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Au contraire, mon fraire—You do drink French Wine!

DonhoshowovI’ve said a couple of times here that I don’t drink French wine—partly because I don’t understand all the domaines, and partly because of how damn serious they are.  I watched Mondovino and jeez louis, you’d think some of these guys were absolutely without a sense of humor.

Nonetheless, a very charming woman, Melanie Tarlant, from the blog http://www.champagne-blog.com wrote to tell me that I do indeed drink French wine—the kind with tiny bubbles in it.

Yeah, you’re right, Melanie.  I do drink Champagne.  I didn’t have the heart to let her know that I’m a little down on the Moet & Chandon product food chain and more likely to quaff anything but Dom Perignon.

The Champagne blog just moved to Typepad and they have video’s.  In the spirit of the Francophile, I’m including a short recent post in French and the same translated in English. 

Rat-de-Cave
Quand le silence règne dans la cave, l’atmosphère y est très particulière. Ici aussi la bougie est de mise, mais pas pour la prière. (Saint Vincent est passé, nous attendons les Saintes Glaces.)

Seule la main de l’homme compte, la flamme allume la mèche, le souffre s’enflamme et va protéger le tonneau. Le futur vin de réserve va pouvoir être transvasé.

Twisted taperWhen silence reigns in the cellar, the atmosphere is very particularthere. Here also the candle is of setting, but not for the prayer.(Vincent Saint passed, we await the Holy Ices.)Only the hand of the man counts, the flame lights the wick, suffers itignites and will protect the barrel. The future wine of reserve couldbe transvased.

And, in the spirit of some fun, here are some sample lyrics from Don Ho’s Tiny Bubbles:

Tinybubbles in the wine,
make me happy, make me feel fine,
tiny bubbles make me warm all over
with a feeling that I’m gonna love you ‘til the end of time.

 



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Posted in, Good Grape Daily: Pomace & Lees. Permalink | Comments (4) |


Comments

On 05/04, Craig Camp wrote:

Frankly I find the French no more stuffy and stiff about their wines than any other top region. Also, as some of these producers have centuries of history they are due a little more respect than the latest New World upstart selling their wine for the same price on its first release.

To not take the time to understand French wine is to not understand wine. Most of the traditions and benchmarks of the world of wine are French and to not understand them means you lack much of the context of what makes wine intellectually and emotionally compelling.

I think you are selling yourself short by not taking the time to explore some of the most complex and varied wines in the world.

On 05/05, Jeff wrote:

Craig,

I think we’re coming at this from two perspectives ... while I respect your opinions on French wine and its place in the wine canon, I have to politely disagree that one must know French wine.

I guess the easiest analogy I can give is there are a lot of people that are probably really bad in bed, but at the end of the day, the sex would still be enjoyable—and I might or might not be intellectually or emotionally connected to them.

Now, if you tell me you married a virgin and you yourself were a virgin when married, well, then, you’d have a very good counterpoint and then I’d definitely know we were coming at it from two different perspectives.

On 05/05, Craig Camp wrote:

Yes, I suppose good sex is as good as bad sex if you don’t know the difference. The same is true of wine.

What ultimately takes wine above the status of alcohol delivery vehicle is its place in the culture and history of the world and the culture and history is primarily European.

All of the highly regarded wines in all areas of the world are based on European vines. To not have some sense of pinot noir’s history in Burgundy is to lack a complete perspective on how the wine finally arrived in the bottle you just opened. Yes, you can enjoy that wine while being ignorant of its history, but you will never completely understand it or appreciate the complete voyage it took to arrive in your glass. It is this knowledge that raises appreciation of wine to a different level.

On another, more personal level, I will tell you flat out that more often than not, the classic European wines are more complex and, again in my opinion, far superior to many New World wines, who are still developing their own style and learning the complexities of dealing with these vines in their own terroir. This is not to say that many New World wines have not matched European wines in quality and complexity, but certainly in the future we can expect many more great bottles from New World vineyards as winemakers learn more and more about their own regions.

Wine regions with hundreds of consecutive vintages are more reliable benchmarks than New World vineyards with only decades of history and for whom winemaking and winegrowing is still at the early stages of development. I think we make excellent wines in Oregon today, but I am confident in 100 years they will be making far better ones. For this reason I believe:

If you have not had a great Chateau Latour you don’t understand Cabernet Sauvignon.
If you have not tasted a fine Petrus you don’t know Merlot.
If you have not drunk a great Chave Hermitage, you don’t know the possibilities of Syrah
…and on and on.

Knowing wine in this way is certainly not a requirement, necessity or even something I would recommend for most consumers and, rightfully, most people could probably care less, but if you do you’ll understand wine on a different level. France, because of its unique place in the history of fine wine, cannot be left out of such a voyage of enlightenment.

On 05/05, Jeff wrote:

Craig,

It’s really like an undergrad trying to tell his professor that Freud or Nietzsche are wrong.

Your perspective is water tight.  Mine is clearly more subjective.

You have a vast amount more experience than I do and as such all I can say is I’m on the journey. 

Fortunately I’m young, but it’s taken me almost 10 years to get to this point and since wine is such an education, I’ll get through Italy before moving to French wines.

I plan on living another 50 years, so I have the benefit of time.  Hell, I should go buy some futures, actually.  I hear the ‘05 is going to be dynamite ...

Really, a $22 bottle of Rombauer Zin knocks my socks off, so the Latour has got to be mind blowing.

Thanks for the comments and please continue!

Jeff


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