Monday, February 18, 2013

c'est la plante et non la chimie qui fait le vin*

Everyone agrees that the magnificent wine he makes is better than the neighbours'. There are many reasons for this, one is that nothing is put in it, medicaments I mean. An artist who has taken risks all his life accepts the risk of his wine "going off" and only takes the more care of his barrels. The agriculturalist spoils his wine by "making sure."

patience gray, honey from a weed

Saturday, February 16, 2013

a most remarkable and delicious beverage


made by gilles azzoni. unsulphured, unfiltered, perfectly pristine, and alive—an odd thing to say about a beverage, but accurate here—this mostly syrah vdt from the ardeche is absolutely wonderful, and even better if you let the considerable sediment settle before a careful decantation. this is the first rhone blend i've ever wanted to drink a whole bottle of. you wouldn't call it complex but it is not simplistic. a gentle but enveloping aroma of blackcurrants, though not all fluff and fruit: there's meatiness and savor underneath and a bit of animal. light-bodied enough to hang out with cassis sorbet or a plum tart (hey, what about cassis sorbet on a plum tart?), but would be brilliant with pork braised with prunes. this will not last long enough for me to report on how it develops over the course of a few days. why did i buy only one bottle? dans un respect du vivant indeed.

ante phylloxera


this was an odd and beautiful wine from the 2010 vintage, that i had a chance to drink thanks to jake parrott from haus alpenz, beverage advisor to the elite and tasteful and, by courtesy, to me as well. it is made by marc plouzeau from a parcel of 150+ year old, ungrafted cabernet franc in touraine that escaped phylloxera in the 19th century. still a little young, it came together in a most wonderful way about 18 hours after it was decanted. by which time, of course, there was nearly none left. green and vibrating in the nose, cedar, sour cherry, and corn mash. light-bodied but not lightweight, with clean, perfect, evanescent tannins. in my mind as i drank it, i saw a small, narrow, medium-length diffuse block entering my nasal cavity narrow end in.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

great wines are worth waiting for

Genius is a combination of instinct and reason married to an unswerving dedication to a high standard. The expression of genius requires a certain obstinacy and the strength to be alone.
The most profound satisfactions often come in small increments that gather strength as they accumulate. In the realm of wine, the critical components of attaining top quality are the soil, the composition of which is created over millennia; the climate, which builds moment by moment through a growing season; the vine itself, which gives its best and most concentrated juice when it is older; and the daily tasks of tending the vineyard, none of which can be replaced by some trick or maneuver of winemaking. Much like us, a fine wine expresses its identity over time, and great wines are worth waiting for.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

cafe culture


wherever you go, there you are. and there too is a cafe. this one is in sector 9 of the kumbh mela site in uttar pradesh, on the north floodplain where the ganga and yamuna rivers meet.

here, you can buy chewing tobacco in lurid packets and chai made on a stove constructed out of the remnants of a biscuit tin. the tiny cup you get is hand-made pinched terracotta, the inside surface perfunctorily introduced to a flame and only waterproof for a minute or two. but it is time enough for three sips of cardamom-spiced tea. the empty cup, tossed carelessly wherever, is quickly crushed to a powder indistinguishable from the street: a particularly high form of context-specific design. disposable espresso cup makers of the world take note.

the chai business in the kumbh mela's ninth sector, alas, cannot be said to be booming.