The big Beaune weekend
For me the weekend started on Wednesday evening! I arrived at Pernand and was off straight away to dinner with Marie-Luce chez elle. Delicious Jura Morteau sausage with potatoes, salad and camoillotte cheese and a Jura white.
Thursday was an early start for a French magazine shoot followed by a quick signing session at Domaine Claude Chevalier and Domaine Dubreuil-Fontaine in Pernand, a major subscriber to the book and a great support of my work on the Hill.
The afternoon was a visit to Domaine Jean-Marc and Anne-Marie Vincent in Santenay, good pictures and a lot of chat. J-M claims to talk a lot, but I think he has met his match ! A very enjoyable visit and another lesson in how Burgundians think.
Then followed a race around to deliver promised books for several boys and girls who appear in the book.
Finally dinner and some French tuition with friends we’ve made in Magny-Villers, Christian and Anne-Marie. Magny is very close to Corton and some say I should have visited more, but its not on the Terroirs de Corton map…
A very nice dinner “en famille” is always a great pleasure and it was a change not to be talking about wine. Except that we did enjoy a 1983 Côte de Nuits Villages from a domaine sadly since disappeared. Village wines continue to astonish me. Of course it will depend on the vintage as with the two 1976 villages I had in 2013 from Aloxe and Chorey. The dry year provided the tannin needed for such longevity.
After a postponement in Vosne I was free for a couple of visits to thank subscribing vignerons and sign a few books. Dedicating in French is a new challenge, can’t say “large soif !” every time. I hope they will forgive my mistakes…
My visit to Clos de Tart was a mixture of sharing a tasting with a bunch of German professionals and half an hour with Sylvain Pitiot whose map of Corton adorns the endpapers of the book. Sylvain is always calm and very photogenic and has known me a while so it was a successful but fairly brief session.
I was then free until a session with Jean-Charles Boisset in Nuits at 5.30 so I went back to Auxey-Duresses to see how my good friend Tom ” The Hungry Cyclist” is getting with his business showing cyclists a good time on the roads and at the tables of Burgundy. He has converted a ruined watermill into guest accommodation over the summer and begun receiving guests.
I found him clearing out the millpond, hoping for interesting finds !
Having cycled from NY across the US and all the way south through Mexico in search of the perfect meal, Tom is the epitome of good humour and indefatigability.
After a brief visit to the Palais de Congrés in Beaune, its off to catch JCB as he passes through Burgundy.
Then a dash back through the rain to Beaune to enjoy a tasting, concert and dinner with Neil Beckett and Philippe Marquezy from World of Fine Wine magazine, courtesy of an invitation from Olivier Halley, new owner of Château de Meursault and Bernard Hervet.
Quite a late night 🙂
Saturday morning meant a more serious visit to Palais de Congrés before a lunch at La Dilettante in Beaune.
Walking through Beaune during Hospices weekend is always entertaining after the travails of finding somewhere to park!
All followed by a little shopping and people watching before I looked in at Roland Masse’s last tasting of Hospices wines before he retires and Ludavine Grivault takes over…
Slightly nervous, I am anxious to keep busy before my signing début at 3pm in l’Athenaeum. So I gatecrash the Hospices Sunday morning press conference. Normally its pretty chilly but I find myself down to my shirtsleeves – nervous energy ?
At the recommendation of Sylvain Pitiot (our third rencontre in 3 days!)I enjoyed a glass of Pouilly Fuissé from the winner of this year’s Jeune Talent, Romain Cornin of Chaintré. Then foregoing the press lunch I went back to my friend Thierry’s for a snack before my big moment…
Outside meanwhile, the auction continued but the crowd was a little smaller.
Monday and Tuesday: life returns to normal.
Except for my son Joe who today started the Camino de Santiago from St Jean-de Pied-Port. Bon courage et bonne route! On Corton Hill I am on the same road it seems, just a long way behind.
A good way to end the day smiling !
Rememberance and art
Today I joined the hundreds of thousands (millions?) who have been to the Tower of London to enjoy and admire the display of ceramic poppies conceived by ceramic artist Paul Cummins and stage designer Tom Piper that has captured the imagination of the country. It comes from an idea that was so simple but so effective. I hear that over 4 million people will have visited it.
My wife and I decided to walk the Thames down to Millbank to see the Turner exhibition. It work was brilliant of course but I’m sure the audio guides are a success. They are not complete and seem to send the viewer the wrong way round the room.
Anyway a really memorable, thought provoking and enjoyable day. Which is why its here.
Another type of ephemeral installation by artist Luc Valvona on the river’s beach.
There is a suggestion that the poppies be given an extended life at the Tower, then go on some fund raising tour. That it is a shame so many people who wanted to see it would otherwise miss it.
I feel that is disrespectful of the artists’ work. it will be a much less effective piece if broken up and sent to another location. What it is now is what it was supposed to be, and is a wonderful thing. The artist intended it to be temporary, these ceramic poppies cannot last forever. The sadness many people will feel because the opportunity to see it has been lost, is nothing compared to the feelings of those whose loved ones lost their future opportunities in dying during The Great War. All 888,246 of them.
A quick visit to the Mosel
My last trip to Burgundy was followed by a quick two day assignment in the Mosel for winemaker Nik Weis of Leiwen, not far from Trier, a comfortable hop from London via Luxembourg. I had photographed him for Stephan Reinhardt’s book the Finest Wines of Germany, part of the “Finest Wines of…” series for which I was fortunate enough to be the photographer. Nik then invited me back to shoot his harvest a year later and again the following spring. I have always enjoyed the wines of the Mosel and the landscape and winemakers interest me a lot. Perhaps it could make a book…. A 200km stretch of winding river would be quite a different challenge after the intimacy of the Hill of Corton where one is constantly seeing familiar faces and always familiar with the lie of the land. Anyway here are some images from a rapid visit in mixed weather.
My next post will be after a book signing at Athenaeum in Beaune on the afternoon of 16 November, Hospices Sunday, and a book launch on 18 November in Paris. Let’s see if its all as much glamourous fun as it sounds…. I have 3 days of photography as well so that should keep my feet on the ground I hope !
Hubert de Montille
I’m sad to report that I have just heard that Hubert de Montille of Volnay died today. Burgundy has lost a great son. If you have not already seen Mondovino, Hubert was the star!