food / travel

Roses In A Bottle: Wine (And Champagne) Picked For Valentine's Day

On Feb. 14, France matches up two of its specialties: romance and wine.

On the vine at Chateau Calon Segur (filtran)
On the vine at Chateau Calon Segur (filtran)
Bernard Burtschy

"I make wine in Latour and Lafite, but my heart is in Calon," said the Marquis de Segur, a well-known 17th century property owner nicknamed the Prince of Vineyards. Since then, the label of the prestigious vintage of Saint-Estephe has a heart on it, making it the wine of choice for Valentine's Day. To paraphrase famed French writer Edmond Rostand: There is no love but in the shade of a great wine.

The Chateau Calon Segur used Valentine's Day to secure a deal with 20 major French restaurants: They will create their Feb. 14 menu around the famous wine. It would be fascinating to compare Eric Frechon's (Le Bristol), Eric Briffard's (Le George V) and George Klein's (L'Arnrbourg) interpretations of love.

Beautifully located in the South Western region of Gironde, the Calon Segur is managed by Denise Capbern-Gasqueton. In 10 years, she has brought the wine back to the levels it had achieved in its glory years of the 1950s and 1960s.

Meanwhile, the Billecart-Salmon champagne has established a successful "Say it with bubbles" operation. In 300 restaurants, couples will get half a bottle of their famous brut-rose and will also get a chance to enter a competition and win gifts.

Rose champagne is always a hit for Valentine's Day. Duval-Leroy dressed its Lady Rose vintage "with an elegant and impertinent shocking pink dress and a delicate flower stitching." With a 25g/l dosage, this vintage, already popular in restaurants, will be sold as a special collector's edition for about 60 euros.

The ultimate gift

Still in the rose champagnes, Pol Roger made his own collector's box in association with restaurants, adding a pocket mirror as a gift. Other gift boxes include Henri Abele and champagnes from local producers. Rose champagne is the ultimate gift for this special day.

All vintages whose names have any sort of Valentine's Day twist are having specials. Some good deals include the roses L'Allegresse du chateau Bellevue La Foret (Fronton, 7.40 euros) and Le Plaisir de Mas Miel (Cotes-du-roussillon, 8.50 euros), the wines L'amant du chateau Saint-Amand (Sauternes, 19 euros), Caprice de Bastor Lamontagne (Sauternes 12 euros) and Gentil de la cave de Pfaffenheim (Alsace, 6 euros).

As for restaurants, other than the 20 locations for the Calon Segur and the 300 for Billecart-Salmon, independent wine producers from the Eastern Alsace region are also giving out half bottles of their gewürztraminer in their partner restaurants for couples to enjoy at home. The reason: the gewürztraminer, one of Alsace's seven grape varieties, is known for its rose aroma, the symbol of love. Their slogan: "Alsace's independent wine producers give you roses in a bottle."

Photo credit - (filtran)

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A Mother In Spain Denied Child Custody Because She Lives In Rural Area

A court in Spain usurps custody of the one-year-old boy living with his mother in the "deep" part of the Galicia region, forced to instead live with his father in the southern city of Marbella, which the judge says is "cosmopolitan" with good schools and medical care. Women's rights groups have taken up the mother's case.

A child in Galician countryside

Laure Gautherin

A Spanish court has ordered the withdrawal of a mother's custody of her one-year-old boy because she is living in the countryside in northwestern Spain, where the judge says the child won't have "opportunities for the proper development of his personality."

The case, reported Monday in La Voz de Galicia, has sparked outrage from a women's rights association but has also set off reactions from politicians of different stripes across the province of Galicia, defending the values of rural life.

Judge María Belén Ureña Carazo, of the family court of Marbella, a city on the southern coast of 141,000 people, has ordered the toddler to stay with father who lives in the city rather than with his mother because she was living in "deep Galicia" where the child would lack opportunities to "grow up in a happy environment."

Front page of La Voz de Galicia - October 25, 2021

Front page of La Voz de Galicia - Monday 25 October, 2021

La Voz de Galicia

Better in a "cosmopolitan" city?

The judge said Marbella, where the father lives, was a "cosmopolitan city" with "a good hospital" as well as "all kinds of schools" and thus provided a better environment for the child to thrive.

The mother has submitted a formal complaint to the General Council of the Judiciary that the family court magistrate had acted with "absolute contempt," her lawyer told La Voz de Galicia.

The mother quickly accumulated support from local politicians and civic organizations. The Clara Campoamor association described the judge's arguments as offensive, intolerable and typical of "an ignorant person who has not traveled much."

The Xunta de Galicia, the regional government, has addressed the case, saying that any place in Galicia meets the conditions to educate a minor. The Socialist party politician Pablo Arangüena tweeted that "it would not hurt part of the judiciary to spend a summer in Galicia."

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