I was fortunate to have dined at quite a few nice restaurants in Paris during my three trips there in 2005 and would like to share a few recommendations with you. One of the perks of being in the wine business is that wine goes best with food (but both are rough on the waistline!). Hiramatsu *(52 rue de Longchamp in the 16th) is fantastic. This restaurant gained its first Michelin star faster than any other. Ph from france 1-56-81-08-80. closed Saturday and Sunday. $$$ Guy Savoy*** (18 rue Troyon-in the 17th) a *** Michelin and one of the best restaurants in the world. In france dial 1-43-80-40-61. Closed Saturday and Sunday nights as are most all 2 and 3 star restaurants in Paris. $$$+ Atelier de Maitre Albert (1 rue Maitre Albert in the 5th-across from river on right bank.. no lunches Saturday or Sunday) for great roasted chicken or lamb shanks. Also it is now under the direction of Guy Savoy. Fax: 011331 53 10 83 23. $ If you saw and enjoyed the movie “Something’s Got to Give,” go to the bistro Le Grand Colbert (2-4 rue Vivienne-behind Palais Royal in the 2nd). Thanks to the movie and the delicious food, it is one of the hot spots on the bistro scene. Owner Joel Fleury. Le.firstname.lastname@example.org $ If you love caviar, Kaspia (17 place de la Madeleine-right bank high rent district in 8th) is a must stop. And try one of their Russian vodkas with the caviar. www.caviarkaspia.com. Phone: 01133 1 42 65 33 32. $$$ And on the left bank load up at Petrossian (on 144 rue Universite in the 7th). Closed Sunday and Monday. $$ The rather new Astrance ** (4 rue Beethoven-in the 16th across river from Eiffel Tower) was fabulous (only about ten tables) Closed Saturday and Sunday. Phone: 01133 1 40 50 84 40. $$$ La Tour d’Argent** (15 Quai de la Tournelle in the 5th-great view of Notre Dame) did not disappoint. What a great wine list and quite reasonably priced for Paris. They listed but were not serving any wines younger than 1999. Closed Monday and Tuesday lunch. One of the few Paris two star restaurants opened both Saturday and Sunday night. Phone: 01133 1 43 54 23 31. $$$ The new l’Atelier (Joel Robuchon) in the Hotel Pont Royal at 7 Rue de Montalembert (7th) is worth the wait as they do not take reservations-all counter seating, but exquisite food. $$ And if you like Indian food try Yugaraj (14 rue Dauphine-close to Pont Neuf in the 6th)-spicy food-very few tables and good value wine list. email@example.com. Closed on Mondays and lunch Thursdays. $-$$ A few good ones in the 7th on Rue St Dominique: #79-Thoumeiux for great cassoulet and good hearty meals. firstname.lastname@example.org$ #129-Fontaine de Mars. Great bistro cooking-very friendly. Great “Tete de Veau” and southwest France cooking. email@example.com $ #135-Violon d’Ingres* is a very affordable starred restaurant in Paris. Closed Sunday and Monday Also very friendly owners and staff. firstname.lastname@example.org $$ Also in the 7th, Le Divellec* at 107 rue Universite specializing in seafood. Closed Saturday and Sunday. $$ In the 6th or 5th, some favorites: Rotisserie d’en Face (2 rue Christine off of Rue Dauphine in the 6th) $ owned by Jacques Cagna whose own restaurant Jacques Cagna* is at 14 Rue Grands Augustins, across the street. email@example.com $$ Brassiere Balzar (49 Rue des Eccoles in the 5th) Phone: 01133 1 43 54 13 67 is a bustling French bistro-noisy, crowded, good steak tartare. $ $$-Expensive $$-Moderate $-Good Value *** Three Star, of course! —Clyde Beffa
