Sunday, February 15, 2009

The Super-Intelligence of My Ipod in Puligny Montrachet

I made my third journey to Burgundy this January and just as last year, I traveled with the most engaging, Juan Prieto and one of my wine idols, Olivier Daubresse. The generosity of these two men and their excellent stable of producers is unparalleled. Msr. Daubresse is one of the most articulate palates I have come across in all my wine years. It's always a learning experience.

On the morning of January 15th, after 4 days of complete culinary and oenological debauchery, I decided to not let myself turn completely into a veal and ventured out for an early morning walk amongst the vines. We were staying in the Hotel Montrachet, located in the center of the thriving, metropolis that is Puligny with its population of 400. I set my Ipod on shuffle, bundled up as best I could and got to steppin'. The first song my genius of a machine chose was Deacon Blues by Steely Dan. It was a wise selection: stark, pensive and smoky. Just as the burning of the vine shoots filled the air with the sweetest smells. I walked up the Routes des Grand Cru, swiftly passing by Bienvenue and Batard Montrachet on my left. As if by magic, as soon as I entered the site, the song changed to Sam Cooke's "A Change Is Gonna Come". The song is so emotional, and Sam's voice (my favorite vocalist of all-time) is so laced with soul, the music so majestic. It captures the essence of why Grand Cru is Grand Cru and 1er cru wines, as great as they are, don't have the emotion, soul and majesty of the Grand Cru's.

I made a right turn and breezed past Les Pucelles, shimmying up the hillside to Les Folatieres. The vineyard is steep as hell, you really don't get the feel until you stand at the bottom and look up. My ipod was on it! Shifting gears to the the raucous jam, "B.O.B. (Bombs Over Bahgdad)" by Outkast. The lyrics come at you in a rapid-fire succession of layers, just as the resulting wines from Folatieres slap you with layers of fruit, then minerals, then (differing) fruit and minerals until they fade off into the distance. Sampling Sylvan Bzikot's gorgeous 2006 Puligny Montrachet Les Folatieres just two days prior left me with that dancing across the palate sensation. It's stupendous!

Finally descending down, I walked past La Garenne toward Les Combettes, a 1er cru site that to me always brings fatness tempered by excellent cut. What would be next? Sir Mix-a-Lot's "Baby Got Back"? Too obvious, as my ipod is nothing if not clever beyond imagination. Much more imagination and intelligence than I, as evidenced by this lovely photo I had to take myself at arm's length, too ignorant to figure out how to make it shoot with a timer. Yes, my ipod went for the jugular with Nirvana's fuzz-infused "In Bloom". The guitar work by the late Kurt Cobain creates a wall of sound that still has definition and precision, just like Combettes. Absolutely frightening!

At this point I don't know if I should just drop this freakin' thing and run back to Puligny screaming for the villagers to gather and burn my ipod at the stake, like the witch it is. I decide against it lest they look at me like the maniac that would think of such a thing and do what I suggested to me instead. Oh how the mind wanders when left on its own devices.

This final photo is of the gate of Les Combettes, notable because of the bottle of the french equivalent of "Two Buck Chuck" strewn at the base of this hallowed site. While I would consider this tantamount to drawing a mustache on Whistler's Mother, obviously some local was just looking for a good spot to catch a buzz? Or maybe it's like "Lover's Lane" for the Pulignese? Sheesh!

JCB the 4th

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