Two Goddammit Burgundies In One Day!
What’s a Goddammit Burgundy? Simple. If you’ve already got the Burgundy Habit, you spend an inordinate amount of time, money and focus on trying to find that perfect bottle of Burgundy, like the one that got you hooked in the first place. Your palate swims through oceans of mediocrity, and occasionally drops to scoop up some bottom sludge of swill disguised with fancy names. And just about the time you tire of spending all that money and wasting all that time….. along comes a Burgundy that stirs up all those passions and hopes and dreams all over again, and you plunge headlong back into that deep, dark, all encompassing obsession, swept away You shrug, realizing you are lost, look at the Burgundy, say “Goddammit”, and take another perfect sip. . The wallet opens and the hunt begins anew. That, folks, is a Goddammit Burgundy.
Well, thanks to Lou Kessler, I had two Goddammit Burgundies in one day. Our mutual friend Gail was visiting from Seattle and we were coincidentally celebrating selling our house for scandalous profit (well, it’s in escrow, anyway), so we went to Bouchon in Yountville for lunch.
Lou insisted on bringing a couple of wines, as is his wont. First out of the bag is a 2000 William Fevre Les Clos Chablis. Goddammit. Crystal transmuted into a shimmery green gold wine. Lemon sea shells. Liquid limestone. This…this is what Chablis is. Salty cone of Pomme Frites on the table, a plate of Brandade de Morue with preserved tomatoes in front of me, a fresh, crusty”wheat stalk” baguette on the butter plate, good friends all around, and feeling as close to a Parisian bistro as you can get while still in California: life is very good.
And I’m thinking, Goddammit, I absolutely have to remember to go out to the local wine store and see what Chablis is in stock, and start selectively tasting and acquiring…..
But Lou is not finished. “Bordeaux or Burgundy?” he says. And I swear there’s a wicked gleam in his eyes. All four of us chorus “Burgundy”, without hesitation. It’s easy to see where this crowd is coming from. So Lou pulls out a Domaine Daniel Rion Nuits St. George PC Haut Pruliers 1990.
Before I even taste it, before I even lift the glass to my nose, I can see it and smell it. Already, I know: Goddammit!
There are few things more beautiful in life, more sensuous and compelling, than a perfectly realized Burgundy Pinot Noir. This is one. Honestly, descriptions fail (at least, mine do). I can’t do it justice. There’s reverential silence, everyone with nose in glass, then (I swear it) cooing noises. Must be the other four, Can’t be me doing that, can it? Every element of the wine is in absolutely perfect balance. Fragrant fruit, earthy, mushroomy, leathery, sweet, sweet, sweet and pure cherry, more earth/umami filling the mouth, filling the mind. Right here, right now, it could not possibly be any better. It defines the moment, defines the region, defines the grape, defines the style. This is what any wine lover strives to find.
Of course, I further drive home the point by ordering a plate of Gnocchi in the “Parisian Style”, little cylinders of gnocchi, sautéed with mushrooms and dredged in herbs and olive oil. Goddammit.
Dessert? No, thank you. I still have some Haut Pruliers in my glass. I’ll make it last as long as I can, but eventually, I know, that I’ll have to give up this seat and table to someone else, and no matter how cautiously I sip, the wine keeps getting lower and lower in the glass…