The little port of Blaye, where the bicycle/running trail begins/ends


After a ‘dry January,’ I’ll be tasting and writing about many wines (and wine regions and food pairings) in the coming weeks. I’ll also run a few livestreams, and will keep you informed. Join my Instagram feed if you want more frequent updates.

All vying for love and affection


With the exception of two celebratory days, I abstained from alcohol for the month of January. After a few days, it’s not difficult. You don’t even think about wine. This, combined with some serious running (on nearby hills and in the countryside past rain soaked vineyards) helped me lose 12 pounds (5 kilograms) of body weight. To lose even more, it will be key to reduce wine in the future months, and to stay active.

Proud to say these two full magnums equal the weight I lost in a month – 12 pounds, or 5 kilos

This morning I began running at 5:20 a.m., wearing a headlamp, wool hat, two upper body layers, shorts and running shoes. The temperature was about 55 degrees F, or 13 degrees C. BUT – after four miles the rain kicked in and the wind howled, and considering I was on a bicycle trail passing remote dark vineyards, I was seriously concerned that hypothermia might kick in. Fortunately, I had a pocket full of mini Bounty bars, which I scarfed down with hungry abandon. Also, it helped to have driven out days ago to stash a water bottle in the grass at mile 4. I sucked that liquid down mighty fast.

Now, how to transition out of detox?

1. CHEF.

With restaurants still closed, and curfew at 6:00 p.m., everyone in France (and much of the world) is cooking at home more. Once again, the chef is myself. However I used a cookbook given to me as a gift by my Napa Valley friends Heather and Brant, titled Mexican Cookery, by Barbara Hansen.

Healthy and delicious

2. DISH.

For lunch—huevos rancheros (ranch eggs) with a sauce called Salsa Picante de Carmen (I know not who Carmen is, but the one Carmen I knew never cooked for me). The sauce is made with four small peeled tomatoes, an onion, a garlic clove and three peeled and seeded chili/jalapeno peppers. Basically, blend these in a food processor so the mixture is still chunky, then bring to the boil and simmer for ten minutes. Pour over a few eggs placed sunny side up on a heated tortilla. Enjoy!

Ranch eggs – Huevos Rancheros

3. WINE.

Time for a bottle of 2018 Château Monlot, a Bordeaux Saint-Émilion Grand Cru. It’s not an obvious pairing—the hot salsa can call for an acidic white, but the buttery eggs call for a royal red wine. I have written about Château Monlot before.

The wine has well layered aromas that include that of caramel, and the taste includes rich red fruit and cocoa. A well balanced beauty.


  1. It’s best to share a great bottle with others, and it helps to share a story. The story of Monlot is that of a renowned and beautiful Chinese actress wanting to invest in a French château, but also wanting it to have both heritage and quality wine. Sounds cliche, but the truth is, Château Monlot does have both.
  2. After a detox, especially when losing weight, it makes no sense to revert to previous drinking patterns if they are in any way excessive. Before the detox ends, makes a plan for your transition to your new phase of life instead of just plunging back into what you did before (for me, I plan to drink only on weekends, and to continue exercising and improving cooking/diet). Make a plan, then stick with it.
  3. Some supermarkets in France (such as LeClerc) have sections that sell Mexican food, including tortillas and salsa. If you are in France and are curious about trying this style of cooking, just ask for ingredients at the local supermarket.
Our little town at dawn

This Post Has One Comment

  1. My friend Scott from Colorado wrote –

    ‘Huevos and red wine! Now you’re talking to me Tommy!’

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