The Burgundy Region of France

 

For those of you who know me, my favorite wine is Pinot Noir closely followed by my favorite white wine…Chardonnay. These two wines hold a great deal of love and respect when you’re speaking of the Burgundy region of France.

Pinot and Chardonnay from the Burgunday region of France are two of the finest varietals ever made by the skilled winemakers of this region. Burgundy is a historical region in east-central France, in the region of Saone.

The area is criss-rossed by a network of canals and studded with grand chateau’s, and the most interesting mosaic of vineyards in the world. Unlike Bordeaux which has whole vineyards dedicated to a specific brand, Burgundy is a collection of seperate dedicated rows of grapes.

My favorite Chardonnay from a specific vineyard is Batard-Montrachet. The origin of its winemaking culture dates back to the Middle ages when the Cisterian abbey of Maizeriers and Lords of Chagny was proactive in the region. The wines of Montrachet came into the limelight only in the 17th century.

Batard-Montrachet is a Grand Cru vineyard. Grand Cru refers to the quality of a particular vineyard and the terroir in which the grapes are grown. It is the highest and most respected wine classification within the Appellation d’origine controlee (AOC), which is the governing board over the wines produced in Burgundy and Alsace, France.

Batard-Montrachet is an appellation in the Cote de Beaune of Burgundy, granted for white wines in 1937. The appellation is limited to a single Grand Cru vineyard which is located between the picturesque communes of Puligny Montrachet and Chassagne-Montrachet , in the Cote D’Or escarpment.

The beauty of this wine and those in this region is the terroir. Terroir means a sense of the place the grapes were grown. The earth, the trees, flowers, wind, water, but especially the soil. You completely taste the region where the wine is made and that is a gift so rare to be savored with every sip.

The description of a Batard Montrachet: Fragrant white blossoms, crisp pear, lemon curd laced with a stony mineral underbelly which lingers on the finish.

While I love the white wines of Burgundy my favorite wine in the world are the Pinot Noir wines from the DRC. DRC stands for the Domaine de la Romanee-Conti. It’s history began in the 13th century when the vineyard was operated by the local monastery. The Abbey of Saint Vivant in Vosne. The vines are thought to have been cultivated by the Romans before that, giving them their name of “Romanee”. My favorite Pinot Noir is La Tache.

At this time, the vineyard was only a fraction of the size it is now. In the 1600’s, it passed into the hands of the Croonembourge family, who also expanded it by purchasing the land known as La Tache (from the DRC’s famed La Tache wine takes its name).

In the 1700’s, the vineyard was bought by the arrogant Prince of Conti. Not only did he add his name to the land and the wine it produced, but he refused to share a single bottle of the Romanee Conti vintages, even with close friends and family.

SInce the mid 1800’s, the Duvault-Blochet family has been operating the winery. They purchased additional lands that make up the current eight vineyards owned by DRC and transformed the business into the world-renowned winery it is today. Domaine de la Romanee-Conti’s vineyards are all designated Grand Cru, but their vineyards are UNESCO World Heritage Sites also.

Domaine de la Romanee Conti has set the record twice for the most expensive wines sold at auction. Two bottles of the 1945 vintage sold for $496,000 and $558,000 in 2018. Now, the famed Romanee-Conti goes for just over $21,000 a bottle.

The decription of a 1945 La Tache pinot noir: The wine is very deep, dark, and richly coloured. It has notes that are unique and exotic to the nose with oriental spice, and black truffles. The wine is very intense with ripe berries and extremely tannic with great aging potential.

To breath in this region as you would breath in the ocean’s salty air for the first time is a bucket list goal. The sense of history and the depth of character passed down from each wine-making generation is so rare. Each family member treasures their place in history as they consistently produce the finest wines in the world.

 

 

Forest TV

a place that lives in your heart

Sometimes late at night I wander onto our porch. The sky is dotted with stars so bright it feels as though you could lassoe each one and bring them down to earth.

Other nights the stars explode into whispy balls of energy that disappear in the blink of an eye. Majestic theatre caught in the thread of a moment so brief and yet so powerful that its memory is etched in the recesses of my mind.

Beyond the grassy slope that lies at an angle to the horizontal points of reference, is the forest canopy. Deer dart in and out of this blanket of darkness shrouded by pine and cedar. The elemental dance of these gently creatures is poetic. The dance differs with age as the youthful spotted babies jump high in the air with an exuberant flair.

Older and wiser deer gaze upon their children with a watchful eye as gaurdians of this unique space in time. If an animal could smile it would be the mama and papa deer sensing the short lived dance of the fawn.

Many nights the darkness is alive with the chirping of the crickets. Usually, the males are the “singers.” The male cricket rubs a scraper against a series of wrinkles, or “flies”, on the other wing. The tone of the chirping depends upon the distance between the wrinkles. This “singing” is the sound of the Forest TV with a chorus that includes the warning squeal from the deer or the barking of the coyote.

Certain times of the year each animal provides the Forest TV with different sounds and volumes. In March it is the ribbit from the frogs, so loud that you’d think the amphibians were huge in stature. However, when cornered most of the frogs are less than two inches in lenght. Proportionately there are few animals, reptiles, birds, or amphibians that can equal this melodic bass volume.

In mid September through mid-October it is the trumpet from the Elk during mating season.  The majestic bugle sound from the male Elk beckons the female to mate. This dance can be captured live on Forest TV for your viewing pleasure. Each choreographed sequence of moves is a ritual that is passed down from generation to generation. The beauty of these movements between these large, attractive beasts, can not be overstated.

As the Forest TV changes from Fall to Winter to Spring and finally Summer, the topography of the landscape dramatically moves across barron scenery to lush vegetation. Each change brings new animals into the screen.

I silently view this display of movement and sound as the mystery of life beyond view comes to light. And in that light are the animals that are just rising to the occasion. Others are bedding down in their lair after a predetory search for the unsuspecting dinner.

The beauty of predator and prey is nature’s dance of balance. Within the screen as viewed from the Forest TV we see that life beyond our existence is a table set with the cat and mouse game between species. The herbevoire and the carnevoire see the world in two different perspectives.

One is the gentle deer while the other is the agressive cougar. Each views the world within a sphere of a couple hundred miles. Both live together in harmony until they don’t. Then the aggressor either misses the prey and doesn’t eat or feasts on the body of an unsuspecting victim.

The Forest TV captures all that passes within the frame of our vission. Any one of us can behold nature within the confines of the world we view. Either as a spectator or a hunter for sport or sustenance.

We are the only species that sometimes hunts just for a trophy. Our agressive nature puts us at the head of the food chain while all others either hide or proceed cautiously in our presence. To whom much is given… much is required.