Saturday, January 30, 2010

We Now Interrupt This (Burgundy Updating) Blog To Bring You The Weather Report...

So today we had planned a big Burgundy tasting in our store, since we just got back from there and all. We had like ten different Burgundies from some of our favorite producers, and three different French cheeses, thankfully we left the Epoisses off the list this time!

We had planned to have importer and French expert himself, Mr. Olivier come in and pour five wines while my boss poured another five. Then reality hit... I swear, it's not the recession that's killing wine retail shops; it's the weather!

The snow started around 9 ish this morning, and didn't let up! It's STILL snowing! After a somewhat scary drive into work, complete with Baby's First Spin-Out (awwww), we decided to let Olivier off the hook and NOT force him to drive in the crap-tastic snow. And then a coworker couldn't get out of his driveway, which really just made me love today even more!
This is a view of the sign at 11 a.m. Normally it proudly proclaims "Wine Store Open".

This is my coworker getting the wines ready for tasting. Normally he doesn't look this surly.

I think we made it through, as best we could, but the REAL highlight of this post? I got to go home at 6, AND brought home the spoils of war (the leftovers)!!

Hooray snow day! Sort of... Snow hour?

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Burgundy, Day 2.

So we wake up at butt o'clock in the morning (a recurring theme on this trip) and head off to the train station, which thankfully this time really WAS only 15 minutes away!! I can't tell you how excited I was! This was it! I was REALLY on my way to Mecca Burgundy!

At the train station, I got my first chocolate croissant, called Pain au Chocolate, and a coffee. Probably the world's most perfect pastry, EVER!! The chocolate wasn't too heavy, the dough was flaky outside and soft inside, *sigh* it was heaven!!! It's probably for the best that I live no where close to a good French bakery, otherwise this blog would be less about wine and more about how much weight I managed to gain in one year!!

We all know my fear of birds, and let me tell you, there were more pigeons in this damned train station than in the rest of France!!! And they all came over to where I was sitting, and were pecking around my feet..... I hate karma.... That's not true, I got my revenge later. :) So after freezing my butt (literally) almost off waiting around for the train, we finally managed to get on the train and thankfully out of Paris!! We took the TGV, which I was warned goes fast, but I didn't really think it went fast until I tried to focus on the landscape! Stuff whizzed by! It's like, "oooh look! " *poof* gone....

The train took two hours, at which time we departed at Dijon, and were met by Olivier Daubresse, importer, translator, driver, blind tasting chair, and just general Professional Awesome. He's also the man who made this trip possible, so big, BIG thanks to Olivier!! After a quick drive through very scenic country, we arrived in Puligny Montrachet, at our hotel, aptly called Le Montrachet.

After dropping off our bags and a hasty greeting to our fellow travelers, we headed off to Seguin Moreau, a prestigious cooperage with locations in France and the US. We got an AMAZING tour of the facilities, and we got to see first-hand how barrels go from being just trees in the forest to hunks, from hunk to planks, from planks to staves, from staves to barrels. The whole process is amazing! Follow this link to my photo gallery, where you can see the process, in crap-tastic photo quality!! For a quick explanation, go here. If I tried to explain it, I'd leave out a bunch of stuff, and I already type too much as is :)

After our amazing tour, we went to check out Didier Larue's new (heated) cellar. We tasted about 27 wines in bottle, and that's not counting barrel samples! (Side note: I had to go out and buy Sensodyne tonight, as all the acid from the wines has made my teeth sensitive!!! Workman's comp, here I come!!! ) I won't bore you here with individual tasting notes for each of his wines, but my favorite was his St Aubin En Remilly for the whites, and the St Aubin Premier Cru Sur Le Sentier Du Clou for the reds. I think overall I preferred his whites to his reds, there was just a cleanliness and focus to his whites that I found myself being drawn to. I also got to meet his wonderful wife, who spoke little English, but didn't let her sweetness get lost in translation!! The most amusing part was realizing I was tasting in the modern age, most of my fellow tasters were busy typing away their tasting notes on Blackberries or iPhones. Yours truly was super old-fashioned and used a notebook.

Tasting like that really takes it out of you, so of course it was time for my first Burgundian lunch! Apparently Didier had gone there the day before to meet with the chef and collaborate on a food and wine pairing menu. Wow, I don't even know where to begin with just the sheer awesomeness of this place! The wines were incredible, the food astounding. Modern twists on Burgundian traditional regional dishes. Here's a sample, bacon on top of egg white foam, with the yolk hidden inside, topping some of the darkest, most earthy tasty escargot I've ever had! It was AMAZING!!

