Since the previous post, I have been tasting a lot of wine... Less sipping and more scribbling must be in order. For now, I'll just go into high gear and give the blitz rundown.
Sunday, Nov. 12, accounted for here with said galoots.
Monday, Nov. 13, dinner at home with Arnaud's mother, who came to Paris. Rosé champagne from Bruno Paillard (subtle) and 2004 Chinon "Coteau de Noiré" - Philippe Alliet (infanticide!).
Tuesday, Nov. 14, dinner once more here with Arnaud's mother; a 2005 Riesling - Château d'Orschwihr, delicious and zippy; a 2004 Chablis from the Domaine Hamelin with my New England clam chowder, quite tasty.
Wednesday, Nov. 15. My birthday! Drive down through the center of France, taste Quincy and Reuilly wines, chat with young and vigorous producer Valéry Renaudat, who spent 6 months in Oregon watching them dump sugar into wine and came back and thanked God for little crooked streets and green, unoaked wine. That night, dinner at a Michelin * in the middle of nowhere, the Berry, at a restaurant in Issoudun written about by Balzac. One of the three best meals of my life. Wines the best we could afford, which were not bad a'tall. I hope to be able to recount in more detail so will keep mum for now.
Thursday, Nov. 16, Sancerre. Tastings at Roger & Didier Raimbault, a disappointment compared to the promising 2004 red we tasted in Paris a couple of months ago, and at Pascal Thomas, our grumbly but brilliant and kind favorite vintner. Pick up a couple of cases of Réserve Spéciale 2005. That goes like hotcakes in our house...
Friday, Nov. 17, Oenology class, tastings of 2000 Rosé de Riceys - Alexandre Bonnet, a 1999 Château Coufran, easy-drinking cru bourgeois, and a curious, nutty 2001 Coteaux de l'Aubance from the Domaine du Montgilet. And afterward, zooming over to an unpredictable restaurant/bar in the Viaduc des Arts for drinks with Philippe and Vianney and a couple of former classmates of Vianney's from Lebanon and Vietnam. Drink a tasty white Minervois (yes! unbelievable, but quite nice) and a youngish, generic-ish St. Véran.
Saturday, Nov. 18, the BIG Burgundy tasting at Augé. Bizot, Burguet, Derain, Maréchal, Pacalet, Prieuré Roch, Valette, Tremblay... We go home after lunch and take a nap, then drive out to the Mayenne region and have dinner at Arnaud's parents, also with our friend Philippe. Drink 2000 Bonnezeaux, 2002 Meursault 1er cru "Charmes" - Jobard-Morey, 1996 Sancerre red from Pascal Thomas (also a favorite of Arnaud's parents'), 1993 Châteauneuf-du-Pape - Domaine de la Côte de l'Ange, and some aged calvados.
Sunday, Nov. 19, drive down to Chinon and taste the 2004 rosé and 2005 Chinon - Domaine de Détilly. Then hang out with Yvon Blandin and taste the 1987 Chinon and the 1985. The latter unfortunately corked, but the former full of vibrancy and no signs of fraying or age. Lunch with the whole clan, a big coq au vin meal with the 2005 to go along.
Monday, Nov. 20, oh, what the heck anyway, the first calm night at home, so why not open a... 2002 Saint-Romain "Sous le Château" - Christophe Violot-Guillemard. A delicious surprise, full of red fruits and silky structure, a real vin de plaisir.
Tuesday, Nov. 21, vinous epiphany: the Galoots (of previous post) are back in town and come over for dinner. I can still taste the 1987 Ridge Montebello... Not to mention the 1990 Château Figeac... Not to mention the 1999 Pommard "Pézerolles" - De Montille... Not to mention the NV Jean Vesselle rosé Champagne "Oeil de Perdrix"... Or the 1999 Châteauneuf-du-Pape white - Clos des Papes.
Wednesday, Nov. 22, who would have imagined I'd be drinking white Châteauneufs two days in a row? But yes, it was once again oenology class, and we tasted a 2005 Châteauneuf-du-Pape white from the Domaine du Vieil Calcernier, a domain run by a woman with a certain flair. Delicious young, fresh white Châteauneuf.
OK. I will stop for a second. Catch my breath.
And then tomorrow, we head out to the Salon des Vignerons Indépendants. God preserve my liver...