I'm a trained professional, don't try this at home...
I was still in a food coma from lunch when I got to François Millet's (winemaker at Domaine de Vogüé) house in Chambolle-Musigny for dinner last night. The fog was thick and icy cold, making driving fairly treacherous, but I soldiered on with a promise of a bottle or two of Musigny in my near future.
Fortunately it was just a "light dinner" of Squash soup, Duck breast and wild mushrooms over rice, a cheese plate, and an assortment of chocolate, vanilla and coffee eclairs. I managed to wash it down with the 'll Musigny that François had decanted. Everything was delicious, but the strongest memory of the evening is the intensely over-ripe Époisses that was so powerful it sent François out of the room for a few minutes! You could nearly see the vapors leaping off of the cheese like heat waves. As she brought it into the dining room, Michelle remarked "It's the Époisses that stinks, not me"!
I had a nice run yesterday and am feeling pretty good for the half-marathon here on Saturday. I was not planning this, but it seems I will be doing the IronMan Triathalon of Paulées this year, as I've just been invited to the Paulée de Meursault coming up on Monday. I was already planning on Véronique Drouhin's private Paulée in Beaune on Tuesday, and am frankly still recovering from our Paulée de Portland last Friday. Whew. Moderation and pacing will be key, plenty of great bottles will be explored, but I fear for my liver. Remind me not to schedule any blood work when I return home!
Probably the single largest contributing factor to the overall increase in quality of Burgundy wines over the last two decades has been the implementation of sorting tables. Believe it or not, prior to the 80's virtually no one sorted their grapes, and it only became commonplace in the 90s. It is still not ubiquitous, which is also hard to believe.
The old mantra was "our pickers sort for us in the vineyard". Right. Then it became "we have a sorting table now, but you don't need to sort the whites, only the reds". Right. That right there just may be Burgundy's dirty little secret - very few producers go to the time and expense to sort their Chardonnay. I have it on good authority that in the entire village of Meursault, comprising hundreds of producers - there are a grand total of TWO domaines that use a sorting table (one of which happens to be Buisson-Charles, who have sorted since 2011). If you're thinking "could the "big three" in Meursault possibly not be using a sorting table?" - you'd be correct on all three counts. Wow. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain...
I'm off for four tasting appointments in the Beaujolais and Côte Chalonnaise today, then back to Beaune tonight for dinner with Thiébault Huber and family. More as it happens - and for real-time updates be sure to follow on Instagram. Cheers!