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BelgianGourmand is Thomas Schampaert, wine educator, wine critic, but above all wine lover.
Interests: Wine, food, cuisine, literature, music, travel.
Recent Activity
A wine blogger’s life: mijn vrouw is zich aan het inspelen in een parochiezaaltje hiernaast voor het lenteconcert van haar fanfare. Ik zit hier, in plaats van te genieten van de zon, in de auto met de laptop op de schoot wat te schrijven voor de Vlaamse wijnblogdagen. Voor me... Continue reading
Posted Apr 4, 2011 at Belgian Gourmand
Ow, btw, sure I know you had a lot of pinots from the Loire, Jura (though I prefer those from Auvergne) and Alsace (though apart from Schueller and Barmes I did not taste anything I fell in love with). But try those from close to Burgundy, from Guy Bussière in Val de Saône, they are so tender and crisp, or those from La Lorraine (upper North-West of France). Hm, I should send you a bottle when you're in France again. Sorry for all these long, ranty comments. It's just an exciting topic. We'll have spaghetti al ragù tonight, and though I know it doesn't fit at all, you've made my mouth water for a good pinot. I'll go for a Bussière. Santé!
Toggle Commented Mar 30, 2011 on Pinot Envy? at The Feiring Line
I hope there will be once smby who makes a nice Californian Pinot. As I said, what do I know about Californian wine? I have just a wee inkling, that's all. Comparing US PN with European examples isn't only unfair, it's a belittling and reductionist attempt to fit new things in what we think we all know so well. Limestone, yes! Just because it structures - by emphasizing a straight acidity - the otherwise quite plump and sweet juices of PN (same for chardonnay - just tasted a fabulous 2009 from Thomas Pico). One of the best recent samples was François Grinands Etappes 2009. On limestone. Still get goosebumps when I think of it. Why not spätburgunder, Alice? Try the späts from the Shelter Winery (Baden). You'll like them. Piemontese: for me only in Monferrato, i.e; Silvio Morando and, a partly PN, with barbera, Fortetto della Luja. Other ones I should try?
Toggle Commented Mar 30, 2011 on Pinot Envy? at The Feiring Line
Interesting, Alice, interesting. Though I do think you're completely right when you say California is more apt for GSM, carignan, cinsault and all that, I'm still sceptical on the possibility-part for Californian Pinots. Even high in Santa Cruz ... I dunno. Of course you're much more experienced than I am (it's hard to lay hands on them in Belgium), but when I was in the states last year I tried as many of them as possible (my wife had this nice wine shop close to her app. in St. Paul), and none of them did the trick. General problem: too much, way too much unbalanced alcohol, which invariably gave the wines a nasty bitter aftertaste if they weren't overoaked. Some had other aroma's than the cola like stewed fruit, but even then, they didn't do it. Oregon though, was another story. Had some nice examples from there. Maybe it's this belief of varietal typicity that thwarts everything here. I, for me, don't believe there is such a thing as 'classic' PN. The French would love to see that established, but defending such ideas are maybe more rearguard fights than anything else. Ever tasted German Spätburgunder, Jura PN, Lorraine PN? There are most def recognizable PN-characteristics in them, but why compare? Why speaking of a classic standard (I hate standards, btw). I think States PN-producers would hugely benefit from seeking their own PN expression and stop comparing all the time. I want difference in my glass, not comparison. @Gideon: the Romans did select varietals according to terroir (though they didn't wield a notion like terroir). The fact that almost 70% of European vineyards are on hillsides is thanks to the Romans. Fertile, easy workable land was only used for classic farming. Rough, poor terrain was used for vineyards (of course there is also the fact that disease control was much more easy on hillsides, etc.). When planting vineyards their first selection criterion was natural provenance. If the variety was already there (cultivated by the Gauls, Etruscan, Greeks, Dalmatians, ...) and had proven its worth on a certain soil in a certain area, it was selected and planted in an organized way. Knowledge they had from these 'natural provenance'-examples was transposed to the planting of new vineyards in other regions. They also selected over the ages, assessing yields, durability, etc. We musn't forget they had for about 2000 years of time to select, assess, reassess, ... . The notion of terroir though, is more medieval (especially in burgundy, cistercian monks doing a lot of work), typicity, on the other hand, is certainly an early 19th century concept, and the link between typicity, terroir and quality is definitely a mid 19th century invention (think of the classification of 1855).
