Graffiti from a staircase in Montmartre. The “new punk” is not relevant to this post…
I wish I could quit wine-ing, especially after some heady indulgences in Europe, but I just wouldn’t be able to manage, I don’t think. (Though I should probably take a step back from indulging my appetites and eat only delicious kale for the next few weeks. Seriously, how can people be vegetarians in either France or Italy? I’m not all-veg, but, left to my own devices, I like to go heavy on the greens. France and Italy? Meat, meat, meat, meat, meat, and, oh oui, more meat.)
In order to round out my wine education while on the Continent (at this point, the author choked on her own Windsor-knotted Tie of Pretentiousness), I decided to stop for a few days in Beaune, a town the heart of the Cote d’Or region of Burgundy. First things first: Beaune is adorable! It’s chock-full of boutiques and fromageries and patisseries and brasseries and all other manner of artery-clogging -eries, including a wonderful Saturday outdoor market that takes over all of the old Medieval “downtown.” (Ha!)
I did some wine tasting in Beaune but the highlight of the trip was a wine tour with Sue of Burgundy on a Plate who was kind enough to take me around to some wineries and vineyards as a single traveler in the off-season. We visited a few caves and chateaux and tried several wonderful wines, the highlight of which is a 2009 Meursault-Genevrieres 1ér cru from Pierre André in Aloxe Corton. It reminded me a lot of the minerally and slightly salty (in a good way) 2009 Kistler Noisetiers I’d enjoyed with some foie and uni at JoLe in December, a truly, truly, truly sublime pairing.
The wine I bought is on the left. I also tasted some really good Saint-Aubins, which are also, I hear, quite the bargain.
I was assured that I could mail bottles home to myself but, after some Googling, I discovered that this was categorically untrue. I’d have to befriend a local wine merchant who’d have to act as an exporter and all this other nonsense. I couldn’t justify the effort and money for only four bottles of (really yummy) wine. The loophole? They’ll fly in luggage! I had not counted on this, and my valiant Swiss rollerboard was already stuffed to the gills with three weeks’ worth of stuff. (Long business-pleasure hybrid trips are the worst, by the way, because you have to pack two very different wardrobes.)
So I shlepped the wine the best I could to Italy, where I bought a separate suitcase that I’m going to check tomorrow to get these babies home. Not the cheapest way to shop for wine. And certainly cumbersome. But, unless the bottles get intercepted at customs or break, it will still be cheaper than shipping them, believe it or not, and I’ll have several lovely souvenirs from Burgundy that I plan to age.
A beautiful place to have lunch in Verona.
Quite by accident, I discovered that my pleasure weekend in Verona, after Bologna, would coincide with one of the world’s biggest wine trade shows, VinItaly. (So that’s why my hotel was so expensive…) Of course, I had to go. I started with the OperaWine gala on Saturday, which included 100 producers. Then I was able to stick around for the first day of the trade show before taking a train to Venice. Overall, I tasted about 120 wines in two days and managed to survive, somehow. VinItaly cemented my love for Piedmont, though I also relished a lot of different wines from Alto Adige and tried some Mount Etna wines, which I’d been looking forward to exploring.
Once I put my notes and thoughts together from home, I’ll be able to speak more coherently. For now, I’m off to enjoy my last full day in beautiful Veneiza!
Venice from the water.