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.
It’s pretty simple: Food + Wine = Feast. My recent trip to Burgundy confirms this.
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….
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)…
‘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
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