Whilst it has become fashionable for people the world over to swear off alcohol for the month of January, in Burgundy it would be heresy. Like the procession of vines that make their way up the valley sides, Burgundian life is inextricably intertwined with the finest of wines.
Mind you the vineyards at this time of year look rather spartan. We’ve had some pretty shabby wet and windy weather since the turn of the year which hasn’t helped. There are some big horizons on view in Burgundy and they’re all currently rather gloomy. It certainly hasn’t been a dry January out of doors.
But life isn’t all doom and gloom because although Le Papillon and Nymphea are tucked up in their watery winter quarters, the senior crew are down in the cellar – this is the time of year we audit our wine stocks, see what we have left from gone-by vintages, and work out what we’ll be offering guests come summer.
No surprises that any proper wine audit involves quite a bit of tasting! Typically Burgundy wines don’t last as long as their equally famous French cousins from Bordeaux. That said many will improve for a bit of bottle age – the secret to keeping our customers satisfied is to work out which wines are ‘drinking now’, as they say in the wine trade.
Happy days for us as the only way to work out what’s drinking now is to drink it. That’s not something to be rushed. In the first place it would be disrespectful almost to the point of being rude to hurry a glass of Gevrey-Chambertin (a top-quality Pinot Noir from the world famous Cote de Nuits) or a big and buttery white Meursualt from the Cotes d’Or.
Then, if you consider that in a normal week-long cruise we may serve between 20 and 30 different top class wines, not to mention Champagne, we have a lot to get through. And we haven’t even mentioned the wonderful Loire wines we serve on Nymphea. It’s a tough job, but somebody has to do it! Anyway with no incentive to go outdoors and start varnishing teak fittings in temperatures hovering around zero it’s sensible indoor work.
Fabulous wine and equally fabulous food may not be the only reason to come and spend a week with us in Burgundy, or for that matter on the Loire, but we really do offer a gastronomic ‘tour de force’.
WATCH OUT FOR OUR ‘WINE OF THE WEEK’
Great news for those who live in the USA is that we’re teaming up with a long-time expat American buddy, Dennis Sherman, who knows as much, if not more, about fine Burgundy as the Burgundians.
Every time we blog we’ll be featuring a ‘wine of the week’, selected by Dennis, which we will be offering on Le Papillon this summer. Best of all Dennis ships wine across the Atlantic and distributes it in the States. Whatever the wine we’re talking about, he will be offering you a discount.
For those who live in the UK, or elsewhere, we’re trying to work out a way to get an offer on the wines to you too.