Toggle Commented Mar 30, 2011 on Pinot Envy? at The Feiring Line
Twice the retail price? Alice, you're all so lucky over there. In Belgium twice the retail is a no brainer, it's f***ing cheap. Here thrice or more the retail price is absolutely normal. I'm happy there are at least some sommeliers who do love their customers and at last there are some resto's where you can have a BYO, but you have to be strong hearted to pay the often atrocious corkage ... .
Toggle Commented Mar 30, 2011 on Drinking on 53rd Street at The Feiring Line
Dat was weer een hiaat van formaat: net iets teveel proeverijen en teveel lange gesprekken over veel teveel glazen wijn achter de rug. En ja, er zit weer overal wat nieuws aan te komen bij slijters her en der in ons pietluttige apenland, dus zit ik vol spanning en kinderlijk... Continue reading
Posted Mar 29, 2011 at Belgian Gourmand
Fear their safe environment comes down ... that's all. Keep banging the walls, Alice. Someone has to breach them. If the Huns won't, we will!
Utterly absurd. I hope those guys and their marketeers had a good laugh after the shoot of this tube (I did, jeeezz, the box with the coffee bags). Something though makes me think they didn't. I really wonder why ...
Indeed very nice. Thanks for sharing Alice. I'm sure Doug's mails would even be more thought provoking. His London tasting certainly stirred the dust. Yet, you know, according to my humble opinion, what the problem is with all this talking - both from adherents and opponents - about nat'l wine? It's just that they fail to see they over and over again slip into polarized discourse. Polarized talk that has it's roots in the way we think and talk (or do not) about wine like it used to be/to exist on the market, in books, in magazines, etc. before so-called nat'l wines were mediated. They (i.e. Giorgione, contrary to Atkin who has an inkling and elegantly puts himself in the safe haven of agnosticism) just fail to understand that by considering nat'l wines as an opposite to conventional wines they create a category that only exists by virtue of what they already know, i.e. conventional wines, and thereby, probably unconsciously, try to grasp nat'l wine with conventional categories (or their opposites, which are by the very nature of their linguistic relationship conventional as well). Yet, are nat'l wines the binary opposite to conv'l wines? Or are they the counterpart - I prefer this term - to cultural wines? And what should those cult'l wines then be? Maybe it's because of our inability to answer this question, maybe it's because we are driven to the very cracks in our discourse, in our way of thinking, that some of us react in a 'visceral' way (I love Atkin's inverted parallel with Goering and Wregg's inter-text from Gasset and G. Stein)? Is it maybe because nat'l wine vehemently ravages our pacified and leveled wine discourse we hold so dear, we often react in a impulsive way? To me - and I think to Wregg too - nat'l wine is, as a non-commodity (see the remarks by Atkin on pricing, marketability, or the taster's answer to Wregg's questions as quoted above), highlighting the boundaries of wine discourse, showing the fault lines in our thinking about wine in general, by placing itself deliberately beyond (cultural? absorbed? received?) convention (which doesn't mean it has no conventions in itself). Isn't this the reason why our so beloved categorial wine faults and flaws seem flawed themselves when tasting nat'l wines? That's what I read when I read Chauvet though. A writer who, to me, fits in the league of Barthes, Lyotard or Derrida. But that's just the idea of a 'so-called expert' in the domain. (And please excuse my pompous language.)
"Just alone with like sniffing people." Have to remember that one!
Toggle Commented Mar 15, 2011 on Connecting through Palate at The Feiring Line
Yes, WE are alone, Alice. Eliding discourse from every drop you taste - even more: read, feel, smell, see - is a rare gift, but a poisoned gift. To be able to talk about it, to bend language and the conventional thoughts it brings with it in order to show there is something behind it that's just there, only there - Aristotle's so many differences?! - and only perceivable in those rare flashes of recognition, is what dooms this gift and makes us want to return it so badly to wherever it came from. And, rest assured, if there is someone else, it doesn't go away. It's still there - luckily, maybe - sometimes even more acutely. But what a thrill to feel it every time again. Sex can be good though, particularly good ... .
