Thursday, December 1, 2016

Lovers of wine... la premiere part

A couple years ago I wrote about how it felt to be a Beer Drinker in the land of Perpetually Flowing Wine.  Things have not changed for me and are very unlikely to, but...

The Wine Season started with a pleasant bang.  Remember the nouveau Beaujolais I posted an image of recently?  Well, it turns out the nouveau B's of my youth were indeed sh*t.  The stuff on offer here is, quite frankly, FABULOUS!  No need to age wines.  Nope.  None at all.  My internal compass for what's good and what's not, vise a vis my expectations, has been appropriately re-calibrated.

Salon des Vigneron Independent ~ 2016
To le salon with friends - Night One

The Wine Season quickly reached Full Bellow just the past weekend.  This year le salon des vignerons independent held their vast Wine Selling Spree in Salle Trois à la porte de Versailles.  More than nine hundred vinters showed up to hawk their wares.  Imaginez vous, nine flipp'n hundred stands offering free tastes of wines and liquors.  I said free and I meant what I just said.  It's a very dangerous place to visit and they won't make things more difficult for you, either.  They hand you a cute little tasting glass, at no cost, free, nothing, pas de sou, when you enter Salle Trois.  Gods!  Be still my quivering liver.  It took three visits to properly cover the event.

Day One was actually Night One in that we visited the salon after sundown.  In the process of walking around the show we purchased cartons of our favorite cremant d'Alsace.  We uncovered a second crement, it's something fun (Pinot Noir and a couple other cépages) from le Bourgogne.  All we needed to do was to collect them the next day when le diable was at hand.

We went with friends.  We laughed and had a good time.  On the more serious side, they taught me about les pineau de Charentes.  I'd been looking for something tasty to supplement our rapidly and seriously dwindling Coelho Porto supplies that were provisioned from the Porto Institute in Lisboa last March.  Deborah may have just introduced to us a good French supplement.

Salon des Vigneron Independent ~ 2016
With our teacher of wine - Day Two

Day Two quickly arrived with a call from Jacky.  Whenever I visit le salon with him I learn so many things that I can't keep it all straight.  This year was no different.  We worked our taste buds down le Bourgogne and concentrated our attention on the whites.  The Big Names like Gevry, Chassagne-Montrachet, et Meursault all called to us and were duly sampled.

Sorting through the various vineyards was a very enlightening exercise.  I knew these were cent pourcent Chardonnay.  Yes, there were small differences between each of the vineyards.  Yes, the better plonk came from the tops of the hills.  Yes, the clay or limestone soils influenced the taste.  But...  and yet... I wasn't Blown Away by any of it.  Sure, some of it was pretty good.  Particularly the 30Euro bilge-plonk.  But...

We Ping-Ponged our way down the aisles.  After tasting a particularly good Meursault, Jacky spied something across the way. Over we went and he proceeded to explain to me where this vineyard was from.  It's just north of Beaune in an area with what they call a mountain (though it's more likely a nice big hill of some kind or other).  Around this "mountain" are several vineyards.  This particular vinter owned three plots.  So we tried a little white from each of these three.

Salon des Vigneron Independent ~ 2016
Explaining how a "mountain" is surrounded with different 
vineyards and plots - Day Two

Into our glasses went the first taste.  To the lips came our portions.  *swirl* *swish* *inhale*  Jacky had a radiant look on his face when I asked him que penses tu?  He raised my eyes to the heavens and said one single word.  "Sublime"  C'est tout qu'il peut dire.  Finally we found something of note.  From my side all I could think was how interesting it was to have passed through some of the very best vineyards in the world to stumble upon something truly spectacular from a vintner who may not be known outside France.  Je prends trois bouteilles, s'il vous plaît.  Et le même pour mon ami.

Loading up le diable with quatre cartons de crement plus the three Ladroix we were off and headed for home.  That's then disaster struck.  Le diable shed a roulant and I was nearly dead in the water.  There I stood with nearly ninety pounds of wine.  Ugh.  What to do?  As we were only half a block from the apartment I lifted/drug the poor dying diable home.  No crement was spilled.  Nous avons eu de la chance.  Except for the sore back.  The things we suffer for, right?

Salon des Vigneron Independent ~ 2016
How le salon is laid out.  
There were 9 aisles like this.  
Each aisle holds more than 100 vintners hawking their wares.
It's true.
This was photographed half way down one of them.
The other half is behind me.
Vasty tracts of vin, me-thinks.

In preparation to Day Three at le salon I was up and out early the next morning to acquire a new diable.  Suitably diable equipped Jude and I returned to le salon to find her a few vins rouge.  But this was no easy task.  It turns out the reds of le Bourgogne are terribly expensive and, well, they don't taste all that great.  I know.  *shock* *horror* *gnashing of teeth*  Same with les vins de Bordeaux.  Ugh.  What to do?  The two "greatest" red wine regions in the world (according to well paid marketers) and nothing appealed to us.

I remembered something our wine teacher said two days prior.  When I told him what Judith liked he suggested the cabernet franc of Chinon from the Loire.  So off we went and, guess what?  Jacky is right.  Several vintners were approached.  Two good vindages were located (for an amazingly low price).  A couple cartons were purchased and we finished off our visit by adding to the haul a carton of Rhone and one of the Languedoc-Roussillon.  Le nouveau diable est charge and to home and hearth we went.

I moved les crements into le cave and rearranged our upstairs cave (aka closet) to take les vins rouge.  We're nearly fully stocked for the year.  Life is good.

Little did we know la vie des vins was about to get even better.

[To be Continued...]

Salon des Vigneron Independent ~ 2016
Le Diable un peu charge.
Just prior his leaving us.
The wheel looks intact, but it's not.
And I didn't realize it until it was too late.
He's soon to be mort dans le champs de bataille.

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