Villa Reflections

Villa Reflections above Panormos Bay

Villa Reflections

Mykonos, Greece

Villa Reflections is a very special and unique property that has 3 bedrooms and sleeps 6 guests. The villa has a contemporary and unusual design; it is modern without compromising the typical Greek Cycladic style. The house, structured on three separate levels, offers views of Panormos Bay and its blue waters.

Villa Reflections kitchen

The spacious kitchen

Every single detail of this villa has been ingeniously designed and arranged with taste. The attractive lap-pool - the core feature of the house - is accessible from every room. The stonewall of the pool within gives an amazing "aquarium" effect from the two large windows on the level below that look into the pool.

The outside terrace around the pool is spacious with modern and quality outdoor settings under a large pergola that enjoys beautiful sea views. This grand house is of a particular character, more suited for those who love modern design and interesting architecture. The nearest beach is Ftelia 1km away.


Wine, Part II

Riquewihr, France

Riquewihr, France

(Let's learn more from our cooking school friends near Lucca.)

The major white grape varieties:
Chardonnay is the grape which produces all great white Burgundy from Chablis to Montrachet, as well as being an important component of Champagne. Chardonnay is widely planted throughout the wine-growing world and both California and Australia produce excellent examples. When the wine is made from low yields it has a rich, buttery character; it is one of the few white varieties that can support fermentation and ageing in oak casks, which gives added complexity to the best wines.

Sauvignon Blanc's home is in Sancerre and Pouilly in the upper Loire valley of France. When grown in cool climates, like the Loire and New Zealand, the wines have a pungent aroma of gooseberries; in hotter climates such as Australia and California, the wines are less assertive and often herbaceous in character.

Riesling produces the best wines in Germany and is also grown in Alsace, Austria, California and Australia, amongst others. The wines are sometimes labeled Rhine or Johannisberg Riesling to distinguish them from Welschriesling, a much inferior grape. Riesling can produce steely dry wines, as in Alsace, right through to late-harvested honeyed, sweet wines from Germany and California.

Semillon is the grape that is principally responsible for the great sweet wines of Sauternes and Barsac in the Bordeaux region of France. Its thin skin makes it susceptible to Botrytis cinerea a form of mold that causes evaporation of much of the water in the grape, thereby increasing the concentration of sugar. It can also produce full-bodied, dry wines with a waxy character, usually the style found in Australia or Californian Semillon.

Muscat is grown throughout the world and can be dry, as is normally the case in Alsace, but is more often found as a sweet wine, with a perfumed, grapey aroma. It is sometimes fortified, often the case in the South of France, Portugal and Australia, and is also responsible for Asti Spumante, the sparkling wine from Piedmont in Italy.


Harvest time

The major red grape varieties:
Cabernet-Sauvignon, the standard-bearer for the great wines of Bordeaux, is in fact always blended with other varieties there. But it is grown very successfully, and is often unblended, in most of the major vineyard regions of the world California, Australia, South America, Italy and Bulgaria. Cabernet-Sauvignons generally have good color and a distinctive blackcurrant fruit flavor.

Merlot is the most widely planted variety in Bordeaux, where it produces the great Pomerols like Petrus and Le Pin. It is also grown successfully elsewhere, particularly in California. Merlots are generally softer and more rounded than Cabernets, with rich, plummy fruit flavors.

Pinot Noir is the cornerstone of red Burgundy and constitutes an important part of the Champagne vineyards. It has not been so successfully planted elsewhere as other classic varieties; it is best suited to cool climates where it generally produces lightly colored wines with soft, flowery, fruit flavors.

Gamay produces the fruity, raspberry-jam tasting wines of Beaujolais, most of which are best drunk within 2-3 years of the vintage. It is also grown in California, not to be confused with Gamay Beaujolais, which is actually a clone of Pinot Noir.

