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Tasting Notes – Wines from Loire Valley, France & Priorat, Spain

Loire Valley – Most vineyards planted on the hills around Sancerre are on south facing slopes at altitudes between 655-1,310 feet (200–400 meters). The soils around the area can be roughly classified into three categories. The far western reaches heading towards Menetou-Salon have “white” soils with clay and limestone.

Around the village of Chavignol (considered a cru of Sancerre), the soil also includes some Kimmeridgian marl. Wines from these western reaches tend to have more body and power in their flavour profile.

Heading closer to the city of Sancerre the soil picks up more gravel mixed with the limestone and tends to produce more light bodied wines with delicate perfumes.

The third classification of soil is found around the city of Sancerre itself which includes many deposits of flint (also known as silex) that add distinctive mineral components. These wines tend to be heavily perfumed with the longest aging potential.

Priorat – You can hardly find Priorat, or Priorato in Spanish, on a map, it’s so small. This tiny Catalonian wine region covers just 4,151 acres – Rioja, in comparison, is over 150,000 acres in size – but Priorat’s impact on the world of wine is large.

Named for the local monastery, or priory, that began producing wine in the 12th century, Priorat lies inland from Tarragona in northeastern Spain. Monks of the Scala Dei (“Ladder of God”) monastery planted the hillsides around the priory with wine grapes. The vineyards flourished, thanks to the area’s fertile volcanic soil and dry summer climate, until phylloxera’s arrival in the late 1800s. Priorat’s wine industry was ruined.

Winemaking returned to Priorat in the early 1950’s, and the region became a DO in 1954.

Winemakers rediscovered the area’s unique soil, called “llicorella” in Catalan. Llicorella consists of tiny bits of slate, both red and black. Like the soils around Italy’s volcanoes, Priorat’s topsoil is perfect for grapes.

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Priorat’s unusual climate also leaves its mark on the region’s wine grapes. Summers are typically hot and dry, but winters can be cold and windy.

Priorat is quite hilly, so each vineyard seems to have its own microclimate. In some areas, the hills shelter the vines, while in others, winds from warmer areas can blow onto the grapes. Priorat’s wines reflect these distinctive pairings of soil and microclimate

Sancerre

Domaine Champault

Color – Pale golden

Vinification – The soil, called ‘Terres Blanches’ is a blend of two types, clay and limestone. This provides the complex expression and minerality.

Tasting notes – At first, the bouquet is discreet, then, it opens up on aromas of white fruits. The mouth is ample and perfumed.

Enjoy ‘Seven fishes dinner’; white meats and cheeses, such as Crottin de Chavignol are all lovely pairings

 

Priorat La Vilella Alta

Black Slate

Blend of Garnatxa, Carinyena & Cabernet Sauvignon

Color – Ruby red; garnet

Vinification – From the Bodegas Mas Altas Estate; vine age ranges between 15 – 60 years; aged for 12 months in French oak, of which, 60% are new barrels

Tasting notes –The heat of the south-facing vineyards, combined with the cooler north-facing parcels, create a well-balanced wine with ripe fruit and softness

Enjoy with – Beef tenderloin; roasted meats and root vegetables are particularly good

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Recipe – Crostini with Lemon-Infused Ricotta

Crostini with Lemon-Infused Ricotta, Pink Peppercorns, Flake Salt and Honey Drizzle

Ingredients

  • Container of Ricotta Cheese
  • 1/2 Lemon Zested (to taste)
  • Vilux Pink Peppercorns (crushed w/ a mortar & pestle or back of a spoon)
  • Falksalt Flaked Sea Salt
  • Langnese Honey
  • Fresh Baguette, sliced
  • Olive Oil

Directions

  • Heat oven to 375°
  • Lightly brush crostini slices with olive oil and place on cookie sheet
    • (Be careful not to stack, as they will steam, instead of crisp)
  • Bake for 8 – 10 minutes, until golden brown. Remove and let cool
  • Using either a mortar and pestle, or the back of a spoon and bowl, crush pink peppercorns (They are soft; so a few whole ones are just fine)
  • Whisk ricotta, and a drizzle of olive oil, until oil and air, are incorporated. Mixture should become fluffy
  • Whisk in zest of ½ lemon to perfume the mixture (taste as you go, so it’s not too ‘lemony’)
  • Spread lemon-infused ricotta over crostinis
  • Top with pinch of Falksalt Flake Sea Salt and a few Vilux crushed pink peppercorns
  • Arrange all on a tray and drizzle with a bit of Langnese honey (It’s all about the toppings!! Salty, sweet and beautiful! J)
  • Serve at room temp and enjoy!!

Viva Bene Gourmet

219 N. Main Street (behind All Brides Beautiful)

Hudson, OH 44236

(330) 653-9800

www.facebook.com/vivabenegourmet

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Entrepreneur of the Week

Global Entrepreneurship Week is Nov. 16 — 22 and Hudson’s GEW Committee continues the celebration of local entrepreneurs.

Viva Bene Gourmet has been in business almost one year, and owner Erin Chenault tells her story.

What inspired you to own your own business?

The opportunity to live my passion. After 20 years in the corporate world, traveling non-stop, I began to realize that life goes by in a blink; so why not find a way to do what you love? I wanted to live more simply — talk about things that are important to all of us — family, friends, food and giving. I see that same joy in my customers when we start talking about food, wine and giving gifts to others.

What is your biggest challenge as an entrepreneur?

The start up process was the most difficult, as there is no road map to opening your own business and navigating through all that needs to be done, regardless of the venture. My background was vastly different coming from Corporate-America where the processes are firmly established. As an entrepreneur, you can plan all you want, but it’s really trial by fire.

What do you find most rewarding?

Having ‘customers’ and ’employees’ who have become family. I have been incredibly fortunate to be welcomed with open arms by the city of Hudson. Getting to know them has been a true privilege.

Describe your typical day.

When I wake up, my mind is racing with all that I need to do so there is a blend of both inspiration and panic. I kiss my husband, drink my morning coffee while making my to-do list, get some therapeutic play-time with the puppy and then go tackle the day. Depending upon the season, it could be a 9-hour day, sometimes 15. You just have to be ready to dedicate the time to live your dream.

What is your favorite aspect of being an entrepreneur?

Freedom. I find myself smiling every day. I have the opportunity to be creative, talk about things that I love with others that share the same passion and develop incredible friendships along the way. It’s wonderful to accomplish something so meaningful, while utilizing the skills and experience honed by a corporate career. It’s the best of both worlds.

What is your advice to budding entrepreneurs?

Find your passion, at no matter what stage of life, and go live it. Realize that you cannot know everything, but adapt quickly and embrace the learning curve. Be brave. Plan strategically and tactically; then jump in the deep end. There’s really no other way.

What one word would describe your life as an entrepreneur?

Joyful.