February 2017
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Month February 2017

Wine and Basel B Chocolates – James Melendez

I love beautiful things and especially if they have a dynamic flavour.  I know that I am not unusual in being an appreciator of the finer things in life.  But it is hard to find fine art and food united together.

Wine, great food, art, clothes, furniture and travel goes hand in hand.  Sometimes things intersect; Basel B Chocolates certainly intersect exquisite art and fine food.  The intersection is a passion of culinary artist Basel Bazalmit has developed a brand that encompasses the physical beauty with the compelling flavour characteristics.  I love that when I eat a chocolate with wine – it is a great experience of the truffle–a compelling 85% Columbian dark chocolate with the wonderful crunch and dynamics of the chocolate.  I eat a truffle to compliment my wine journey.  I eat a truffle to match and marry with wine and give the proverbial hand shake… no proverbial hug.  There are few unique truffles on the market place and having had a grand tour of year last year (2016) I was tasting many chocolate truffles.  While many had beauty on the inside it lacked an appreciable appearance or vice versa.

Basel B. Chocolate Truffles

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I eat chocolate the way I drink my wine–with great appreciation and not doing so in terms of consuming a massive quantity of one or the other but to enjoy in moderation to gain insight into my wine and chocolate journey.

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basel-b-truffle-flavours

Basel B Truffle Flavours

 

I love the vividness of each flavour – the Holiday Spice is an evocative and sweetly spiced truffle, the Blueberry is a definitively rich flavour and handsome snapshot of the fruit, the Caramel and Hazelnut is a thrilling combination of flavours of rich caramel and further elevated by the earthly sweetness of the hazelnut.

My luxury is to enjoy one or two with a glass of wine.  I am fully satiated when I just a few to be my after meal experience (i.e. dessert) with either a full bodied red or a Madeira, Port or Sherry.

I do plan on a doing a video and compare the chocolates with the wines I will be pairing with his truffle flavours.  A par excellence experience that I recommend to everyone.

Basel at the 2017 Winter Fancy Food Show - San Francisco

Basel at the 2017 Winter Fancy Food Show – San Francisco

 

Here is information on his chocolates – currently available online:

Basel B Chocolates

And he will be exhibiting at the San Francisco Chocolate Salon on March 18, 2017.

Santé,

James

James the Wine Guy

Demystifying Wine…One Bottle at a Time from all wine regions around the world.

Wines courtesy of producer.

© 2017 James Melendez / James the Wine Guy— All Rights Reserved – for my original Content, logo, brand name, rating, rating graphic and award and designs of James the Wine GuyJames the Wine Guy also on Facebook, Twitter and most major social medias.

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Locations I and P 4 Wines – James Melendez

I recently tasted these two locations wines:

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Locations I Wine 4 NV 

9.0

This is a composition of Negroamaro, Nero d’Avola and Barbera from Italy.

Scent characteristics: blackberry, cassis, leather, fruit orchard during autumn, and dates.

Flavor characteristics: Black cherry, earth, red pepper, Tamarind, and Thyme.

 

Locations P Wine 4 NV

9.0This wine is a composition of Touriga Naçional, Trincadeira and Touriga Franca

Scent characteristics: Red cherry, under brush, bay leaf, violets and cinnamon

Flavor characteristics: Black cherry, red plum, pepper, cardamom and clove

Wine courtesy of producer.

Santé,

James

James the Wine Guy

Demystifying Wine…One Bottle at a Time from all wine regions around the world.

Wines courtesy of producer.

© 2017 James Melendez / James the Wine Guy— All Rights Reserved – for my original Content, logo, brand name, rating, rating graphic and award and designs of James the Wine GuyJames the Wine Guy also on Facebook, Twitter and most major social medias.

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Kaizen and Champagne – James Melendez

kaizen

Gallimard Père & Fils Vineyard in Les Richey

Kaizen loosely transliterated means ‘improvement’ or the literal transliteration is ‘change for better’ from the Japanese.

I have been in the business world for quite some time and have found a fondness for Kaizen…. Who has ever said Kaizen and fondness in one breath?  Champagne of course—Kaizen well…maybe just me.  I have never seen an article about Kaizen and Champagne.  And I can think of no more ideal wine region where the subject of Kaizen hand-in-hand.  Actually no other product demonstrates Kaizen so well.

I need to pair together the concept of Kaizen and Champagne.  Kaizen has always been exercised in Champagne even if the term had not been invented; proof of concept it it’s most tangible form is the history of Champagne.

