Here Comes the Rain Again

Posted on January 31, 2012


Summer and Winter in Chamonix Mont-Blanc


It has warmed up to the mid to high 30’s in Juneau with rain and I am having difficulty motivating myself to go for a ski. The Mendenhall Campground is probably still okay for a skate ski, but getting rained on while skiing is not very much fun. It is better than not skiing at all and at the rate it is snowing and melting, we may not have any skiing before long.

Thoughts of finding a dry place to get on skis are creeping in and the first place that comes to mind is the mountain commune of Chamonix Mont-Blanc in the Rhône-Alpes region of France. The area is a mecca for snow sport enthusiasts of all kinds and connects to an extensive system of Alpine ski huts that connect to the Swiss Alps. Across the Italian border, Mont-Blanc is known as Courmayeur and there are countless ski areas and villages that can be traversed to from one another. The distance from the ocean and elevation practically ensures that precipitation will fall dry even when the thermometer hovers around freezing temperatures.

The wines that fall within this region include Rhone wines and the Southern part of Beaujolais. The Northern part of Beaujolais falls within the South of Burgundy. Another wine growing district that is closer to Chamonix-Mt. Blanc is the Haute-Savoie. The wines of Savoie are primarily white, but there are some reds that are produced in the area with Gamay, Pinot Noir and Mondeuse grapes. So it seems that a visit to the French Alps would not fall short of satisfying two of my three interests.

The reality is that I am here in Juneau, it’s raining, and I am mustering to get rained on while I go for a skate ski. In the meantime I have begun preparations for dinner.

This morning I dug some Bristol Bay, Alagnak River caught moose cuts out of the freezer. Two good sized pieces with cross-cut marrow bones in the middle will do nicely for a meal of Osso Bucco that is already slowly braising in the oven.

Chateau d'Oupia 2007 Les Heretiques

We just got a wine order that came in on the barge and I am excited to try something that I think was a wise purchase, but that remains to be seen. When it comes to selecting wines I sometimes feel as if I am shooting in the dark, but I do try to use some tried and true methods to choose at least reasonably well. One is to look for wines from favorite importers whose other wines have made a positive impression on me. That is the sole approach employed in choosing this wine, that and the fact that it was a great deal. For $8 I was able to purchase a Louis/Dressner selected wine from Chateau d’Oupia produced by the Iche family with Carignan grapes from 40-year old vines. The wine is a Vin de Pays, or table wine, from the Languedoc called Les Heretiques. Considering the price, I think it will be hard to go wrong on this one and if it tastes terrible, we can always save it to use for cooking.

Time to go get wet.