Syrah (or Shiraz) is the grape that produces Hermitage and Cote-Rotie in the Rhone valley of France, and is extremely successful in Australia; Grange Hermitage generally fetches the highest price of any Australian wine. The wines are deeply colored with a spicy, minerally character.

Nebbiolo is the grape of Piemonte in northwestern Italy where it produces the wines of Barolo and Barbaresco powerful, high in tannin with flavors of tar and licorice.

Zinfandel, grown almost exclusively in California, produces rich wines full of blackberry fruit, although it is also used for white and "blush" (pink) wines.

Wine and Food Matching:
Many food and wine combinations are just the result of history and/or geography. The two basic criteria to follow are complement and contrast. A strong or spicy tasting food will overpower a light wine in the same way that a rich, full-bodied wine will overwhelm light foods; Chablis is perfect with shellfish, but would not stand up to game. Good contrasts would be a wine made from Sauvignon Blanc, with high acidity, and smoked salmon, which is naturally oily, or red Bordeaux, with its dry tannins, and lamb, which is sweet and fatty. Garlic kills the aroma and taste of red wine so a dish of escargot should always be accompanied by white wine.

When choosing wines to match specific dishes, remember it is not just a question of selecting a wine to go with a particular meat or fish; the sauce in which they are cooked can be even more important. Cream or butter based sauces usually need wines with good acidity rather than high alcohol to cut the richness. Some tastes are almost impossible to match, such as vinegar, the natural antithesis of wine. The best answer is probably a full-bodied, dry white with low acidity. Chocolate can also distort the flavor of most wines, but a sweet, fortified Muscat, such as those from Australia or California, will be a fine accompaniment. Most wines will taste very different when drunk with food than when tasted on their own. After champagne be sure to cleanse your palate with a bit of bread and a mouthful of water before testing a red wine.

The increasing consumption of wine on its own has contributed to the popularity of New World wines, many of which, with their ripe, sweet fruit flavors, are at their best with simple roast or grilled dishes. By contrast, many Italian red wines can taste somewhat dry and astringent on their own, but soften dramatically when drunk with a cuisine based on olive oil.

If you are serving several different wines during the course of a meal, there are really three criteria to try and follow: dry before sweet, light before fuller bodied and young before old."



The island of Mykonos

Mykonos, Greece

The island of Mykonos has become one of the top vacation destinations in the world. It's magnificent, clean beaches offer the clear blue waters of the south Aegean Sea where you can enjoy windsurfing, sailing, and numerous seaside tavernas filled with happy music and hospitable people. Numerous Greek and international celebrities have residences in Mykonos and can often be seen walking the charming white-washed roads or enjoying dinner at a small street-side table. The nightlife is particularly inviting, and you'll find the island gay friendly as well.

Port of Hora

Port of Hora on Mykonos

The island is now home to almost 10,000 people. It was ruled during the Middle Ages by Italians before becoming an independent community in 1615, and in the 1820's it took a leading role in Greece's uprising against the Turks. In the 1930's many famous artists, politicians and wealthy Europeans began spending holidays on the island, and today you'll find it very cosmopolitan, with the main economic engine being the development of tourism. Mykonos Town is a captivating network of lanes and squares, houses and balconies, churches and museums, and is the starting point for various excursions to other islands that are fun to explore.

The island is one of the most upscale areas of Greece, and its real estate is very expensive. Lucky for you we now have some lovely properties there that you can rent by the week. Just like "Shirley Valentine" (one of my favorite movies), you can now easily escape to this romantic and unique destination.


Villa Scogliera

Villa Scogliera on the Amalfi coast

Villa Scogliera

Positano, Italy

Villa Scogliera is a unique sea-side residence enjoying a splendid location at the edge of Positano, one of the most picturesque beach resorts on the Amalfi Coast. The Villa is doubtless one of the most prestigious homes on the whole Amalfi coast. Its unique position, architecture and history combine to make it a masterpiece framed by the charming village of Positano on one side and breathtaking views from east to west. Villa Scogliera sleeps 11 in four double bedrooms and three single bedrooms with six and a half bathrooms. There is private access to the public beach below. This villa is an excellent choice for a group that desires privacy as well as the opportunity to be all together in one place.

