Wednesday, December 30, 2015

The Dutch Baker's Daughter: Oliebollen--A New Year's Eve Tradition

The Dutch Baker's Daughter: Oliebollen--A New Year's Eve Tradition: To be honest, I'm not much into deep frying my food. Don't get me wrong--I like to eat deep fried foods (well, most of them anyway-...

But these are goooood ;)

Friday, December 18, 2015

Lunch or dinner on our Alsace wine tours - maybe in Ammerschwihr?

One of the reasons we ended up in Alsace in 1999 and decided to live there permanently in 2003, is the great choice of good restaurants.
In France a healthy and beautiful plate is always important. And of course the search for matching wines is a pleasure.
In Alsace we find German cuisine, French cuisine and a melting pot between the two. There is a high number of Michelin * restaurants. This probably has to do with several factors, like the European parliament, Germany being close, tourism, etc..

In Ammerschwihr in the heart of the wine area an interesting place opened recently: Restaurant "Julien Binz". Chef is the former cook of "La rendez vous de Chasse" in Colmar. He is also known as the writer and editor of "Le Journal de Julien Binz" (for the dutch: the "Horeca Misset" of Alsace) about culinary news in Alsace.

Maybe it is his reputation, maybe he just has his publicity machine in order, but Binz was on France3 the other day.

Julien Binz opens his own restaurant in Ammerschwihr

We hope to try out this place soon. Passing the village often when wine touring, it might be the beginning of a delicious partnership.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

San Felice Il Grigio Chianti Classico Gran Selezione 2011 is number 1 in the “Enthusiast 100'

Although I am not sure if there is such a thing as "THE worlds best wine" it is great that another wine coming from Tuscany / Italy gets all this attention to the region.

This is another reason for visiting Tuscany in 2016 yourself and getting to know these wines. Visit with us ?! @jolisoleil.

2015 was an outstanding year for Italian wines in the Wine Enthusiast,” Kerin O'Keefe told Wine News. “This is the first time an Italian wine has taken the top spot in the “Top 100 Best Buys” and second place in “Top Cellar Selections”. Now, San Felice Il Grigio Chianti Classico Gran Selezione 2011 is number 1 in the “Enthusiast 100”. Congrats to San Felice !

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Our weekly newspaper about food, wine and life in Alsace, Burgundy & Tuscany. Stories via @AlsaceWines @AboutTuscany @SanCrittenden

As Thanksgiving approaches, not only are people across the country preparing for the special meal by digging up family recipes, searching for casserole dishes, and scouring supermarkets for ingredients. They’re also storming wine retailers in search of the perfect wine to accompany the turkey (or its vegetarian counterpart), all its sides, and the pies.

Winestein @ JSwinetours

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Alsace: Grand Cru Schlossberg

The Grand Cru system in Alsace dates "only" from 1975.
The first area getting the nomination "grand cru" of now 51 areas was the Schlossberg. Schloss is german for castle. And with castle we mean the castle of Kaysersberg in this particular case.

The soil is mainly granite which gives clearness, freshness and minerality. As it does not rain much in this area and the water rushes down, the grapes sometimes really suffer looking for water on this plot of land.
But .... suffering is mostly positive for the smell and taste. The balance between acidity and sugar is very distinctive in Schlossberg.

Grand Cru Schlossberg, le film (5 min)A découvrir, à goûter, à partager, sans modération aucune ! Alors…Prêt ??...3, 2,1…Dégustez :-)

Posted by Grands Terroirs d'Alsace on Thursday, 21 May 2015

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Behind the Smile with Pieter Smits - JSwinetours

An interview for Rezgo touring software with me: Pieter Smits from JSwinetours.:

How did you end up near Alsace?
After a long time of working in publishing and informatics in the Netherlands I wanted something different.  I decided to make my hobby my work.  Apart from the wines, it also gives me the possibility to meet many different kinds of people.
I have built up (and still am) a network of wine producers and for example restaurant owners and chefs.  I have to do with travel agenst and learn(ed) about the tourism industry.

What is it about your location that makes you and your customers smile?
Fifteen years ago I discovered Alsace. I liked it so much that 11 years ago, I decided to move here permanently.  The space, the mountains, the freedom and of course the food and wines made me smile. And they still do!  Every day.  As Burgundy is only a little bit further than for example Strasbourg, I learned that I could go there too.  More great views and wine and food, I am a lucky guy.

Can you tell us more about JS Wine Tours?
I have always been interested in wine. I have been a member of several wine clubs in Holland.  After moving to France, I decided I wanted to make a living out of my hobby.  I studied soil types, I learned about different grapes. I got to know wine makers personally.  They explained me what they were doing and why.  I learned they were passionate about what they were doing. So am I.  I love to meet new people and show customers around. It is great to share my knowledge and passion.  And everybody has a life story too. Interesting.

