Saturday, June 25, 2011
Friday, June 24, 2011
Thursday, June 23, 2011
Our apartment in Paris was on Rue de Seine, a narrow street full of art galleries. What a pleasant surprise. And right next door, a gallery run by the most amazing lady. In her 90's bent over but still healthy and quick as can be. She showed us some of the artwork from the artists under her, and one stood out. By Aniça Marini, this is Petit ange pianiste, a work under the collection La musique. Absolutely beautiful, especially after the matting was put in.
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
And so a walk through Paris and Reims was over just like that. I still don't know how to answer people who ask, what was your favourite thing about Paris? It's a personal thing, traveling, isn't it. Don't you feel like it's wrong if you can summarize everything you've experienced? Anyways, back to work.
But not before a final look at The Sleeping Satyr. Penis.
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
What is it about a wine that makes it singular? Surely, it's more than bouquet and flavours . . . experiencing wine must be much more than just those two taste perceptions. I don't think we pay enough attention to how wine makes you feel. Not the effects of alcohol, but how the wine feels as it passes through you, as odd as that may sound.
I had a bit of an epiphany as I was drinking my first Lapierre Morgon. Maybe it's the way it was farmed (biodynamically), maybe it was the way it was handled in the cellar (indigenous yeasts, minimal oak, no sulfur), but the wine passes through you effortlessly. It's like that first, deep breath of salty sea air you inhale after a 2 hour drive to the Atlantic coast. It's a wine that is utterly in tune to the energies of your body and with nature and with this earth.
Crazy? Most definitely, but this wine evokes something much deeper than just a cursory palate experience. If a fucking bottle of Beaujolais can do it . . .
Sunday, June 19, 2011
Ugh. Look at that ridiculous hair.
I find it outrageous that my cousin has been smoking cigarettes with his friends. And as for myself, well, this. I'm full of shit, but at least I don't pretend to be anyone's moral compass. You know what upsets me? When people smoke to get attention but really have no clue how to handle a cigar, making all the rest of us look like jackasses by association. Yeah, you're such a playboy, bragging about sucking on a $100 stick - get a grip.
It's all supposed to be a ritual, really. A private, contemplative ritual of cutting, lighting, and drawing out the essence of the smoke. We were sitting in the Jardin du Luxembourg and everyone was smoking something. The French apparently love pipes and hand-rolled cigarettes. So I had to fit in. My mother's banned me from showing this photo to anyone in my family. So naturally I'm sharing it here.
The rarest of instances, when something you've hoped and dreamed about becomes a reality and the experience is more profound and extraordinary than you ever imagined? If there was only a way to distill and bottle that.
Better (and more important) wine people have written so admiringly about Marcel Lapierre - what more can be said than the fact that he made stunningly singular wines so achingly beautiful as to truly leave you speechless. I finally had the opportunity - the honour, rather - of drinking his Morgon. Completely unexpected, and absolutely over the fucking moon.
If I don't spend my vacation eating myself silly, what's the point then?
We were in Les Halles looking for a place to eat, when I noticed this restaurant called L'Escargot. You can't call yourself that and not serve the most amazing escargot. Fresh and delicious, these are a far cry from the nightmarish butter/parsley mess everyone associates this dish with. The little tongs they give you to hold onto the snails are pretty cool too.
Saturday, June 11, 2011
We had one more big meal planned the next day. Lunch at Le Grand Cerf, Michelin-starred and decidedly more rustic, with all the charm of the French countryside. Again, we ate what the chef pleased to cook. Fresh, vibrant, and singing of spring - particularly delicious was the John Dory soufflé, so wonderfully textured and rich, and the white asparagus was a revelation.
Luxe, calme et volupté. Fine dining, particularly in France, centres around this concept. Gastronomy, after all, is the art and science of good eating, and that very definition entails more than just the food.
Wednesday, June 8, 2011
I'm not going to even give a tasting note, because Veuve Clicquot's nonvintage brut is utter shit. But this is pretty cool - on the stairs coming out of the cellars, there is a placard showing every single vintage produced. There's only a few empty steps left. Someone remind me why I agreed to this appointment?
Onto the big boys. Not by choice, but what do you do. It felt like we were visiting, in equal parts, a spa and a corporate office. This is not so much a working wine producer as it is a capitalist distributor of luxury. We were taken through the cellars, which admittedly is pretty fucking impressive. Nearly 28 km of tunnels winding underground, housing untold tens of millions of bottles. And can I say this - the tasting, in the absolutely beautiful English garden, was one of the most uncomfortable tasting experiences I've ever had in my life. They were nice people, all of them, and utterly professional . . . but you can't help but feel that Gallic arrogance of prove you're fucking worthy of drinking my wine. I'm not going to argue with a sommelier, but I was informed that you can keep the wine after release for after 7 years. But you should drink it immediately because once it leaves our cellars, it won't develop further.
Tuesday, June 7, 2011
NV Philipponnat Royal Réserve Brut
NV Philipponnat Royal Réserve Non Dosé Brut
NV Philipponnat Réserve Rosé Brut
2004 Philipponnat Grand Blanc Brut
2000 Philipponnat Clos des Goisses
Monday, June 6, 2011
Extraordinary. Simply extraordinary.
Sunday, June 5, 2011
NV Champagne Extra Quality Brut
Fairly typical nonvintage brut, showing citrussy, custardy fruit. Toasty, creamy, with a good freshness on the palate. Momentum drops off, and at 22.50€, you could be doing better.
2000 Extra Brut Vintage Blanc de Blancs
Creamy, rich nose, nutty with restrained fruit. Youthful, with an extracted palate. Very primary, needs time to integrate a bit more.
The cards showing the wines on release and their respective prices were a classy touch. About 8 or 9 wines listed . . . absolutely no indication that you'd be given a chance to taste any more than 2. But I was a bit silly to expect otherwise - they do run a B&B here. After a day of tasting Champagne, and another full bottle at lunch . . . I was completely wasted out of my mind. Collapsed into bed back at the hotel. Champagne coma.
The tasting at Ruinart took much longer than scheduled, so we missed our appointment at Verzenay. Off to Ludes instead, to visit Ployez-Jacquemart, a smaller operation that has just begun running a bed & breakfast. Ran into a group in the middle of their tour - our entrance seemed a bit ominous. Two Chinese visitors climbing out of a black Mercedes, the driver giving instructions to the owner. There was a really hot looking tanned Australian beauty, but the lowbrow group from Manchester was just the worst.