Toggle Commented Mar 15, 2011 on Connecting through Palate at The Feiring Line
Vroeger, in een ver en grijs verleden, toen walkmans, walkie-talkies en supercomputers hét van hét waren, beweerden de profeten van de nieuwe tijd dat ooit het leven van de mens eenvoudiger en makkelijker zou worden. Vroeger, dat was het decennium van de New Beat, de tijd waarin Kraftwerk groot werd,... Continue reading
Posted Mar 9, 2011 at Belgian Gourmand
Er was eens een ver, vreemd en groot land. Daar woonden mensen - geloof het of niet - die van een microgolfoven hielden en BIB's haatten. Een stomende paradox, dat wel, maar dit is nu eenmaal het land waar in dit verhaal alles mag en vooral alles kan ... .... Continue reading
Posted Feb 24, 2011 at Belgian Gourmand
Thx. And now to the impossible mission to find these things in Belgium ...
And that listàn from the Canaries ... glugable? Vinified in the normal way, I never had a palomino that I liked. Thin, flat, insipid wines with nothing to tell.
Hopelijk bent u, net als ik, bij de gelukkigen die ook 5 kisten Château Ausone 2005 op de kop tikten toen ze en primeur uitkwamen in 2006. Ik kan u zeggen, de dag dat ze mij geleverd werden, ergens begin 2007, moet één van de mooiste dagen uit mijn leven... Continue reading
Posted Feb 20, 2011 at Belgian Gourmand
Feestje bouwen? Dan is die BIB er zeker bij. Goedkoop, voor nog geen 8 euro de liter heb je er een bij de plaatselijke superboer. Handig, kraantje open, kraantje dicht en vooral: zuipen! Want er zit toch zoveel in dat vierkante pakje met een zakje. Niet? Kotfeestjeuh!!! Ik heb nooit... Continue reading
Posted Feb 20, 2011 at Belgian Gourmand
Jongens, 249 dagen ... . Je kan erover zagen, je er kwaad in maken, gefr ustreerd zijn, eindeloze discussies voeren, woedend gaan betogen, de schouders ophalen, zuchten, zeggen dat 'het allemaal luie zakken zijn die aan de vetpot willen zitten', beweren dat 'het allemaal domme kloten zijn die gepromoveerd zijn... Continue reading
Posted Feb 18, 2011 at Belgian Gourmand
Odd you mention listàn blanco. There's enough of it in Spain in a very different appearance, ... but in France?! Can you recommend somebody who makes drinkable listàn in France?
I discovered Elisabetta's Nosiola a few weeks ago at a trader's tasting. First time a tasted a Nosiola that's interesting. She did a great job there. Loved the bright acidity.
Jaja, het is weer zover: het meligste moment van het jaar is weer aangebroken, en ja, u zit weer voor uw pc in plaats van dit moment met uw liefste - of liefsten - te delen. Voor wie nog niet over een bloemenstalletje met verlepte rozen struikelde of spontaan kokhalsneigingen... Continue reading
Posted Feb 14, 2011 at Belgian Gourmand
BelgianGourmand is now following Foteyes
Feb 14, 2011
Zowel wijnkenners als liefhebbers hebben het graag over mysterieuze termen als terroir, vinificatie, (mono)cepage, ... . Ze zijn niet alleen moeilijk te vatten - en dus nog moeilijker om uit te leggen -, ze zijn ook veelal niet gemakkelijk te herkennen in een wijn. Eén van de redenen daarvoor, naast... Continue reading
Posted Feb 12, 2011 at Belgian Gourmand
Ik zit te bladeren in de tegenwoordig al zelfs gepersonaliseerde reclame van Colruyt die haast wekelijks de brievenbus verstopt: tuinmeubelen, parasols, ... ja zelfs zwembaden. Je zou haast geloven dat het mooie weer van de afgelopen maand (de zondvloed van de laatste week uitgezonderd) de dichte mistflarden van de BHV-saga... Continue reading
Posted Feb 12, 2011 at Belgian Gourmand
De eerste staalblauwe hemel, een witte, brandende zon en de zerpe geur van warm asfalt of het zoele aroma van warmend loof in de boomgaarden roepen mij steeds taferelen uit Il diavolo sulle colline of Feria d’Agosto van Cesare Pavese voor de geest: door de hitte verdaasde, dwalende personages die... Continue reading
Posted Feb 12, 2011 at Belgian Gourmand