We’ve had an impressive series of autumn sunsets here in Maine recently, painting the sky with colors to rival the brilliant trees. But they’ve been arriving earlier each evening, and by the end of next month they’ll coincide with the kickoff of Sunday afternoon football. We’re beginning to feel an urge to squirrel away acorns.
We recently celebrated our fifth year as a père et fils business, a multigenerational approach that is common in Burgundy. One particularly impressive example is the Belland family in Santenay. Roger and his daughter Julie now comprise the 5th and 6th generations at their domaine, and the quality keeps getting better.
We did quite a bit of celebrating over the weekend (hence the brief pause in these posts), kicked off by a dinner on Thursday on the chilly coast in Harpswell. To warm our guests toward the end of the main course, we served the Mas Foulaquier’s Gran’Tonillières. Following Chassagne-Montrachet and 14-year-old Vosne-Romanée 1er cru is no easy task, but the rich, and silky Gran’T more than held its own.
Vineyard names often contain clues about the history of their location. “Vide Bourse” (“empty purse”) in Chassagne-Montrachet is at a crossing of ancient roads where robbers once lurked. “Chambertin” was once the field (champ) of a peasant named “Bertin.” “Genevrières” in Meursault is named for an ancient juniper bush.
Many people let the seasons dictate the color of the wine in their glass. And though on the average we follow this trend – more red in the winter, more white in the summer – it would be a shame to live an entirely monochromatic life. So we like to have summery reds and wintery whites at the ready, whenever the need arise.
Beside Chablis, the best secret in a white Burgundy lover’s cellar is his stash of St. Aubin. The village is easy to miss, wedged in a valley between Puligny-Montrachet and Chassagne-Montrachet. And though it rightly plays second fiddle to these two giants, it’s still a source for what Rajat Parr calls “some of the best-value Chardonnays in the world.”
We think often about the week spent harvesting in Burgundy last fall. It was a wonderfully immersive experience, full of cozy meals, sticky grapes, and more than a little back soreness. (You can browse through our travel blog here). We’ll be going back for another harvest the next chance we get.
For centuries, two French regions have been the giants of the red wine world: Burgundy and Bordeaux. Aside from their alliterative names, they’re quite different – in size, style, grapes, tradition, vineyard structure, even bottle shape. Regular readers of these posts will know we’re usually partial to Burgundy, home to elegant, delicate Pinot Noirs. But every once in a while we love a glass of classic Bordeaux, something with a bit of meatiness, and perhaps a bit sauvage.
There something about crisp autumn air that gives us a new energy for life. Between the oppressive heat of summer and the chilling cold of winter, fall is both a season of change and of balance. It makes us want to run outside and hike a mountain with sweaters on.