Thursday, January 28, 2010
It was a month and a half ago, back in the dim gloom of mid-December, as the days were pulling tight and the dark, cold curtain of night fell with its heavy, blunt blade earlier and earlier...
(I should cue some atmospheric music or something. How about bluegrass? Nah.)
I went out to Le Verre Volé for warmth and boudin noir with fellow wine tippler Rahsaan M. (though I should note that he is not a fellow boudin noir enthusiast, despite an unexpected openness to tasting a tiny dab on the end of a knife). As is the wont of inveterate lushes the world over, we began the evening with champagne and moved on to darker fare, and against all reason, a third bottle for two.
Which he suggested should be a 2006 Champ-Levat Mondeuse. Now, my experiences with Mondeuse had gone from the catastrophic – a cooked mess of a bottle picked up on a lark at a shop in New York renowned for poor storage, in 2004, back when I'd had to ask what a Mondeuse was, by gum – to the pleasing – young fare from Franck Peillot at last spring's Louis/Dressner tasting. But it wasn't something I thought it'd be worth giving my liver the sock for.
However, it was. This silky purple thing, with piquant tannins but much peppery lushness, was like a mountain Syrah. It was so pretty, so lovely, so empty, by the end.
So it came to pass that a few weeks later, as the days were getting longer, but damn, it was still flippin' cold out, friends and I found ourselves at Le Bistrot Paul Bert, where after a fine 2005 Villemade Cheverny "Bodice," I jumped up and down like a monkey (well, verbally) insisting the Champ-Levat Mondeuse was the thing to try.
It did not disappoint, and even though the context was different and the foodstuffs dissimilar (I was eating a yea-big andouillette stuffed with coarsely chopped tripe, alongside gratin dauphinois), that unexpected elegance was there. That river of purple. That soulful bramble.
I can't wait to have this again.