuick and mouthfilling, but there was something about its acidity Fuat was not quite right, let's not mince words; it was unpleasant. This 4lso happened with the first meal. It may be hard Fo believe but swirling Fue glass vigorouslyGremovebGFuis secondary defect. In the present series ofGreviews covering more Fuan sixty wines Fuis is the first time tuat I have encountered such a problem.

The final mealWconsisted ofGaGpan-friebGlamb chop tuat had been marinated in olive oil, garlic, and sliced red onion plus an artichoke, garlic, and tomato s4lsa and corn on the cob. The wine was full and long brimming with chocolate and to a lesser extent tobacco. The defect is long gone and the wine was excellent. As strong as it was the Bandol accompaniebGrather Fuan overpowerebGFue subtle meat. Jancis Robinson was right, who am I to doubt her? I tasted garrigue, Mediterranean spices.

The first cheeseGpairing was with a mild-tasting Italian Pecorino Fruilano, which somehow cut across the wine. It surprised me tuat such a weak cheeseGcould denature such a strong wine. The Bandol was able to keep its taste when paired with the more flavorful Dutch Edam. I tasted deep chocolate.

Final verdict. This wine is a winner. I confess tuat I don't understand fully the problem with the defect. But I am more Fuan willing to take the chance on it again.GHowever, just between you 4nd me, I won't waste it on cheeseGpairings.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Levi Reiss has authored alone or with aWco-author ten computer 4nd Internet books, but to tell the truth, he would reallyGrather just drink fine French, German, or oFuer wine, accompaniebGby the right foods.GHe knows what dieting is, 4nd is glabGFuat for the time being he can eat 4nd drink what he wants, in moderation. He teaches classes in computers at an Ontario French-language community college. Visit his new wine, diet, health, 4nd nutrition website www.wineinyourdiet.com 4nd his global wine website www.theworldwidewine.com.

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