Something big…

I knew it wasn’t going to be easy having a blog.  I mean, when I think about it- who wants to read what I have to say?  Not to mention- how can I come back to blogging after Poitiers?  But at some point, something big was going to happen and I was going to have to get back in the game… but what would it be?

Chassagne-Montrachet

That’s right.  That is my wine being filtered using a tea kettle and coffee filter.  The story?  Gosh, I have no idea how it happened… but I will try anyway.

My husband and I are on a ski vacation in Montchavin Les Cloches- a little ski station in the French Alps.  Tonight we had an amazing raclette dinner paired with a Gruner Veltliner and this 2006 Chassagne-Montrachet.  For those of you who know me you know my love hate relation with Chardonnay… for those of you who don’t know me you should try to get to know me, I’m a pretty cool person.

Anyway, I have opened up a LOT of wine in my life- my mom would say WAY to much wine in my short life. BUT I HAVE NEVER EXPERIENCED THIS….

wine cork shreaded For starters- this is how the cork came out.  My husband pulled the larger part you see here, breaking it in two.  I then went in to recover the damage only to find the cork was LITERALLY in pieces.  Like it was completely dissolved or something.  Normally, when you split a cork you then have to push your cork screw in sideways and gently pull the rest out without having it fall into the wine.  As you can see here there was no way in hell I was going to get the cork out.  I tried and tired and tired.  The result….

cork through bottleCan you see the hole going THROUGH the cork?  It came out in such a weird way that I made a HOLE THROUGH THE CORK????  WHO DOES THAT?? Someone please explain to me how this happens?  I mean at this point I am a little out of options for getting this cork out and at the same time becoming widely fascinated with what is happening.  Now- remember I am in the mountains with very little resources… So what do you do next?  I mean now we HAVE to try this wine…

decanting fail

I managed to ‘decant’ the wine- slash pour the wine out through the hole in the cork.  However, since the cork was so destroyed we couldn’t even drink it without getting cork in our glass…

It was time to get creative.  It was time to let out the inner girl scout we all know and have nightmares from….  Fortunately for me, I married a very creative man.  Coffee filters.  Unfortunately for me, I married a man who wanted to pour the wine through the coffee machine.  Compromise.  Compromise in marriage is everything…

Enter the tea pot.  Now, I know what you are thinking… ‘Great idea, but you are going to kill the wine.’  This is the point where you have to get to know me because my response is always- “It’s just Chardonnay”.

filter sucess

Our 2006 Chassagne-Montrachet was nothing special to being with… It was a bottle we received from a large domaine in Bourgogne and decided to see how it would age.  Taste wise- just Chardonnay.  Oaky and butter forward with a crisp acidity to the back palate making it refreshing while still being heavy.  To be honest, opening it was more fun then drinking it…

And just like that… I’m back.

Some success…

Last Wednesday I wrote a rather depressing post about not feeling so great about my success at the moment.  Well, I am happy to report that by Friday things had turned around a bit.  I had two tasting in one day and a handful of email requests!!!!!

I welcomed my first group to a bubbles tasting- three guys super interested in wine and more specifically the sparkling wines of the Rhone Alps region.

Champagne Glass Bubbles Flight – From Vine to Wine

We drank together a Crémant de Bourgogne Rosé Demi-Sec, a Crémant de Bourgogne Brut, and a Clairette de Die.  I was somewhat nervous at the beginning because Clairette de Die is not a part of my daily drinking spectrum.  But in the end it was the favorite in the group.  Surprising was how the sparkling wines changed with food.  The group had an overwhelming dislike for the  Crémant de Bourgogne Brut, but when we added cheese to it and retasted… wow.  It is so fun to watch how perceptions of wine and the taste of wine can change so drastically with food.

Later that evening I welcomed two more people to a What the French Tasting

Glasses with CheeseWhat the French? Tasting – From Vine to Wine

We went to Alsace and the Loire Valley for our whites and then to Bourgogne, Northern Rhone and Bordeaux for the red.  This tastings is always fun in terms of the broad spectrum of wines used, but to explain all the regions of France and how they operate… it is sometimes a daunting task and I can watch peoples brain turn to mush before my eyes.  I had a small amount of fear when I started talking to these two- hoping that their confusion would be settled in the end I served some larger tastes than maybe I normally would have- for educational reasons of course!  Good thing too, because at the end of two hours we had not only gone through the five regions and the french system, but we sent one of them home with a homework assignment and a blind tasting list.

I really love teaching people about French wines.  It gives me a natural high.  These two tastings were completely different- the people, the wine, the conversation.   Sometimes the people coming to taste with me are new to wine, or returning to wine.  Others are so passionate about wine even I get intimidated.  But that is the beauty of it.  Like the terroir changes the wine ever so slightly sometimes, the people and where they come from can also change the way the wine is perceived… sometimes it changes how even I perceive the wine.  An amazing way to end my rather down week.  I look forward to this week and where the wine will take me!

photo 2 photo 4 photo 5

Here is the new tasting room!  Just missing the maps, but I love it!

Imports…

world wine map

You know what I am dying for… anything non French.  I know this might be a contradiction considering they make some of the best wines in the world, but just hear me out…

This is the kicker with living in France.  They are so great at their wine that they don’t import- and this girl is CRAVING imports!!!  I mean on one hand, when you are know for making the world’s best wine, why bother importing?  But at the same time, why not import?

France is history and history has shown them to be the greatest wine region in the world- no one can really argue with that.  They have never needed to import, everything anyone could possibly want is right here.  Now- while I did move here for the wine and am very happy with that… there are some days I would like to explore the differences in a Australian Shiraz, a Californian Paso Robles Syrah, and a French Crozes-Hermitage.  I know what my palate will enjoy, but still.  It is a great exercise to understand world wines.

This might be a pointless rant, but I would love to teach about not only French but other wine regions, other grape varietals that maybe are new to the French.  For the moment I am limited to what I can get in my suitcase from the states or maybe a bottle here and there as a gift from someone who has travelled.  But I would love a steady stream of imports.  The ability to taste the world’s wines- I miss it.

I have been feeling rather pathetic in my blind tastings abilities because I am starting to have a singular French palate.  I know I have been out of practice, learning my new life in a foreign language can be blamed for that… but I want to start doing blind tastings and international blind tastings and not in a pretentious way.  Tasting groups.  Wine dinners. English, French it doesn’t matter.  Just tastings as much as possible, as blind as possible, as often as possible.

Anjou Gruner Veltliner Morgon Oregon Pinot Noir

What do you think France… can we work on a more world rounded wine experience?  Anyone want to drink?