Saturday, October 07, 2006

Vendage day three

After what seemed like minutes after I had fallen asleep my alarm clock woke me up at the unearthly hour of 7am. A quick shower to wake me up and dressed in my scruffy clothes we head down for the usual breakfast and then off to the cuverie. As we approach the doors, the air is rich with the aromas of the ferments, slowly bubbling away. It is quite dangerous entering the cuverie at this time, as the carbon dioxide slowly fills the room from the bottom up, and with ten or more vats slowly fermenting away, the room can fill up with CO2 quite quickly. So we have to set up a fan to blow the CO2 out of the room before we can enter it safely. I ventured in to help open the windows, and after a moment found myself quite out of breath and starting to feel light headed. So once it was safe to enter, we started our daily ritual, while Ed got on with the pigeage, I got to work taking the temperatures of all the ferments, and measuring the density.

We recieved the last of the Chambertin grapes, so once more the triage table was set-up and the grapes sorted. Its kind of a weird experience doing the triage, because you become so focussed on spotting the rotten grapes, and keeping an eye out for stones, twigs and leaves, that you actually start to feel motion sickness. As the grapes move across your vision on a white conveyor belt, you brain is telling you that you are moving sideways, but your ears are telling your brain that in fact you are not. The resulting confusion can cause some nausia, which indeed I did feel slightly. After clearing down and cleaning up, while Ed did the last pigeage of the morning, I finished off the density measurements of the white wines.

That afternoon we were left to our own devices as I wanted to visit Beaune and in particular a bookshop called the Atheneum. So after getting washed and changed, we bought a picnic from the Epicerie at Morey-St-Denis and headed off in the direction of Beaune, via Vosne Romanee, where we enjoyed our picnic sitting on a wall overlooking La Romanee.

After a brief roll through Nuits St Georges we headed into Beaune to find the Atheneum. Once there, it was like I'd died and gone to heaven. The place is kind of a temple to wine. I spent the best part of an hour in there, and spunked 179 euros. I got the Nouvel Atlas de Bourgogne by Sylvian Pitiot and Jean-Charles Servant, which set me back the best part of that 179Euros.

That night we dined at Jean-Christophe's farmhouse about 30km away from Beaune. As his wife Helene prepared another fantastic meal, Jean-Christophe raided his cellars to bring up some real gems, all from the Cotes de Beaune. One of the highlights was a 1996 Santenay 1er Cru which showed a little bit of bottle stink when it was first opened, and consequently Jean-Christophe took the opportunity to nip out for a crafty fag and fetch another bottle this time a 99. This gave us the ideal opportunity to taste them together once the 96 had been decanted, and while both were excellent, we all clearly had our own favourite. (the 96 by a long shot was the winner for me.) Jean-Christophe has a wonderful family, and made us feel welcome in their home, even sending us off into the night with a handful of apples picked from the many fruit trees in their spacious gardens. Once again another late night, and I collapsed into my bed lapsing into a deep peaceful sleep.

No comments: