Monday, March 12, 2018

Cast iron stoves and wood burning

Wood burning has gotten a bad reputation in Holland, because of pollution and "fine dust". Here where I live in France, it is what you do to stay warm and cook in winter though. And if there is one thing I have learned over the years, is that you should not fight nature but comply with it. 

Forests everywhere, wood everywhere.....This is what people have been doing here for centuries. Dry wood....right size..right temperature. .

Only heating my radiators with fuel costs me a fortune and the big space in the farm still stays chilly. Warming up the cast iron in the Rayburn woodstove in the kitchen and in the chimney of the big fire place in the main room gives a nice warmth that stays for 16-24 hours without adding new wood. That means you normally pick up in the morning where you have left in the evening. And it stays comfy. Of course we also roast and bbq in the big fire place.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Eau de Vie (and Marc de Vie) in Alsace and Burgundy

Water of Life

One of the lesser-known spirit categories is eau-de-vie. Most people will have tried one, and often without realising as various countries’ national drinks are classified as eau-de-vie, such as Raki from Turkey and European Slivovitz.

Confusingly, eau-de-vie (French for ‘water of life’) is a term used in French to mean ‘spirit’. But in English-speaking countries, it refers to brandies made with fruit other than grapes.
Not all will use the term on the label – common types of eau-de-vie include Romanian Tuică, Schnapps from Germany, Hungarian Pálinka and Ceylon Arrack from Sri Lanka.

So: An eau de vie is a clear, colourless fruit brandy that is produced by means of fermentation and double distillation. The fruit flavour is typically very light.


They tell a tale in the broad, pine-clad Ville Valley, which cuts into the foothills of the Vosges beneath the frowning fortress of Haut-Koenigsbourg. In the 17th century, they say, an Alsatian monk boiled up some fermented cherries to produce an elixir he hoped would provide a cure for cholera.
He called it ''eau de vie'' or ''water of life.''

Well, maybe. What is certain is that for several hundred years, this valley and others in Alsace have been producing clear, unsweetened fruit brandies called eaux de vie, which are not to be confused with liqueurs like creme de banane.

Eaux de vie do not cure cholera (or anything else, for that matter), but at their best they rank among the world's great after-dinner drinks -- evocatively perfumed, rich, pure and explosively flavorful, almost like biting into a perfectly ripe raspberry or Bartlett pear.
So great is the intensity of aroma and flavor that you have a virtual orchard in your glass. Leave that glass sitting out, emptied but unwashed, and 48 hours later a faint scent of fresh fruit will linger in the air.

How is it made?

It is made in a similar way to Cognac and other grape brandies. The method varies, but usually the fruit is pressed to extract its juice, fermented with the help of yeast (which can be either commercially produced, or by using naturally occurring strains within the fruit) to create an alcoholic liquid, and then distilling it.
Eau-de-vie are usually unaged, and are usually bottled soon after production to preserve aroma and flavour.

Pomace brandy is a liquor distilled from pomace that is left over from winemaking, after the grapes are pressed. It is called marc in both English and French. So you could say that "marc" is a special kind of Eau de Vie.

At Windholz in Ribeaville

Tasting Eau de Vie or a Marc at a wine tour

Many Alsatian and Burgundy wineries produce Eau de Vie and/or Marc next to their wines.
Apart from that there are some specialized distillers in the area's.

Don't forget to ask us for a smell and sip, while we are on the road tasting wines with you.
We also love to mark your "marc".

At Windholz in Ribeaville

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Example calculation - wine shop USA

Know that:
The quoted prices in our Webshop are without taxes and in your "shopping basket" you can see the brut shipping and insurance costs.
To give you an example calculation of net costs and shipping for a bottle of Euro 25,= TTC (with tax) in France, please check this table:

So with 30 bottles or more you pay 20+5= 25 Euro per bottle AND get the wine delivered in the USA at your home. That is the same as you would pay in France (TTC) at the winery!

See you at the Wine Club at or via the JoliSoleil Wine Tour website:  at 

Cheers !!!

Friday, February 16, 2018

So per bottle you would pay the same as you would pay at the winemaker in France or Italy?

The best wines from for example Alsace shipped to the USA

Americans can now (re-)order wines from Alsace, Burgundy and Tuscany from their home. We take care of all duties and custom papers. The wines will be delivered by UPS or FedEx on your doorstep. For some wines this is the ONLY way to get them in the USA as they might not be imported in your country.

Is it not expensive?

Shipping wines from France to the USA has become easy and affordable now!

You can order the selected wines in our Store in boxes of 6. Of course there are shipping costs but as the wines are not consumed in France or Italy, you do NOT pay the 20% French (TVA) or Italian taxes on the bottle. Keeping this tax advantage in mind: the shipping price for 6 bottles already drops to about Euro 16,= per bottle instead of +/- Euro 21,= (including all insurances). BUT if you ship a total of 5 boxes (30 bottles) or more OF ANY wine/winery in this shop, your net shipping costs drop to +/- Euro 5,= (or less) per bottle. So per bottle you pay about the same as you would pay at the winemaker in France or Italy: your tax advantage pays for the shipping!

Visit our shop today!

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Team building and senior management strategy retreats

Are you planning a business presentation or a management meeting in Alsace, Burgundy or Tuscany? 

We partner with exquisite (chateau) hotels and restaurants in these area's that provide the right atmosphere and have all the facilities you might need.

We can help you organize your stay and of course your lunches and dinners but also (wine) excursions in the area. Of course we can also design a "lady's program" or help you find a speaker for your congress.

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