Friday, November 17, 2006

Day Four in the Bibendum House

The crucial moment came early on Thursday morning when Willie sneaked a 2nd coffee when no one was looking. Fireworks I tell you! We rolled into JM Boillot and some wary Goedhuis looks foretold the fun to come. After some yummy Pommards and Volnays, Leboo was in full singing voice again and Robin, the ‘American Woman’ gave him a swift:

“It’s okay – you can stay over there!”
“No I don’t need an ASBO”, came the reply, “you’re gonna have to slap a torrefaction order on me!” As we all wondered exactly what that was (we still don’t really know by the way!), we moved onto the Boillot whites which impressed and amused all the way through. Again the Bourgogne Blanc was looking great, as was the Montagny. The Puligny Villages elicited: “This is absolutely a Ben Collins wine”, while the 1er crus Referts and Combettes were as groovy as Beaune on a Thursday night (trust me – we saw it – mayhem…or something like that!)

The journey from there was signposted by some extreme last minute turn-offs which left the Goedhuis car behind giving up prayers in the wind. But we made it, slightly breathless, and were rewarded with a stellar white wine line-up at Marc Colin, the king of St. Aubin…no wait…the king of Chassagne. They make delicious wines from both appellations, with complexity, structure and wonderful acidity that keeps the rich fruit and body well in check. And we finished with le Montrachet for which the Ben Collins note was: “Rare as rocking horse sh*t. Fat. Yum.”

Now what can you say about our next stop at Domaine Leflaive? Not much really!! Anne-Claude was in sparkling form, as were her wines which were class in a glass and so much more forward and easy to taste than the ‘04s where at the same time last year. The Swiss had joined us by now, laptops and all, and hush descended while barrels were quite literally rolled out to support their techno-literary weaponry.

We all continued to write on paper.

Meanwhile the Chevalier gave Willie cramp in “his left rib” – it was that good. Lunch at L’Auberge du Vieux Vigneron turned out to be astonishingly good, with enough Cote de Boeuf to feed a whole picking crew. Great slabs of meat thrown onto the open fire in the middle of the restaurant – and salads ordered to assuage any carnivoral guilt (though in reality they didn’t even get close). We waddled to the car and drove back to Beaune high on protein.

I would like to say that we had calmed down by the time we reached Tollot Beaut but that wouldn’t really be true. We tucked into delicate, perfumed, minerally reds from Chorey and Savigny-les-Beaune and Aloxe. Followed up by some delicious Bourgogne Blanc and Corton Charlemagne.

Back into the lift and up into the light (yes curiously many of these old Burgundy cellars have lifts…though it makes sense I suppose if you think about it).
“And now we’re in the world’s fastest lift”, crowed Leboo. “Go on!” The lift shaft wall inched by slower than the quarterly sales meeting.
“Nous allons arriver demain soir a huit heures!” Coffee no. 3 was now wreaking its own special kind of havoc. In the corner Johnny G groaned and in hushed tones assured the cellar master that “…fortunately Willie only comes to Burgundy every eight years.”

Back into the car, we waved goodbye to the clearly relieved Goedhuis crew. Onto the road and on with French radio – let’s just sing ‘American Woman’ anyway shall we? At this point, with my teeth fairly jangling around my mouth and my purple a shade of tongue, I took a dive in the 9th round and returned to the hotel to quite literally attack the hotel computer again…poor thing.

The boys continued onto the Merry Moreys – Bernard and Coffinet. By all accounts the Morey-Coffinets won hands down and we can’t wait to get our hands on those Chassagnes and Pulignys. One more big dinner at La Regalade and we were able to send our stomachs on sabbatical…decaf anyone?


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