Thursday, September 4, 2014

29th Annual Thoiry Salon des Vins

{Pic via here.}

It's here, it's here, it's really here! One of my favorite weekends of the whole year!

Tomorrow begins this year's installment of the annual Thoiry Salon des Vins, and I cannot wait to attend. We went last year, but I was unable to partake in the festivities, as I was oh so pregnant. Waddling around a hot tent with a bunch of slightly tipsy people when your feet are swollen and the baby is kicking and all you want to do is lie down in an air conditioned room until the baby decides to arrive wasn't as much fun as it sounds. So this year I'm pretty stoked to have Dan carrying the baby (see what I did there?) while Mama gets her wine tasting on. 

{Pic via here.}

Vintners, producers of cognac and armagnac, and Lac Leman Brewers come from all around France (and a bit of Switzerland and Italy), to provide tastes of their wares for free. Really, it's free. Free good wine is the best kind of wine, is it not? 

This is typically the time when people in our area stock their caves, and they take it seriously. People will purchase the wine and leave it in a special area until the end of the weekend to pick it up, you know, once they've finished shopping. There are dolly carts all around to help people load cases upon cases of wine into their cars. Check books are out in full force (yes, they still write checks in France, I like to think of it as a lost art form). The whole family comes out for the event. The family that wine shops together, stays together, am I right?

We always get more than we plan on. It's part of the fun. In our earlier days of the Salon des vins, it would lead us to walk home with 18 bottles of delicious wine, over a mile, in the dark. It was kind of fun. And then of course we'd always open one of the bottles once we got home to celebrate, and realize, "we need to go back tomorrow to replace this bottle!" It's a cycle. A glorious cycle. I guess it's good that the salon is only three days long. 

And so tonight we will plan our strategy. There are always a few mainstays that we get each year, as this is the only chance we have to purchase them, unless of course, we go out to the winery. What are some of our tried and true must haves? Well I'm so glad you asked! Here are a few of our favorites from the last few years:

1. Vin jaune: a rare wine that is specific to our area, and has to meet very strict requirements to be named a yellow wine. There is a really strong walnut taste as a result of all of the walnut trees in our area.
2. Chateauneuf du Pape: I don't think I really need to explain this one. As Sterling Archer would say, "duh and or HELLO."
3. Beaujolais: it's a specific vendor that I never remember their name, but I always recognize the bottle
4. Bollenberg: They are from the Alsace region and not only have some very good white wines to pair with Thai food, but also have a great selection of eau de vie and liquers.
5. Chardonnay from the Jura region: again, more walnut tastes in the wine
6. Cerdon: somewhat of a local sparking pink wine...I'd compare it to pink champagne, but somewhere some frenchman would end up having a heart attack (but it's kind of like pink champagne)
7. Macvin: another regional drink, served as an apertif. A little sweeter, and served in a liquer glass.

I know, I know, the above descriptions don't exactly make me a wine critic extraordinaire, but it's the best I've got for now. This year I'll actually show the results of this weekend's bounty, which is probably a lot more helpful for any of you who would like to track down the wines and try them yourselves. 

Have you ever been to a french Salon des Vins? Well here's a how-to I wrote last year following the event, if you're interested:

Here's to a weekend of great wines and stocking up the cave! 

A la prochaine friends...


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