Wednesday, May 16, 2007

The mysteries of Alain's palate

I've mentioned Alain before. A generous guy, something of a wild card; Arnaud's combative tennis partner and former coworker, who can give us a bottle of Cheval Blanc or stab Arnaud in the back, you never know...

He likes wine, has a nice cellar in the 15th arrondissement of Paris. So when, this weekend, we all went up to Normandy to stay in Marc's country place - there were nine of us - and Arnaud and I got stuck at the market finding ripe pears for my dessert of pears poached in red wine, it was Alain and Nicolas who bought all the wine for the weekend.

It was all Bordeaux! Nom d'une pipe!

Now, I'm not saying it wasn't good, and I won't name names to protect innocent châteaux, but by noon Sunday, I was driving to Cabourg with Arnaud to go to the nice little independent wine shop I'd seen there on a previous visit. The plan was to woo Alain's palate with a good bottle of Burgundy.

But somehow I got enthralled with the sight of a 2004 Château de la Gardine Châteaneuf-du-Pape, which I'd tasted and loved, so that got thrown in too with the Burgundy, which, for lack of a wider selection turned out to be one of the 2004's from Joseph Drouhin's lineup, a Chorey-lès-Beaune. I knew this was not going to be the wine to break through the dark clouds lining the horizon of Alain's palate, but when we got back and opened it in the solarium at Marc's house, where the long glass table sat waiting for us to come have lunch, I was impressed with the Chorey. Pure, light fruit, a nice little well-crafted wine with bright red fruit. Mm.

Well, needless to say, over lunch, as he brought the glass to his lips and ate a bite of veal, Alain shook his head and said, "I tried."

And he went on to add that he hated Syrah. Hopefully, he said, there was none in the Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Um...

So that also fell on deaf lips.

And as ever, I'm reminded that you cannot convert people to or from anything. As the old joke about psychiatrists changing a lightbulb concludes, "Just one, but the lightbulb has to want to change."

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