What is it about your tours that makes your customers smile?
I do one day and more day wine tours in Alsace and Burgundy.  A couple of times per year we also go to Tuscany for a more day tour.  My tours are not standard. I do not do the same thing every day.  I ask my clientele what they would want before we go. And even during the day/tour we can add, skip or change things as we get to know each other and as I understand more what my customers really like.

Can you share an experience with your business that made you smile?
More then once I have had families that got together again for one of our tours. In daily life the children moved out and were living in other states or even other countries.  We have had many wonderful tours where people learned something and most of all had a great time as a family together again.  A big compliment is also that people decide to come back and do another tour in another region the following year.  Needless to say that we got some very generous tips a couple of times.  Wow :)  And last but not least we became friends with quite a few people over the years.

What gets you out of bed in the morning?
As I have customers from all over the world, inquiries can come in the whole day and also in the evening. I am always curious about possible demands. So the computer is already on with my morning coffee. And then of course there are the producers, the wine makers and the restaurants. What are they experiencing? Anything new I should know? Anything that is interesting for my (potential) customers? It never stops :)

Can you share something about yourself that others may not know?
I am a great music lover. I even try to play the piano. I invested in some old vintage tube gear and own two old jukeboxes which I (partially) restored myself. I guess I have a lot of passions, but you understood that one already, right?!

If you could share one piece of advice for other tour or activity operators, what would it be?
Remember you are selling fun, a passion. Be open and flexible. You are never selling “just seats” in a mini-van. Do not think 9 to 5 ; think quality of life.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

New domain "" added

Alsace: Got new domain: "".... fun!

So you can try out
Now what new "email" to make for Alsace?

To be decided later :)


Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Programma wijnreizen 2015

Tourprogramma 2015 (for English please go here)
Onlangs publiceerde JSwinetours haar wijnreis programma voor 2015JSwinetours/JSwijnreizen organiseert wijnreizen op maat voor kleine groepen. Het bedrijf heeft zich gespecialiseerd in de wijngebieden van de Elzas, Bourgogne en Toscane. Naast wijnreizen verzorgt JoliSoleil in 2015 ook stedenreizen en genealogie tours.

Voor 2015 staan drie wijnreizen op het programma waarop iedereen zich kan inschrijven.
Het gaat om twee 5-daagse reizen, een in het voorjaar en een in het najaar, naar Toscane en een eveneens 5-daagse gourmandreis in de Elzas, in het najaar.
Per reis zijn slechts 8 plaatsen beschikbaar.

Wijngourmand reizen 2015
Om gastronomische wijnen echt te leren kennen en waarderen moet men ze drinken in combinatie met gerechten, stelt JSwinetours eigenaar, Jacob Pieter Smits. Een grand cru of een riserva wijn verdient het te worden geproefd in een grande cuisine, daarvoor zijn ze gemaakt. De wijngourmand reizen van JSwinetours combineren daarom de beste wijnen en de mooiste gerechten van een streek. Er wordt geluncht en gedineerd in de toprestaurants van een gebied.

De JSwinetours wijngourmand reizen zijn gelimiteerd tot 8 personen. De tours worden begeleid door professioneel wijntour manager Jacob Pieter Smits. Hij heeft zich gespecialiseerd in 3 wijngebieden; Elzas, Bourgogne en Toscane.
Smits woont al 12 jaar in Noordoost Frankrijk, zeg maar tussen Elzas en Bourgogne. Toscane is al sinds zijn jeugd een vakantiebestemming.

De “wijngourmand planning” voor 2015 is als volgt:
·         Toscane tour I staat gepland van 26-30 mei
·         Elzas tour I staat gepland van 8-12 september
·         Toscane tour II staat gepland van 5-10 oktober

Voor de Elzas reis verblijft men in een 4-sterren hotel bij Colmar.
Voor de Toscane wijnreizen, verblijft men in een 4-sterren hotel in Siena.
Lokaal geschiedt het vervoer met een luxueuze airconditioned minibus.
Een gedetailleerd programma is op aanvraag beschikbaar.

Elzas steden en genealogie reizen
JSwinetours/JSwijnreizen is in 2009 begonnen met het organiseren van wijnreizen.
Daar het over het algemeen privé reizen betreft, werden en worden op verzoek ook bezoeken aan bijvoorbeeld kastelen, huizen en musea in specifieke steden en dorpen gedaan. Een aantal malen werd daarnaast aandacht besteed aan de roots van families die voorvaderen in bijvoorbeeld de Elzas hebben.
Met deze ervaringen in het achterhoofd doet JoliSoleil nu ook “City and Genealogy tours”
Meer informatie staat op de website van JScitytours.

