And that's a wrap...
Puligny-Montrachet - Tuesday November 22
This is honestly the first moment I’ve had to myself since arriving here eight days ago. It has been the craziest, busiest, most eventful week yet, all capped off by the birth of my second grandchild! While I was diligently tasting though a hundred or so great old Burgundies at the Paulée yesterday, I got the news via text that my oldest daughter Lindsay had just given birth to a baby girl in Augusta, GA. Welcome to the world little Leah!
To pick up where we left off last time - it’s basically been non-stop filming and tasting since we got back from our 3-star experience in Chablis. We are now finished with shooting! I am so happy with the footage we’ve been getting - we’ve got the makings of a really strong film, I think, and the hard part is now going to be going through the hundreds of hours of stuff we have in the can and making a movie out of it all. The hope is to have it ready to premiere by this time next year, or perhaps in time for a screening at IPNC in Oregon next July…
5,400 runners were in the Beaune Half-Marathon this year, the biggest yet. It was a great day for a run - clear and cool, and I was happy with my race despite the brutal uphill sections in Beaune and Pommard that kick my ass every year.
Huge thanks to my confrères in the Chevaliers du Tastevin who gave us unprecedented and unlimited access to film the Trois Glorieuses induction ceremonies and dinner at the Chateau du Clos Vougeot on Saturday night. It was way cool to see how they put together such a good meal on such a large scale. Oeufs en Meurette for 600 is not a simple task! I also got to go face to face with French actress Virginie Ledoyen, whom I had a bit of a crush on when 8 Women came out years ago (a great film by François Ozon - highly recommended if you like French cinema). Virginie was one of the honorary Presidents for the Hospices de Beaune auction this year, along with celebrated film director Claude Lelouche.
Virginie and Claude and a slew of dignitaries were on the dais in Beaune the next day for the 156th edition of the world’s oldest charity wine auction. Prices were down 28% from last year’s record high, which all of us feel is a good thing. It sends a signal that the prices should stay relatively stable over the next year or so, as the thinking is the upper limit the market will support has probably been reached, and that last year's stratospheric prices were a one-time blip. These prices are seen as a return to reality. The small and superb 2015 vintage will certainly not have any problems finding buyers, nor will the minuscule yet excellent 2016s. That said, it is not clear sailing ahead for many cash-strapped small producers, especially those in the Côte de Beaune who have little or nothing to sell. I’m afraid more vineyard land will be ending up in corporate hands sooner than later.
Allen Meadows, the Burghound himself, sat for an extensive filmed interview with us for the movie on Sunday morning. There is truly no one more knowledgeable about all things Burgundian, and his insight and wisdom will be a big part of the narrative that ties our film together. His passion for the people, the land, and the wines is inspiring. I need to thank Allen here for being so helpful and supportive of us in the early days of launching our import business - he’s always been a true mensch. Allen has never agreed to appear in a documentary before, and we are honored to bring him to the big screen for the first time.
Yesterday was day three of the Trois Glorieuses weekend, and that of course means the Paulée! We had two film crews in action - one at the Paulée de Meursault and one in Beaune at the private Paulée put on every year by Véronique Drouhin for some of the world’s top Burgundy lovers and collectors. The living legend himself, Aubert de Villaine of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, was in attendance this year, and agreed to a filmed interview with us at the start of the event. I can’t wait for you to see our chat with Aubert. There is not a more eloquent or gracious man anywhere. In the world of wine, he is quite simply the class of the field. I am extremely honored to have him in our film, not to mention grateful for the stunning bottle of 1961 Romanée-Conti that he brought to share with us at the Paulée. It was clearly one of the two or three greatest wines I’ve ever encountered. Every detail of that magnificent beverage will forever be imprinted on my soul.
Other standouts from the 150+ wines in the room were a 1943 Batard-Montrachet from Drouhin, 1923 Richebourg in Magnum, a 1952 Corton Blanc from Hospices De Beaune, 1929 Corton Blanc from Faiveley, 1937 Charmes-Chambertin from Drouhin, 1985 Chambolle-Musigny les Amoureuses from Roumier, 1957 Bonnes Mares from de Vogüé, 1949 Clos de Tart, 1971 DRC Richebourg, and a 1925 Romanée-St. Vivant. That’s what I call a good lunch :-)
By the way - one of my fave wine bars here, Bar du Square, has morphed into a great bistro now called Table du Square, and I highly recommend it. Chef-proprietor Romain Escoffier (son of Fabienne and Pierre of Ma Cuisine fame) is knocking it out of the park nightly with a superbly executed menu of bistro classics and a great wine list. Put this on your “must” list when next in Beaune.
Now wrapping things up to head back stateside for a nice family Thanksgiving (and a great time to open some bottles of the yummy Fleurie, Morgon and Regnié bottlings from Julien and Antoine Sunier - the ultimate Turkey wines…)
Wishing you a a nice holiday with family and friends and great wines. Cheers!