A year on the Hill of Corton

Archive for November, 2014

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.

Jura'sMorteau and Camoillotte.

Jura’sMorteau and Camoillotte.

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.

Julie Chevalier shows how to roll barrels.

Julie Chevalier shows how to roll barrels.

Claude Chevalier enoying a Havana

Claude Chevalier enoying a Havana

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…

Ouefs en Meurette and an 83 Côte de Nuits village that was still going well.

Ouefs en Meurette and an 83 Côte de Nuits village that was still going well.

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.

Friday.

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.

Clos de Tart , unmissable in Morey-St-Denis

Clos de Tart , unmissable in Morey-St-Denis

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.

Tom Kevill Davies, hard at work as usual.

Tom Kevill Davies, hard at work as usual.

Serious amount of new wine to taste here, and winemakers to rub shoulders with, if you know who to look for. Entrance +glass is 25 euros during the Hospices weekend.

Serious amount of new wine to taste here, and winemakers to rub shoulders with, if you know who to look for. Entrance +glass is 25 euros during the Hospices weekend.

After a brief visit to the Palais de Congrés in Beaune, its off to catch JCB as he passes through Burgundy.

JCB fooling about with his new Cremant, "21"

JCB fooling about with his new Cremant, “21”

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 🙂

Jean-Marie Raveneau, Bernard Hervet and sylvain pitiot

Jean-Marie Raveneau, Bernard Hervet and Sylvain Pitiot

Pianist Michel Dalberto and Bernard Hervet with his cellist son Charles

Pianist Michel Dalberto and Bernard Hervet with his cellist son Charles after the concert.

Saturday morning meant a more serious visit to Palais de Congrés before a lunch at La Dilettante in Beaune.

Alex Gambal - an American at the Palais

Alex Gambal – an American at the Palais

Pierre Cornu at work at the Palais

Pierre Cornu at work at the Palais

Gorgeous gougeres at 3 euros/15 help absorb all the liquid!

Gorgeous gougeres at 3 euros/15 help absorb all the liquid!

Walking through Beaune during Hospices weekend is always entertaining after the travails of finding somewhere to park!

Sushi anyone ?

Sushi anyone ?

Olivier Lamy and Nicolas Rossignol celebrate passing unnoticed among the crowds

Olivier Lamy and Nicolas Rossignol celebrate, passing unnoticed among the crowds

Beaune, colourful and noisy during this weekend.

Beaune, colourful and noisy during this weekend.

Trying the jambon at La Dilettante

Trying the jambon at La Dilettante

joining up with Rosi hanson for a fun lunch. A real Burgundy moment - sharing a real and delicious croque monsieur with an American investment banker and hearing of his conversion from Bordeaux!

joining up with Rosi hanson for a fun lunch. A real Burgundy moment – sharing a real and delicious croque monsieur with an American investment banker and hearing of his conversion from Bordeaux!

Too good to miss!

Too good to miss!

Slaving over a hot pan in rue Lorraine

Slaving over a hot pan in rue Lorraine

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…

Roland Masse takes us through the 2014 wines

Roland Masse takes us through the 2014 wines

Lucie Cornu, as a student at the Beaune Lycée viticole gets pour the wines for the press and  share a picture with the star of the day

Lucie Cornu, as a student at the Beaune Lycée viticole
poured some of the wines for the press and shared a picture with the star of the day

Meanwhile the guys check out the order of serving

Meanwhile the guys checked out the order of serving

A lot of work ahead for everyone: 2014 barrel samples.

A lot of work ahead for everyone: 2014 barrel samples.

Sunday
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 ?

The Sunday press conference, always held in the impressive Salle des Pauvres in the Hospices itself.

The Sunday press conference, always held in the impressive Salle des Pauvres in the Hospices itself.

Louis-Fabrice Latour and Claude Chevalier answer  to the press...

Louis-Fabrice Latour and Claude Chevalier answer to the press…

There follows un petit coup and gougères among other delights

There follows un petit coup and gougères among other delights

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…

Sunday afternoon always seems more crowded.

