Thanks to the worldwide web, and the instaneous sounding board that is facebook, we are often privy to my friends’ opinions about the weather, the traffic and the inevitable days of the week. It seems like the first day of the week, ironically God’s Day, seems to be the most disliked. These sentiments of disapproval seem to generate not from the day itself but the dread which is felt as the day progresses in its prelude to Monday. I, who is an eternal stranger to the 9-5 workweek, happen to love Sundays. It’s a designated day of relaxation and lazing about, which is a thousand times more true in France, where shops and supermarkets also take the day off.
This dernier Dimanche, I found myself, along with hoards of others escaping the chilly rain, at the Salon de Vins de France. In other words, a French wine fair. There’s nothing like a good wine-tasting to warm up the icy bones!
Although the Salon took place in Charmes, a village located in the northern Rhone valley, wineries from all corners of the Hexagon were represented: Rhone, Bourgogne, Bordeaux, Beaujolais, Champagne, Alsace, Val de Loire, Savoie, Provence, Languedoc, Jura, and even Corsica. Over 50 producers from 140 appellations!
The crowd came from all walks of life and all ages pushing and shoving as they made their way from one booth to the next. It wasn’t uncommon while attempting to navigate through the masses to be caught between an overly-made-up/scented woman a la Liza Minelli and a wayward shopping cart stacked with wine cases. Somehow, I was able to overcome the aggression of the swarms of people and taste over 40 wines from 10 producers….conscientiously spitting instead of sipping.
My personal favorites:
Bourgogne: Domaine Laurent Boussey, Aloxe Corton “ Valozieres” Rouge (Pinot Noir) 2008Medium-strong tannins, robust structure, well-balanced palate of dark fruit and earthiness
Val de Loire: Domaine Nicolas Paget, Touraine ”La Gourmandise” Rosé (Grolleau) , 2008Raspberry, strawberry, cherry aroma, full-bodied and crisp
Alsace: Domaine de L’oriel, Alsace Grand Cru Sommerberg ” Arnaud” Riesling, 2009Silky mouthfeel, subtle apricot and melon fruits, delicate acidity, long finish
Champagne: Domaine Pascal Redon, Cuvee Champetre (80% Chardonnay, 20% Pinot Noir), NVElegant aromas, well-balanced palate of baked apple flavors and hazelnut