We can look at Venetian shipmakers who have been 5S* methodology producing ships five century ago.  If I look at the Operational Excellence or Business Process Excellence (BPE) I think of terms like Lean, Lean Six Sigma, Six Sigma, 5S, and Kaizen to name a few concepts and methodologies.  The 20th Century was not just about scientific management but management by objective and quality.  Toyota, Motorola and General Electric have been big promoters of some variant of Business Process Excellence and I should add many other companies have looked to BPE to define, innovate, maintain and improve business processes and operations.

Champagne is certainly a great example of Kaizen.   And while Kaizen is one of Champagne’s secret sauce there is a pure, core and unadulterated vision and belief in making Champagne not just a marginal wine region but one of world-class wines.

Kaizen is about incremental improvement; small steps that in the long run demonstrate a remarkable difference.  Now the word innovation can be talked about when bring up the subject of Kaizen.  Innovation is a movement that is both remarkable and very disruptive—innovation is a singular act, product, process or idea that has a significant impact and is seen as a positive contribution.  Some things in Champagne can be covered by a blanket statement of innovation but innovation is a rare event—more common and realistic is to hone in on improvements bit-by-bit hence Kaizen.

I am not going to belabor (because it has been told many times before) the long history of incremental improvements in Champagne but I’ll start with Reims.  A city that is known as the place where France’s kings were always crowned did not have a wine fitting for a regent.  The Champagnoise were longing for the wine excellence for the kings of France—looking to it’s neighbour is Burgundy.  Burgundy has been producing wines of excellence for a very long time—the path of incremental improvements was fewer for Burgundy then Champagne.  The climate is Burgundy friends and Champagne’s foe.

The story begins with the pesky bubbles—the process of double fermentation was not known and, of course, not known how to stop it.  Alas the climate and storage of wines created the double fermentation state.  The bubbles were not what the Champagnoise envisioned because this was to create a comparable wine and after all the grapes were similar sans Pinot Meunier.

Lets start with Dom Pérignon and I’ll make it simple with some foundational bookends of the Dom and Madame Clicquot.  Pérignon did not invent Champagne just helped to start developing this regions wines.  His goal was to stop the bubbles alas he could not stop but he made some important foundational contributions.

I am capturing the incremental improvements and in no particular order and this is a contribution made by Dom Perignon and Madame Clicquot and others:

• Pruning

• Wine grapes utilized – his preference was for Pinot Noir above other grapes

• Improved clarification of wines

• Blending wines

• Corks that could withstand 3 atmospheres of pressure

• Bottle design and strength (which has been further refined today to reduce carbon footprint)

• Riddling

• Secondary fermentation

• Dosage

• Classifiying sugar levels

o Brut Nature

o Extra Brut

o Brut

o Extra Dry

o Demi-Sec

o Doux

• Styles:

o Blanc de Blancs

o Brut Rose

o Brut

o Blanc de Noirs

• Organizing body: The Comité Champagne

• The allowed grapes

o Most common: Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Meunier (also known as Pinot Meunier)

o Less common: Arbane, Petit Meslier, Pinot Blanc (Vrai Blanc) and Pinot Gris

We needed multiple of improvements and we could not have had one singular innovator—even Dom Perignon would have tried to eliminate bubbles… Imagine Champagne as a still wine? The desire to remove the bubbles was to remove what was thought of to be a flaw instead of an asset. …. A good thing that he failed at that and a good thing Kaizen helped to progress this wine to the bubbly state we know today. Input of many people and, of course, Dom Perignon and Madame Cliquot is evidence of Kaizen in action and that time which Kaizen requires can make an ideal state.

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*5S is a a workplace methodology in Japanese: Seiri – Sort, Seiton – Set in Order, Seiso – Shine, Seiketsu – standardize, and Shitsuke – sustain.

Santé,

James

James the Wine Guy

Demystifying Wine…One Bottle at a Time from all wine regions around the world.

Wines courtesy of producer.

© 2017 James Melendez / James the Wine Guy— All Rights Reserved – for my original Content, logo, brand name, rating, rating graphic and award and designs of James the Wine GuyJames the Wine Guy also on Facebook, Twitter and most major social medias.

Follow, subscribe, like, browse:

TWITTERFACEBOOKGOOGLE+VIMEOLINKEDFLICKRpinterestWordpressYOUTUBETUMBLR