Thursday, February 28, 2008
A flush of Pulignys
It's been so nice out in Paris that the birds are singing in my courtyard. Sunday, under blue skies that were dipping into sundown at the end of the day, Arnaud and I left the house to go meet up with Michel and his friend for a drink by the Canal Saint-Martin. Suddenly we realized we were stopping before a Vélib' bicycle stand. We took bikes and hopped on them, pedaling off across the Pont de Sully toward Bastille and beyond.
When we got to the Canal, we headed for Le Verre Volé, which is one of my favorite wine bars/restaurants. As we entered, however, a disconcerting vision met my gaze: yellow post-its on every table except one - a two-seater. Gulp. Arnaud spoke to the waiter: yes, if we were really four and not two, then there was nothing before 11:15pm.
Back out on the sidewalk, teased by bottles of Cornas and Volnay in the window, I pulled at my lip. Michel and his friend showed up, and we plotted our next step. A quick phone call to a friend in the 11th arrondissement for inspiration and we were off: Astier! Of course.
And so, at Astier, we "found our happiness" as the French would say, in the form of a traditional, good-humored and tasty repast, along with two Burgundies, red and white.
2004 J.-M. Boillot Puligny-Montrachet - I had never had a wine from J.-M. Boillot before. Now I am going to make a point of it, and a habit. This village Puligny was a brilliant, cut-jewel beauty. Incisive, yet evolving on the palate into a round bauble of tiny white flowers, lemon, cream, butter, and walnuts, I was in love.
1998 Jacques Prieur Beaune 1er Cru "Clos de la Féguine" - This we ordered early on so the sommelier (nice, knowledgeable and good-humored) could decant it. When we later poured our first glass, the nose that leapt out was of a swoon-worthy, plush Burgundian redness. Swirl, taste. Unfortunately, it was closed on the palate, with a suggestive, red-fruit attack - and then a sharp metallic tang and a clipped finish.
But we took our time, talked, ate our dishes (lovely aromas of guinea hen wafted over from my neighbor's dish, as I got to eat tête de veau for the second day in a row - here, a rustic version in a small enamel pot).
The Beaune, with time and air, smoothed out and became quite suave, teasing itself out into a red ribbon of silky Beaune-ness. Mm...
When we came back to the Puligny with the cheese course, it too had fleshed out. A delicious new look at it; I liked both of its incarnations.
Oh, and as for the title of this post... I just may be drinking another fine Puligny in the next couple of days, while I'm at it...