Friday, March 16, 2012

Live-blogging Les Grands Jours in Burgundy

Next week this blog will be all Burgundy, all the time.

I'll be a guest of the Burgundy Wine Board for Les Grands Jours, an every-other-year event where vintners pour their latest releases for importers and members of the press.

I went two years ago -- who doesn't want to drink great Burgundy for a week? -- and was overwhelmed. In honor of St. Patrick's Day, I'd like to explain it with a joke:

There's a knock at Mrs. O'Flaherty's house. She answers, two men in black suits are standing there.
Suit: "We're sorry Mrs. O'Flaherty, there's been an accident at the whiskey plant. Your husband, well ma'am, he's dead."
Mrs. O'Flaherty: "Oh my Lord, my Lord, what happened?"
Suit: "He was working on a catwalk when he slipped and fell into a vat of Irish whiskey and drowned."
Mrs. O'Flaherty: "The poor man, he never had a chance."
Suit: "Well actually, ma'am, he did. He got out twice to take a pee."


I tasted so much wine two years ago at Les Grands Jours and ended each night buzzed with a book full of notes I couldn't ultimately do as much with as I wanted. You don't know, when tasting, what the wines cost or whether they're even exported to the US.

As a reporter, I got snippets of stories that weren't enough to sell on their own to publications, my bread and tapenade as a wine writer. I eventually did pull together enough facts to write one LA Times story, but by Thursday I had forgotten all the good stuff I'd learned on Monday, drowned in a sea of delicious Cortons and Gevrey-Chambertins.

I promised myself, "If I ever come back here, I'll be better organized." Well, I'm leaving tomorrow, and, ha. I did try to contact Domaine Romanée-Conti to visit the world's famous vineyard and was told, "We're busy that week." Dammit, I never should have tried to bring my wife a taste of DRC while doing this story, I'm sure if I'd asked about 2013 they would have said, "We're busy that year." Oh well.

Then I got to thinking about the nature of Burgundy. I'm probably not the only wine lover who both loves Burgundy and finds it overwhelming. The people who do best at keeping track of it are specialists like Allen Meadows. For a generalist like me, an immersion like Les Grands Jours is humbling. It's intimidating to write about a topic where many of my readers know more than I do.

But I'm going to anyway. Next week is Burgundy week here, no matter what happens, unless the wi-fi in my hotel doesn't work, in which case I have a backup plan, a photo post of one of the world's smallest cheeseburgers. Who says I'm not organized?

The Gray Report's new motto: If you see the tiny cheeseburger, you know something went wrong.

In conclusion, I'll leave you with one more from the Irish/Jewish jokebook, which somebody gave me when I was a kid and is now so politically correct that it's worth $40 used:

Flynn: "O'Brien, when I'm dead, would you doing me a favor?"
O'Brien: "Surely, Flynn, what would you be asking for?"
Flynn: "When I'm gone, would you be pouring a bottle of Irish whiskey over me grave?"
O'Brien: "Surely Flynn. But you be minding if it passes through me kidneys first?"

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4 comments:

MG said...

Hope you have fun time there.
I'm looking forward to see your new story about Burgundy, at the same time, also want to see world's smallest cheeseburgers photo. Tough choice.

Dapz said...

Bon Voyage,
I'm looking forward to reading your articles from there, have fun!

W. Blake Gray said...

MG: The cheeseburger photo will run eventually, although now I fear I've set myself up for this one:

"This post is a LOT less interesting than a photo of a tiny cheeseburger."

Dapz: Thanks.

amy cleary said...

The tiny cheeseburger deserves a post. It was excellent.