Welcome to binNotes foray into Monthly Wine Writing Contest
by: L.M. Archer, FWS
Blame it on the drunken cyclist, who started this whole bloody contest. As one of his legion of followers, of course I’m coercible – at least this month. Yes, this month’s clever little Monthly Wine Writing Challenge, devised by last month’s winner confessionsofawinegeek.com, begs attention, like my adorable mascot Lucca. This month’s topic? Feast.
Lucca – the power behind binNotes wine barrel.
It’s pretty simple: Food + Wine = Feast. My recent trip to Burgundy confirms this.
Not just any trip to Burgundy. No – a Masters Level Immersion Program in Bourgogne Wine through the French Wine Society, conducted by Bureau Interprofessionnel des Vins de Bourgogne (BIVB.)
A program steeped in classroom, négotiant, domaine and co-op visits, fueled by quintessentially French multi-course luncheons and dinners. For a lactose-intolerant, non-meat eating lightweight inbiber (* 2 oz. leaves me tipsy; 4 oz. illegible), the trip sounded anything but a feast.
And yet, like any hero’s journey, this one involves crossing a threshold from one’s ordinary world (Seattle) to endure tests (viz., much feasting), descent into an inner cave ( …MANY inner caves…) confronting of demons (see above*), emerging triumphant with
boon (bottles) to share with one’s tribe (i.e., under-appreciated, over-inebriated wine and food writers of the world.)
In short, a tale not of sound and fury, but of mirth and feast – much feast.
Let us begin, then, as all stories do – at the beginning:
Part I: Crossing the threshold….
D. Thibert Catered Luncheon: First course – Vegetable terrine.
D. Thibert Main Course: White fish and lentil-stuffed tomatoes.
Domaine Thibert: Salmon Tartare and Seafood Terrine.
The Masters of Bourgogne, immersed in dinner.
Restaurant L’Ecusson: First course: Chesnut soup with poached eggs.
A typical Burgundian cheese course, served after the main course and prior to dessert.
Restaurant le Montrachet Dessert Course: Poached figs.
La Maison table d’hôte du D. Trapet cheese course.| Image: L.M. Archer©2013
We’re not in Seattle anymore, Toto. No, we are in Burgundy, i.e., Bourgogne. This means rigorous days of BIVB class studies, followed by classroom tastings, followed by field visits, followed by field tastings…more feasting at wine-paired luncheons…more field visits, more field tastings, more feasting at wine-paired dinners…Whew. I try diligently to take one for the team.
I sip. I spit. I feast. I pray I can keep up as I ‘mind my head’ descending into domaine and négotiant innermost caves….
Part 2: Entrance of the cave(s)…
The caves of M. Bouchard Père et Fils in Beaune.| Image: L.M. Archer©2013
Caves of D. de Bellene, Beaune.| Image: L.M. Archer©2013
The barrel rooms of D. Jean Chartron in Puligny-Montrachet.| Image: L.M. Archer©2013
The caves of D. Coste Caumartin, Pommard.| Image: L.M. Archer©2013
The barrel room of D. Thibert Pere et Fils, Fuissé.| Image: L.M. Archer©2013
The caves of D. Coste Caumartin, Pommard. Note the gravel floor.| Image: L.M. Archer©2013
Barrel and mallet in the caves of D. du Clos Frantin – Albert Bichot.| Image: L.M. Archer©2013
The caves of D. du Clos Frantin – Albert Bichot.| Image: L.M. Archer©2013
‘Minding one’s head'(…minds out of gutters, dear readers…right now…): the first test to entering Burgundy’s wine caves. Specifically, ducking through small cave entrances built centuries ago – back when men were small, wine casks large, and per capita wine consumption even larger.
Once inside, the next test: avoiding moisture-laden, mold-covered, cobweb-strewn limestone walls. In some cases, only candles light the way as we crunch along the gravelled floors. Practical, those gravel floors – maintaining temperatures, and serving as ad-hoc spittoons in a pinch.
Despite an errant head bump or slimey hand-swipe along the wall, it’s now time to feast on some of the wines stacked along the cave walls.
Part 3: Return with the
So many Burgundies – so little time!
Feast Your Eyes on this: D. du Comte Liger-Belair Vosne-Romanée 2008 Clos du Château
From the caves of Bouchard Pere & Fils to our table: Grand Cru Chapelle-Chambertin 2006.
Another lovely Chablis: D. Barat Chablis Premier Cru ‘Cote de Lechet’.
One elegant white Burgundy: Clotilde Davenne Chablis Grand Cru 2008 ‘Les Preuses’
Macon Chardonnay at its finest: D. Marc Jambon & Fils – 2001 Macon Pierreclos.Noblesss du Chardonnay ‘Le Roche.’
Another day at the office…typical BIVB wine tasting line up.| Image: L.M. Archer©2013
D. Gaston & Pierre Ravaut 2009 Ladoix ‘Clos Royer’.
A example of a monopole produced wine; D. Theulot Juillot ‘La Cailloute’, Mercurey Premier Cru Pinot Noir.
More quality white Burgundy worth drinking: Jean-Claude Boisset 2010 Puligny-Montrachet ‘Le Trezin.’
White Burgundy of elegance: Patrick Javillier 2010 Meursault ‘Les Clousots.’
White Burgundy at its finest: D. Marc Morey & Fils Chassagne-Montrachet Premier Cru – Morgeot.
A trio of red wines from D. du Meix Foulot in Mercurey.| Image: L.M. Archer©2013
Feast your eyes, dear readers, on the treasures of Burgundy’s Aladdin-like caves. Nothing better than a Grand Cru served at cave temperature by candle-light, shared by a wine maker with roots to Burgundy spanning several generations.
And what a feast of vineous treasures! These caves hold the seat of Burgundy’s soul, wines time-honed and terroir-timbred in each garnet gulp. A feast best shared, not hoarded. Santé!
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Copyrighted 2013. All Rights Reserved.
BIVB – Brigitte Houdeline, Director & Jean-Pierre Renard, Guide
French Wine Society
D. de Bellene
D. Bouchard Père et Fils
D. Thibert Père & Fils
D. de la Croix de Senaillet
D. du Meix Foulot
D. Jean Chartron
D. Bersan – Pierre Louis & Jean-François
D. Trapet Père & Fils
D. du Clos Frantin – Albert Bichot
L’Ermitage de Corton
Le Bistrot des Grands Crus
Le Bitrot du Bord de l’Eau
Le Clos du Cèdre
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