Thursday, November 30, 2006

Burgundy Bites Back (Day Five)

The last day dawned bright, hazy sunlight fighting back the growing shadows in our heads as we hit the road to Meursault. Re-enforcements had arrived from the UK the night before and the jeunes hommes finally got to swap the middle-aged mini van for a turbo-charged Alfa saloon. 2 appointments left, the taciturn but excessively talented Francois Jobard et Fils and thence to the legendary Comte de Vogue up in Chambolle. After that, nothing less than a flat out blast up to Chablis for an afternoon of grand cru chez Fevre and then down south for some hard earnt R&R. Legumes, lager and Lyonnaise hospitality, we could almost taste it.

Jobard rocked as ever, the most austere, massively powerful but contemplative wines you could hope to imagine. Monsieur, generous to a fault, cracked out a couple of divine 83 Genevrieres from the family vault that were just too fine to spit – 8am and it’s Circus Circus all over again.

Outside and it’s time to say farewell to LeBoo (see below), who was off in his newly rented noddy car to blow the cobwebs out of a few more cellars up in Gevrey. The man has surely shaken Burgundy to its’ very foundations with his boundless energy and passion for both wine and entrails. Only one more day and Veal calves can sleep safer in their barns. By farewell the Alfa showers his little Fiat Panda with some nuggets of expensive dirt as Taj Mahal kicks out of our stereo singing ‘She caught the Katy.’ How we laughed….

On the road again, Steve at the wheel with all the dials spun around to the PM and the road stretched out in front of us like a long black snake curling through verdant hills. The music’s taken a turn for the darker and Howlin’ Wolf and Bo Diddley take turns in taunting us with miles of barbed wire and houses made out of human skulls. Alex, the buyer, has reached some sort of zen, maybe delirium as he desperately tries to conserve enough juice to support his beloved All Blacks tomorrow night. Then we’re in Chablis and the unsuspecting Juice is about to call foul.

We lunch at a seedy roadside revue with the notably ironic sobriquet ‘le Vrais Chablisienne’. The Maitre is surly, we are part fried and mildy aggressive when he pretends not to understand our French. We opt for safety in Steak, Frites and Salad…oh how wrong we were.

I’d love to relate how fantastic the wines were at William Fevre, I would ruminate on their fleshy, full fruited appeal and the crystalline minerality imparted in each and every one that can only come from those inimitable chalky hillsides. Unfortunately I can’t as while the team were enjoying THE vrais Chablisienne hospitality, TJ was feverishly wandering the streets in search of facilities to relieve the act of gastronomic terrorism wraught upon him at lunch by the fiend behind the stove. White knuckled he lurched back to the scene of the crime, palpitations growing with every step. A wry smile from the maitre on arrival, a knowing nod maybe….the swine. Red-eyed and beaten, Juice slunk out 20 minutes later to re-join the team and get the hell out of town. After all, a weekend off the clock in Lyon was calling. Things could only get better. Right?


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