Over JSwinetours - JSwijnreizen
De “JS” in JSwinetours staat voor JoliSoleil of Jacob P. Smits. Smits komt oorspronkelijk uit Nederland. Na zijn immigratie in Frankrijk in 2003 begon Smits met de verhuur en verkoop van vakantiehuizen. Gasten die vanuit hun vakantieadres de wijngebieden van de Elzas of Bourgogne wilden bezoeken vroegen hem ook toen al om tips en begeleiding.
Gaandeweg werd dit steeds belangrijker totdat het in 2009 zijn belangrijkste activiteit werd.

Smits is behalve wijntour manager in Frankrijk en Italië ook beschikbaar voor proeverijen in Nederland en Californië. Hij wordt regelmatig gevraagd als spreker of dagvoorzitter op congressen en evenementen.
Smits is een actieve gebruiker van sociale media en publiceert over “eten en wijn” op zijn Nederlandse en Engelse Blogs.

JSwinetours – JSwijnreizen -JoliSoleil Guided Tours 
Siret 45203853200027
11 route de Lambertfeing
88530 La Forge – France
Telefoon in Frankrijk: +33 (0)9 61 07 52 37
Telefoon in de USA:      +1 0)559 321 72 68

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Events & tourplanning for 2015

Our Alsace and Burgundy daytours and 3-day tours are always available on demand, please check the calendar. (Please find our calendar "id" in the link here.)

Burgundy and Tuscany "more day" private tours are also available on demand.

There are still place available for the:

Luxury Alsace 5-day tour I       :    8 - 12 September 2015
Luxury Tuscany 5-day tour I    :  26 -30 Mai 2015
Luxury Tuscany 5-day tour II  :   5 -10 October 2015

Checkout our press release ! 
Mail or call if you are interested!

Hope to see you too!

Cheers :)
Pieter Smits

Friday, January 23, 2015

Twelve Alsace Rieslings from Bettane+Desseauve

Checkout this post from Bettane+Desseauve about 12 great Rieslings from Alsace.
On the picture a selection.

We have tasted them all. Visit Alsace, tour with us and you can too!

Friday, January 16, 2015

Burgundy: Saint Vincent tournante 2015 - Gilly-Lès-Cîteaux et Vougeot les 24 & 25 janvier 2015,

An old tradition since 1938 organised by the confrérie des Chevaliers du Tastevin.
Apart from flowers there will be 7 cellar in the two villages, with 7 different cuvées to taste.

They will be:
- Les Coteaux Bourguignons millésime 2013
- Bourgogne Aligoté, millésime 2013
- Bourgogne blanc, millésime 2012
- Bourgogne rouge, millésime 2013
- Bourgogne rouge, millésime 2012
- Bourgogne rouge, millésime 2011
- La cuvée mystère de la Saint-Vincent Tournante 2015

The last grand cru will be in one of this 7 cellars, and people will have to try all of them to know where the grand cru is!
At the entrace you can buy a "tasting kit" with a glass and tickets to go to the different cellars.


En 2015 c'est au tour de Gilly-les-Citeaux et Vougeot de celebrer la Saint Vincent tournante

Opening hours
Saturday: 11.15 - 17.00
Sunday: 10.00-17.00

Costs are Euro 15,= per person including tasting glass.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Tuscany Michelin star ratings 2015

The Michelin star ratings 2015 highlight a full six freshly starred restaurants in Tuscany in red here.
The gourmet temples with two stars remain four: Valeria Piccini's Da Caino, Bracali in Massa Marittima, Arnolfo in Colle Val d'Elsa near Siena and Viareggio's Piccolo Principe, which gained its second star right in time for the season 2015.

Il Pellicano on the Monte Argentario coast lost one out of two Michelin trophies since its talented chef left the famous hotel to bring the kitchen of the Mandarin Oriental up to scratch in time for the opening of Milan's Expo 2015.

Tuscany's gourmet classification is still led by Florence' Enoteca Pinchiorri created by chef Annie Féolde - the sole Tuscan restaurant with three Michelin stars.

Valeria Piccini is coming close though from the south of the region with her Da Caino in Montemerano tightly holding on to two Michelin stars, whilst Winter Garden by Caino - her new culinary outpost at the St. Regis hotel in Florence - already gained its first.

source: Mapitout Tuscany

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

What happens in a bottle of wine as it ages?

"It is not completely understood what happens in a bottle of wine as it ages, though there are certain things we know for sure. As a wine evolves, the primary fruitiness evolves toward earthier, more complex odours and flavours. Tannins in red wines become less aggressive. Acidity will also become less present, giving the wine a creamier, smoother texture. White wines, which are more sensitive to oxygen, often acquire nutty aromas."

 Great wines also the whites from Alsace (as on the picture) need to age, so take the risk at least for a couple of years, I would say. You will be rewarded ‪#‎jolisoleil‬
More on the subject here.
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