After Dider's, we drove around and saw some beautiful vineyards, and in case you're wondering, no, I didn't cry! Dinner was more blind tasting and great regional specialties, and getting to know some of the other people on the trip. In summation, it was a great first day, and really set the tone for the rest of this wonderful trip!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Burgundy, Day 1.

Bonjour America!!

So I'm back from my AMAZING trip to Burgundy! My mind has just been completely blown by this trip!! There's so much to tell, and so many pictures to share, that I've decided to break this up by day, and include a link to my photo gallery for the bandwidth-challenged.

I met my boss at the airport around 6, our flight left at 10 (we're punctual) and thanks to a certain someone, my flight was pretty uneventful, unless you count Mr. Microscopic Bladder in the seat next to me on the plane.. Xanax, you are my friend...

We arrived in Paris at Charles de Gaulle airport, and after a quick jaunt through Immigration and Customs and all that crap, we were off!!! Unfortunately, we were really off, and came out the wrong side of the metro station, and ended up making what was supposed to be a 15 minute walk to our hotel into a 45 minute walk to our hotel!

After finally reaching our hotel, we drop off our stuff, and then go on a mini quest to find this mustard shop for my coworker, Steven, so I can buy him a jar of this fresh mustard with Chablis that comes out of a tap like a beer. And in exchange for this holy grail of mustards, I'm getting a Bordeaux from my birth year! (nothing less that premier cru, please!) After that we decided to walk along the Seine river. We also waved at the Latin Quarter. Don't ask.

We walked past the Louvre, but the line was a million miles long (in January! Imagine what it's like in tourist season, when it isn't cold and damp outside!!) and we decided to hit up Notre Dame instead.

Notre Dame was beautiful, full of all these amazingly intricate stained glass windows! It was very pretty, and I found a little prayer station thing for Joan of Arc, very cool! Then we stopped at a little cafe across the street and I had my first sip of trouble! The coffee in France is NOT like the coffee in America! The coffee I'm used to is slightly bitter, black, and I take it with milk and sugar. Most likely two sugars, to cut the bitter. NOT this coffee!! Omg, it's sooo good! It's strong and brown and has a slightly frothy head (like a Guinness, strangely enough) and wasn't bitter at all! It was so good, I didn't even use cream and 1 piece of sugar! It was love at first sip, and for the rest of the trip, all you had to do was say something *close* to coffee, and I was interested! Okay, I'll stop with the coffee bit now....

After seeing Notre Dame, we decided to ask our very friendly concierge for a recommendation for dinner, and he gave us a general direction for places to go. We found a Chinese restaurant, a sushi restaurant, a kebab joint, a pizza joint, and finally a quaint little bistro that still had it's Christmas decorations up. That happened a lot, actually, all over France they must celebrate Christmas WELL into the New Year, the tree out front of Notre Dame was still decorated, as was most of Burgundy!! Anyway, we sit, we look at the menu, and I decide on Andoulliette sausage, since I'd never had one before and thought it would be similar to American Andouillie sausage... BIG mistake! BIG! HUGE! It was pungent, rubbery, and DEFINITELY high up there on the list of disgusting things I've consumed!! If it weren't for the SPICY mustard, I don't think I would have been able to eat it! God, I STILL shiver thinking about that thing....

The best part is that when the waiter came to deliver our bill, he looked undecided about who to give the bill to, so I pointed to my boss, since he's the one paying for this, and when the waiter trying to be funny asked me why I wasn't paying, I responded with, "It's business". Which was then met by saucy laughter and the waiter sharing "Eeets Beez-nes" with the rest of the staff, who also joined in on the laughter.... Never a dull moment, I tell you... So now a cafe in Paris thinks I'm a prostitute.. awesome... Glad I didn't wear a booby shirt!

So I think that's enough for one day, you can all now go back to your regularly scheduled lives, I'll post more about my second day, when I actually arrived in Burgundy later, for now I'm going to go attempt to find something resembling food.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

This is it! Burgundy!!

Je pars pour la Bourgogne! Rendez-vous en une semaine!

In about two hours I will be in a cab on my way to the airport to go to Burgundy!! I'm so excited, I can barely sit still long enough to type this! I wanted to thank everyone for the support, the lending of things, and for just generally being awesome!!

I'll be back in a week, expect to be bored with DOZENS of pictures and notes from my trip!

I'll miss you all!