"Incredible Place! The cook was sensational. Great experience!"

- EG, Los Angeles, CA.



A beautiful side dish!

Italian Sausage, Mushroom, and Sage Stuffing

5 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
10 cups unseasoned dry bread cubes
1 Tbsp olive oil
¾ lb mild Italian sausages
1 lb cremini mushrooms, wiped or brushed clean, stems trimmed, and quartered
1 large yellow onion (about 12 oz) chopped
2 large carrots, peeled and chopped
2 large ribs celery, chopped
½ cup minced fresh parsley
1 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves
1 Tbsp minced fresh sage
1 tsp salt
Freshly ground pepper
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
4 cups chicken stock or canned low-sodium chicken broth

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a deep, 9 X 13 inch baking pan with 1 Tbsp butter, and set aside. Place the bread cubes in a very large mixing bowl. In a 10 inch sauté pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat, and swirl to coat the pan. Cook the sausages until nicely browned on all sides Remove and let cool. Drain all but 3 Tbsp of the fat. Add the mushrooms to the pan and sauté, stirring frequently until lightly browned, about 4 minutes. Add to the bread in the bowl.

Return the pan to the heat, and add the remaining 4 Tbsp butter. Swirl to coat the pan, and add the onion, carrots, and celery. Sauté, stirring frequently, until soft and lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the parsley, thyme, sage, salt and a few grinds of pepper, and sauté 1 minute longer. Add this mixture to the bread cubes, and stir to combine.

Cut the reserved sausages into ¼ inch rounds and add to the stuffing. Add the beaten eggs and stock to the bowl, and mix well. Place the stuffing in the prepared pan and bake, uncovered, until the top is lightly browned and crusty, about 1 hour.


Emmanuel de Ricard


Dear Travelers and Friends,

After a warm and sunny summer here in the Pacific Northwest, we find ourselves in the middle of the fall season and our minds start wandering back to images of beaches and warmer climes. If you are thinking along the same lines, Puerto Vallarta or the Caribbean may be perfect for a fall getaway.

Although most of our properties in those areas are booked for the November-December time period, we do have occasional cancellations. This is good news if you're considering a last-minute jaunt to paradise. And with our new "Check Availability" button on each individual property page, it's easy to check availability for a specific villa, apartment or condominium.

Not quite ready for the beach yet? How about an autumn trip to Tuscany or Greece? It's the "low season" there right now, so imagine very few tourists, quaint villages, and the friendly and welcoming atmosphere of southern Europe. With an average daytime temperature of 61 degrees Fahrenheit in late autumn, it is still warm enough to experience a walk amidst the fall colors. Then, come back to your villa to sip one of the regional wines next to a cozy fireplace. Go mushroom hunting and bring back the spoils for your cook to prepare a savory dish for the evening meal. Visit the uncrowded antique markets or attend a village festival.

We just added a number of new listings in Mykonos, Greece! Check them out at

Bon Voyage!

Emmanuel de Ricard, President

For a little laugh

Shortly after our wedding, my wife and I paid a visit to her hometown, London. After the plane landed, Tania headed for the British passport-holder's line, while I waited in the foreigners' queue. "State the purpose of your trip," the customs officer said to me. "Pleasure," I replied. "I'm on my honeymoon." The officer looked first to one side of me, then the other. "Interesting," he said as he stamped my passport. "Most men bring their wives with them."

- Tom Milburn

My friend was looking at home gym equipment with her husband. She stepped on a treadmill and said, "Honey, if you bought this for me, I would look like I did in high school." "Sweetheart," he said gently, "it's a treadmill, not a time machine."

- Reader's Digest


buffalo and car

May I see your license?


Newsletter Editor: Kathy Hayes

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