Big wines for a short month! Five generations and almost a hundred years ago, the Zannoni family arrived at La Fortuna back in 1907. The estate, wine cellar and business center, has been designed in such a way to preserve the originally beauty of the renovated Tuscan farmhouse and to respect traditions while adapting to the modern needs of winemaking. You can contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like schedule a tasting or tour. 2003 La Fortuna Rosso di Montalcino ($17.99) 100% sangiovese, this “baby Brunello” is a steal at this price. Black cherries and plum with sweet tobacco mingle with a nice mineral component. This medium-bodied wine shows very good acidity. Think Mom’s best lasagna recipe. 2002 La Fortuna Brunello di Montalcino ($36.99) Not a misprint, Brunello under $40.00 with lush black cherry and ripe strawberries, vanilla and chocolate character and fine integrated tannins. This user-friendly Brunello drinks very well right now with a couple hours of decanting and will evolve over the next couple of years. Pork tenderloin’s a must with this sangiovese! 2003 La Fortuna IGT Sant’Antimo ($27.99) This Super Tuscan is a blend of 40% sangiovese and 60% cabernet sauvignon and sees 10 months in French oak barrels (Allier). Extremely elegant on the palate with blackberries, blueberries and a touch of coco powder, there is great length thanks to its fine-grained tannins and rich glycerine at the end. With perfect balance through the long finish, this is something special to share with your valentine. —Mike Parres
Seven vintages ago we started importing wines from Ermacora, a small family winery (pronounced er-MA-ko-ra. It took me two years to get it right). They were always much better known within Italy where they’d been awarded multiple Gambero Rosso awards. We began to slowly build the brand here, year after year our sales staff suggesting these wines until now Ermacora is one of K&L's most sought after label. The brothers Ermacora (Dario & Luciano) live amongst the vines at their small winery in the Colli Orientali del Friuli, just a few miles from the Slovenian border. Although they have all the most modern technology, their motto states: “Do little, in order to do better.” True farmers at heart, they believe wine is made in the vineyard. I visited with them in Ipplis, the tiny village where they live, this past April to taste their 2004 vintage. I had just been to Vinitaly and was stunned by the quality of almost everything I tasted from 2004—red, white, Trentino, Sicily, Tuscany, Piedmont, Friuli, everywhere it seemed to be an amazing vintage. Ermacora didn’t disappoint. Ermacora’s wines are unoaked and very concentrated, so much so that the wines need 6-9 months after release to really blossom and show all of their potential. This year’s wines were so fantastic I asked Dario if we could delay the arrival so they could show their complete array of potential. In Italy it is the exact opposite; all the restaurants and their customers want the wine the first day it is available, mostly from a historical perspective where there was little refrigeration, and at the end of the vintage the wine was….well not as good. Dario was very pleased that his wines would be arriving here in their best condition! 2004 Ermacora Tocai Friulano ($14.99) 2 Glasses Gambero Rosso. If there was any one varietal that showed better in Friuli in this glorious vintage it is the often misunderstood Tocai Friulano. The wonderful balance, coupled with a depth of concentration you don’t see in Tocai is followed by hints of tarragon and layers of mineral that give way to a richness that is balanced with delicate acidity and scintillating aromas of bitter almonds, apple and ripe pear highlighted by a very long finish. The perfect accompaniment to fish or crab. 2004 Ermacora Pinot Grigio ($14.99), winner of 2 Glasses Gambero Rosso, is simply sensational. Perfect balance of acidity and tremendous aromatics, loaded with pear, apple, citrus and tropical fruits in an elegant, concentrated and superbly balanced wine! 2004 Ermacora Pinot Bianco ($14.99) 2 Blue Glasses Gambero Rosso. This is the wine Ermacora is known for most in Italy. It has tremendous focus and concentration, rich and creamy, with custard like flavors and hints of apples and bergamot. It is majestic on the palate, with balance, complexity and character. Age this wine for 2-3 years and you won’t believe the incredible wine it will evolve into. Perfect for halibut, swordfish or cocktailing! —Greg St.Clair
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