Sunday afternoon always seems more crowded.

Ah, chocolate, that's what I need to keep me going for 3 hours !

Ah, chocolate, that’s what I need to keep me going for 3 hours !

Ready to go at Athenaeum

Ready to go at Athenaeum

Dorva from Brazil, first in the queue. Dorva, please send that great photo

Dorva from Brazil, first in the queue. Dorva, please send that great photo!

Clementine and Christine Dubreuil along with Jean-Charles de la Morinière offer moral support.

Clementine and Christine Dubreuil along with Jean-Charles de la Morinière offer moral support.

Burghound and Robin Kick MW come to investigate...

Burghound and Robin Kick MW came to investigate the competition…

Two the boys from Quebec who took home the President's barrel still have enough euros for a couple of books !

Two ofthe boys from Quebec who took home the President’s barrel still had enough euros for a couple of books  !

Daniel Johnnes from Paulée NY brought his wallet !

Daniel Johnnes from Paulée NY brought his wallet !

Caroline Colin-Morey finds a present for P-Y.

Caroline Colin-Morey finds a present for P-Y.

Outside meanwhile, the auction continued but the crowd was a little smaller.

On my way home, the auction is still going on.

On my way home, the auction is still going on.

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.

The Camino de Santiago passes Les Bressandes.

The Camino de Santiago passes Les Bressandes.

Corton from Buisson

Corton from Buisson

Louis Boillot and Ghislaine Barthod at Chambolle-Musigny

Louis Boillot and Ghislaine Barthod at Chambolle-Musigny

Time for new posts in Les Suchots

Time for new posts in Les Suchots

Low cloud over  Nuits St Georges

Low cloud over Nuits St Georges

Moving barrels at Domaine Grivot in Vosne-Romanée

Moving barrels at Domaine Grivot in Vosne-Romanée

Etienne Grivot in the lift!

Etienne Grivot in the lift!

Early at Aloxe-Corton

Early at Aloxe-Corton

Mist at Morgeot

Mist at Morgeot

New gate at Beaune Les Avaux

New gate at Beaune Les Avaux

Time for a beer with Yves and Serge at the end of a busy day

Time for a beer with Yves and Serge at the end of a busy day.

A good way to end the day smiling !

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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.

Finding our way there

Finding our way there


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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.

A chapel overlooks the village of Leiwen from the steep west facing slopes above the Mosel

A chapel overlooks the village of Leiwen from the steep west facing slopes above the Mosel

A monaorail for transporting grapes down the Mosel's steep slopes. I used to be an ambition to ride on one of those. Not any more !

A monorail for transporting grapes down the Mosel’s steep slopes.
I used to be an ambition to ride on one of those. Not any more !

Scary it might be as it twists and turns up through the vines, but I guess its still better than walking up. I'd rather walk down than ride backwards though.

Scary it might be, as it twists and turns up through the vines, but I guess its still better than walking up.
I’d rather walk down than ride backwards though.

Mine host, chef Patrick Liehr at the St Laurentius Sektstuuf hotel and restaurant in Leiwen.Good food in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere. Overlooking the river, it must be even better in spring and summer.

Mine host, chef Patrick Liehr at the St Laurentius Sektstuuf hotel and restaurant in Leiwen.Good food in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere. Super rooms. Overlooking the river, it must be even better in spring and summer.

Klaus Herres next door has an impressive list of sekt customers al the way to Berlin and well connected football fan !

Klaus Herres next door has an impressive list of sekt customers all the way to Berlin and is a well connected football fan !

Rudi, Nik's jovial cellar master. If he looks this relaxed in late October it must be a good harvest !

Rudi, Nik’s jovial cellar master. If he looks this relaxed in late October it must be a good harvest !

There is certainly some auslese about.

There is certainly some auslese about.

Hermann the vineyard manager looking as if nothing gets in his way !

Hermann the vineyard manager looking as if nothing gets in his way !

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!Hubert de Montille. VolnayBlog LoRes