Author Archives for Betty Carlson

Is White Zin a Sin?


The town: Olympia, Washington, USA
The time: The mid-eighties, before Olympia — or any of its inhabitants, for that matter — had become hopelessly hip.
The characters: Me and anyone I was out having a drink with.
The situation: I felt pretty chic in the local bars,  because while everybody else was drinking rum and coke or margeritas, […]

Boudin Blanc for Christmas in France


Here in France, the land of elaborate holiday meals, I used to put myself out making complicated dishes for my family’s traditional Christmas Eve dinner. Over the past few years, however, we have adopted “boudin blanc”, a plump white sausauge filled with ground chicken, veal or pork mixed with egg, milk and soft bread crumbs. It is […]

Coming Soon to French Schools?


 While the French government hasn’t gone so far as to set up wine-tasting sessions in classrooms, a recent report released by the governing UMP party suggests that “wine classes” starting as early as primary school could help boost France’s sagging wine industry.
The document ”calls for young people to be taught the history and qualities of various types of French wine,” explains […]

Viognier: Fun French Facts


It’s hard to believe, but in the France of the early 60s, viognier grew on a tiny space of 30 hectares; just for Condrieu  (8 hectares!), Château-grillet and Côte-rôtie. In the 1980s, the variety started to be used in Côtes-du-Rhône wines, and its production now covers well over 2500 hectares in France.
It is the unique grape […]

Beaujolais nouveau or Gaillac primeur? A Random Comparative Tasting


Hats off to Gaillac wine producers for making their primeur  wine a commercial success. I would say that here in Southwest France, it has almost dethroned Beaujolais nouveau.
So far, I’ve tasted one Gaillac primeur, from the Domaine de Labarthe , and was impressed by its structure and complexity. With notes of slightly peppered dark cherries — or […]

Today Isn’t Just About Beaujolais


Le Touraine primeur est arrivé! As well as le Gaillac nouveau and other “new” wines which compete — in France, at least — with the tried and true Beaujolais nouveau.
500,000 bottles of Touraine primeur  wine will be marketed in France. Although this represents a small percentage of Loire Valley wines, Touraine primeur has enjoyed  AOC status since […]

Le Beaujolais Nouveau: The French Press Reacts


It will be “very fruity and full…with tastes of raspberry and currant,”  the news magazine Le Nouvel Observateur tells us here in France. The “promising”  2006 new wine is a success, according to journalist Carole Bianchi – although the title of the article refers to the “persistent economic crisis”  facing French wines.
Le Monde, in an article simply entitled “Le beaujolais […]

Walla Walla, Washington Hits the Wine Map


 It used to be “the town so nice they named it twice.” Then it became famous for its onions, “Walla Walla Sweets.”  Now Walla Walla, a bucolic college town in the south-eastern corner of Washington State, is making it in the wine world — in a big way.
Washington State is the second-biggest wine producer in the […]

European Time Features Wine Worries


It’s hard to fight against the law of supply and demand, and the October 30th issue of Time magazine’s European edition features an in-depth cover article about how economics are wreaking havoc in the wine market. From France to Australia, winemakers are feeling the pinch as consumption, although increasing overall, cannot keep up with the […]

Wood Chips in French Wine? Don�t Be So Sure!


In March, Wine Sediments reported on the controversial decision to let French winemakers use wood chips in order to better compete with �New World� wines. Hold on, Simon. The decision may well never be applied to the best French wines. The INAO (Institut National des Appellations d�Origine) has just announced, to the astonishment of French […]

Betty Carlson

A native of the Pacific Northwest, Betty Carlson has worked, cooked and raised a family in France for the past 17 years. She currently lives in Southwest France where she teaches college English and does freelance writing in her "free time."