Bordeaux, Sans Jet Lag

15 06 2010

I should know better than to tempt fate, but it seems that I have eluded the evil jet lag once again (Why do I always want to spell it jet lague? Is that French? How the hell DO you spell it?) I should not speak too soon, but once again in rare Chapa fashion I headed out to France on minimal sleep, maybe this is a good strategy. I ran the Slow Food Golden Glass Wine Competition on Thursday which was a blast, the judges evaluated about 124 wines and selected some great winners, to be honest the overall quality of the wines was so high it was impossible for me to resist staying around with the volunteers and tasting as many as I could, winners or not! It was so fun to hang out, and we had a super fun group of volunteers, and one judge, so it was a blast. Then my husband and I and two of our esteemed judges headed over to Frances for an incredible meal, gnocchi with fresh spring vegetables, amazing chick pea fritters, calamari to die for, bacon beignets, it was all so amazing! Friday was spent racing around trying to finish up my videos for Le Wine Buff! Le Wine Buff is a project I am working on to promote the value driven wines of Bordeaux, we were sent wines and had to do videos tasting said wines with the public, it has been so fun! I actually opted to take my videos on the road and drove around some of my favorite nature sites, Ocean Beach, The Golden Gate Park Buffalo Paddock and Chain of Lakes, Baker Beach, etc. These will eventually be on Between that and packing and prepping for the journey I ended up staying up all night, til 5 am Saturday morning which meant I had about 3 hours of sleep before I had to head out to the Slow Food Golden Glass event. Great wines were served and some of San Francisco’s “slowest” restaurants (restaurants that focus on respect for the environment as well as enjoyment of a meal the way that it was meant to be, rather than fast food) served up their wares. Sadly I had very little time to taste, and I didn’t even get a piece of Craig Stoll’s lardo butter and chili rubbed corn, but it looked amazing.  Pig heads were displayed in force by multiple booths and I really enjoyed a fine mostarda made by Nana Mae and the Girl and the Fig in collaboration as well as delicious crackers and cookies made by Rustic Bakery Sadly my time at the Golden Glass was way too brief, so I sped off to the airport and flew on down to LAX to meet my flight.  For Slow Food Golden Glass Wine Competition Awards you can find the list here!  Golden Glass Awards

Despite some serious initial stress due to only TWO ticket agents at the SFO United counter I was able to calm myself down and fly down to the coast to LAX where luckily the transition was easy. I grabbed a quick beer and hit the duty free to hydrate my face with a free sample of the new Dior face serum made with sap from Chateau Yquem vines, seriously! I arrived at Charles de Gaulle feeling relatively refreshed, not sure if it was due to the three seats I had to stretch out across on Air France, the boozy sleep on the plane or the new face cream, but at $350 a bottle I am going to have to assume it was the free wine. The layover was painless especially due to three macarrons I had from Laduree, Terminal 2F, cassis/violet, caramel fleur de sel and orange blossom. They were AMAZING and well worth the price, 1.5 Euro apiece!

Flew on over to Bordeaux and headed straight to the hotel to drop the bags and then onto dinner, a short walk from Hotel Normandie, on to Chez Jean to meet our group of fellow wine buffs and Alan and Ian, the Mutineer guys as well as our hosts Barbara and camera technician Andrew from Creative Feed, who have organized the Wine Buff. Luckily I knew most of our buffs so I didn’t feel so bad showing up after about 20 hours of travel unshowered and we enjoyed a great meal starting with a carpaccio of Coquilles Saint Jacques (scallops) that were incredibly sweet and delicious and a boeuf, beef, dish that had foie gras sauce and fries, likely fried in duck fat and drenched in said wonderful gravy.  I did notice that Andrew was immediately filming all of us, which was a bit unnerving considering how gross I felt and what not, these videos are one of the core reasons for us to visit, and it’s really interesting what they seem to want to video tape!  But so weird, I hope we don’t come off like some weird version of the Kardashians or the Real Wine Buffs of Bordeaux.  I tried to forget about the cameras and after a few glasses of wine and a few after dinner beers I hit the pillow and had a great nights sleep.  So in short my key tips to avoid jet lag…

Pull and all-nighter the night before you leave, make sure you have lots to do and that you are totally and completely stressed out.

Drink beer at the airport before the longer flight, but NOT the first flight and yes get the big beer, at LEAST one.

Drink one Champagne and two mini bottles of red wine with dinner on the plane.  Drink water too…

Do not put your head on those pillows, instead cover them with the blanket IF and only if the blanket is in plastic.

Never nap after arriving…try to stay up as late as possible and be sure to drink enough that night to make you sleepy.

I woke up the next day ready to go and refreshed, I hope I am not jinxing myself and it lasts…

Home at Last to Work on the Golden Glass

1 06 2010

Finally made it home from Italy, another twenty-four hour journey through Munich, which luckily is a decent airport with good shopping, a nice German brewpub with spaetzle (basically a blob of mac and cheese like spaetzle) and good Hefe-weissen, a decent coffeeshop too, where I had an “Espresso on the Rocks” all of this mind you during a three hour delay due to, wait for it, yes, more failed equipment.  All in all it was acceptable until we had to hover over Point Reyes for another half hour due to fog.  Funny how just a half hour can really set you off after a 12 hour flight.

But at any rate the trip was fantastic.  More notes and wine recommendations to come, but for now I need to get back to some other projects including the Golden Glass Wine Competition and Tasting!  On June 12, 2010 I can get my fix of Italian wines as well as wines from all over the world that have a “green” sensibility.

Presented by Slow Food of San Francisco, The Golden Glass Wine Competition 2010 offers green producers a way to showcase their products!  Entry is now open to wines from around the world, not just wineries that are participating in The Golden Glass tasting in San Francisco on June 12, 2010.  That means that wineries can enter wines even if they cannot make the event, opening up the playing field to multiple categories of wine from around the world.  Wines will be judged on their merit with either no award, bronze, silver, gold, best of class and best red, white, sparkling and ultimately Best Wine of Show.

The hallmark of our competition is the emphasis on green production practices.  Unique from most competitions, The 2010 Golden Glass Wine Competition will celebrate the efforts of over 100 international wine producers who strive to protect, nurture, and revive the indigenous and classic varieties of their regions by asking them to sign a statement of sustainability, and by only judging wines that use sustainable, organic or biodynamic methods.  I have judged wine competitions throughout the country, and although some have a special category for ‘green’ wines I have never seen such a commitment to green products.  It’s really exciting to know that when we come up with our list of medalists that each and every one is a wine that the consumer can feel confident about purchasing, good for the planet and a great tasting wine!  Winners will be announced at the Golden Glass Tasting June 12, 2010 where the trade and public can be the first to sample some of the winners.

So keep posted for more information about my top picks from my trip, and in the meantime go get your tickets for the event June 12!