|A warmer for escargot: every home should have one|
Though we're in Chablis, the wines are supposed to represent all of Burgundy, so we had only 2 from Chablis. Six of the 13 wines we were served were Premier Crus. But the standout was not.
This is why I decided to live-blog this: I don't know anything about this wine, other than that it's great. The region isn't one of Burgundy's most exalted. Here's the winery home page. It looks like the wine should cost $25-$30 in the US, but it doesn't look like any US stores have the 2010 yet; in fact, the retailers I found who carry the brand are still selling the 2007. I'd be happy to give that a try.
Other hits from the night:
Domaine Catherine & Claude Marechal Bourgogne Aligote 2010 doesn't appear to be in the US at all, which is a shame because Aligote is usually cheap. This is a stunner if it's under $20: very well-balanced, with an earthy nose, good fruit and chalky minerality. I kept going back to it rather than drink the next 5 wines we were poured, all of which had much better geographic credentials. Some importer needs to bring this in. 91 points.
Domaine Alain Geoffrey Domaine le Verger Chablis 2010: Driving through Chablis on the way in, checking out the famous rocky soils, so white in the rain that the vineyards look like stark artwork, made me crave Chablis like a drug habit. This wine has a musty muskiness to it that you have to decide whether to like; I decided I did, as it gave me that chalkiness and restrained lemon peel fruit I dreamed about during my nap. It looks like a single shop in New York carries the '08 vintage of this wine for about $30. A tentative 91 points.
Domaine Michel Juillot Clos des Barraults 1er Cru Mercurey (blanc) 2009: They served this with dessert, which was an injustice -- hardly any wine goes with chocolate cake and coffee eclairs, and certainly not Burgundy. A fellow writer said it was his favorite of the night and I'm glad I rallied to pay attention: it's toasty and lemony, well-balanced, and not going to get great tasting notes from me under the circumstances. I found the '04 in a single shop in Seattle for about $40, but can't give a good opinion on how this wine might taste five years from now.
This could be a theme of the week: while '09 was the second vintage of the century in Bordeaux, it may actually have been too ripe in Burgundy, and opinions split on a Meursault I thought was too big. The Juillot wine, above, was my favorite of several '09s we were served because it wasn't too big. I know some people welcome rich white Burgundy, but I live in California; if I want a very ripe Chardonnay, I have other options.
|Why I didn't have two plates of smoked herring filets|
Filets of herring had been smoked so intensely that their inherent fishiness was merely a background note, yet they maintained their fresh mouthfeel and appearance. Imagine biting into a piece of sushi and tasting juicy smokiness. When asked what she was eating, one of my colleagues replied, "I don't know, but it's smoked." And great.
Soumaintrain cheese spread on a thin slice of toast had the perfect balance of creamy milkiness with a hint of earthy adventure; I went for two. For me, the greatest thing about dining in France is the expectation of good cheese at every meal. I now regret even opening the monterey jack I was served on the plane.
Andouillettes de Chablis is a kind of sausage that locals apparently use on foreigners much the same way Japanese use natto: to see what you're made of, and laugh at your disgust. It's a funky sausage that makes you aware that it came from a sweaty pig that rolls in muck. When I bit into it, I noticed that the French people at my table stopped what they were doing to wait for my reaction. Well, I lived in Japan, suckas: once you've had to eat squid guts at a business meeting, no grilled sausage, no matter how funky, can move your facial expression. I won't be grabbing for more of this anytime soon -- but it is better than squid guts. New standard!