Kicking off the cruise in a magical night in Paris...
So much to catch up on since my last post! We were gone for a week, hosting our first-ever wine cruise on the Seine from Paris to Normandy and back, and it was a blast. It’s amazing how quickly one can become habituated to having first-class service around the clock! Kudos to the crew of the luxurious AmaLyra and all at AmaWaterways for a fabulous job, and for making everything run so smoothly.
I was deeply moved during our visit to Omaha Beach and the other Normandy D-Day invasion sites - I highly recommend a visit there at least once. So much of who we are as a people and a nation was enabled by the ten of thousands of young men who gave their lives there in June of 1944.
I really enjoyed teaching the Champagne and Burgundy seminars during the cruise - amazing that we could squeeze those in among the 6 meals a day that are served on the ship! We had the chef’s table exclusively for our Caveau group on the last night of the cruise, and enjoyed a great lineup of wines from our portfolio with a really fine meal.
Then it was off to Champagne again for a few days. First up was a day working with Julien Launois at Champagne Paul Launois in Mesnil-sur-Oger, doing the dosage trials for the upcoming release of his 2015, and selecting a single-barrel from 2017 for our next Caveau Single Barrel project. More details to come, but suffice it to say that we’ve got another exciting project ahead of us to work on together!
Next it was another day of dosage trials, this time with Sophie Cossy, as I tried to zero in for the perfect sweet-spot for the next release of our Caveau Extra-Brut. Sometimes it’s very obvious, and sometimes it makes you work for it. This time was one of those - the same base wine with 0.8, 1.6, 2.4, 3, and 4 grams per liter of added sugar were amazingly different - as always - but picking the winner was really an exercise in splitting hairs. I finally arrived at the version with 1.6 grams per liter, which I felt showed both the minerality, the lemon-lime fruit, and the notes of bread dough to their best advantage. Fascinating stuff - and a great reminder that Champagne is an incredibly complex beverage!
Now back in Beaune, and getting ready for the biggest and best weekend of the year - Les Trois Glorieuses! Making it especially festive this year is the sneak-preview screening of our film “Three Days of Glory” that we’re doing Sunday night here at the Atelier du Cinéma, with all the featured star winemakers who are in the film attending, and getting a first chance to see themselves up on the big screen. I’m incredibly excited, nervous and proud all at once.
With nearly 800 barrels up for auction at the Hospices de Beaune on Sunday, this will be one of the 4 biggest auctions in history. With the quality of the ‘17s being so solidly excellent, I expect we’ll see prices rise yet again, with possibly a record take for the Hospices this year. I’ll report in afterwards with all the details…