Picture behind the story #30 In vino veritas et amicitia


In vino veritas

Dinner on our first night in Chablis was spent at our favourite restaurant, Bistrot des Grands Crus, just a few metres away from our hotel. We had last been here a couple of months ago as we sought out the first wine on my Wines 101 Bucket List, a Dauvissat Grand Cru, Les Clos and we hope you find this tale interesting and maybe even stimulating as it reiterates our oft used expression “it’s not about the wine!”

We were welcomed on entering by Christian, the owner/manager, who led us towards our previous table which was already occupied, and sat us at the one next to it. We chatted for a few minutes about our previous visit and the very special wine he had obtained for us before he described the daily specials. I ordered a seafood salad as starter, Dr C ordered a squash soup, and we both followed with a dorade in a white sauce. I chose a small carafe of Petit Chablis to accompany which arrived in short order.

The table next to us was occupied by 3 men, one of whom leaned across to me and asked me about the Dauvissat Chablis Premier Cru we had bought a few weeks earlier. They had chosen a bottle of Fèvre Premier Cru, Vaulorent, and he, without hesitation, poured me half a glass to taste! They introduced themselves as one master sommelier, a colleague and a business owner from Germany who were visiting Chablis then Meursault for tasting and purchasing pallet loads of wine for import into Albert Kierdorf’s wine business. Albert was the one who poured me the Fèvre!

Albert now called Christian over and asked him for a bottle of the Dauvissat I had previously bought, only to be told that there was none left. Albert asked him if he had any other Dauvissat, and Christian replied “yes, a 2014 Premier Cru Vaillons, but it’s not ready yet so I really couldn’t sell it”! Oh dear, I thought WWIII was imminent until Albert explained they were tasting lots of wines not yet ready so he would appreciate a bottle. Christian relented and out came the Dauvissat with an extra glass for me. I now seem to have been adopted into German wine society! Dr C meanwhile continued with her squash soup!

A classic debate now began, to what extent was the Dauvissat Premier Cru not ready, when would it be ready, how did it compare with my 2012 from the previous visit, and …….. how might it compare with a Raveneau from the same year! Good grief, Albert now called Christian back and ordered a 2014 Chablis made by Dauvissat’s rival! We now have 3 bottles of rock-star status Chablis in front of us from Dauvissat , Raveneau, Fèvre, that might cost £400-500 in a UK restaurant. (Not a cracked jug in sight Andrew and quite a step up from house wine!).

My title of this post “In vino veritas et amicitia” translates from the Latin … “In wine there is truth and friendship”. The evening I have described continued for some time with Dr C eventually adding her own teetotallers views; what more could demonstrate the veracity of the Latin phrase as three Germans, a Frenchman, an Englishman and a Nepalese woman meet as relative strangers, share their evening, and depart as friends with shared contact details for the future. As I often say …. “it’s not about the wine”!

So what are your own experiences like this, do you visit winemakers and chat about their philosophy, their terroir, do you explore the history of a particular wine and the generations who made it? Maybe we’re alone in this bubble of wine as a hobby going beyond merely quaffing the stuff? We’d love to know.


Footnote:

Like to learn a little more about Chablis? Click the link titles below for our reviews.

1. The best Chablis in the world?

There’s always a debate about whether a Chablis made by Dauvissat or by Raveneau is the best, and it’s a close run thing. But it definitely depends on style of their wine plus personal taste of course, so click the link title to see our view.

Chablis Grand Cru Les Clos, Dauvissat, wine tasting

2. The best winemaker to visit in Chablis?

One of my favourite expressions is “it’s not about the wine”, meaning it’s as much about the winemaker, their traditions, culture, history, personal philosophy, and this is why we’ve chosen our favourite winemaker in Chablis. Click the title link to see who it is.

Tasting room, Domaine Malandes, Chablis, Richard Rottiers


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15 replies

  1. What a wonderful story, I wish I was there! Perfect example of wine bringing people together. Two questions: how did you find the experience of drinking different Chablis from different producers all together? Did you mention your fruit salad bingo to the sommeliers?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, The quality of those three Chablis was extremely high, terrific wines. But, you know my taste problems😂! The problem for me was that they were spread out (one bottle emptied before another was opened) and there was food being generally eaten in between. It would have been easier for me at least to differentiate better if a glass from all three was poured to taste within a minute of each other. But, I think we agreed that the Raveneau was the best of the three and poor old Dauvissat a distant third. They generally liked my fruit salad bingo moan, especially the owner of the wine business, the two sommeliers were somewhat quiet about it! I knew you’d like it, it wasn’t about the wine …….. almost😂😂🍷🍷👬

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’m writing an article now about subjective vs objective wine taste views and have found a great quote from Immanuel Kant about tasting a strawberry I read a few minutes ago and immediately thought of you, just before your comment arrived.

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      • That’s why I like going to tasting events with many different producers because you can really appreciate their commonality and the uniqueness of each wine at the same time. I’m not surprised the two sommeliers kept quiet! 🤣 I do get what you’re saying somewhat, in the sense that some exaggerate and not all wines have amazing complexity, also there’s not only fruit aromas in wine, but some wines do have it. Credit where credits due. 🥂

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  2. How do you know if it isn’t ready if you don’t open it?

    Like

    • When I visit a winemaker and taste a few different wines, “when will it peak or be ready” is always a topic of conversation. So, I buy a mix of wines, some ready now, some ready in 1-2 years, some needing 5 years. And, before you ask … the point of buying wines not ready is that THESE are the ones that usually appreciate in value. So, in 5 years you can sell or drink something now worth x2/3/4/5 what you originally paid for it. Restaurant owners do the same by buying wine they know isn’t ready to make bigger profits.

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      • Yes, I get that but how do you know that it is ready? Have you ever opened a bottle that you thought was ready and it wasn’t?

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        • Ah sorry, misunderstood. Yes, at least once for every batch of 6 I buy. For example I had 6 wines from Chinon I bought in 2015 which were bottled in 2011. Advice was for them to be ready in 2018 peaking around 2020. I opened one in March this year and it still had a bit to go, still tannic, so I now have 5 left.

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        • So there is a bit of guess work involved!

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        • Absolutely, it’s very subjective just like tasting even. My taste is not your taste, and my son in law thought the 2011 Chinon was ready, he enjoys more tannin than I do.

          Liked by 1 person

        • There’s educated guesswork in deciding when to open, but not in a personal decision as to whether it’s ready to your personal taste or not. Son in law would have taken the lot and drunk them, I’m waiting till they’re worth £100 per bottle!

          Liked by 1 person

  3. Friendship..”judge not man by his materials but by the quality of his friends” Kimberly Mann

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Man…I’m so jealous…in so many ways, what a wonderful story! I love the inspiration in your message, “it’s not about the wine”.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It never is! That’s why I keep saying it …. visiting anywhere that involves good wine opens up conversations and friendship! It’s NEVER about the wine! Our evening was spent mostly discussing the reclusiveness of Dauvissat and Raveneau and why they don’t meet or speak to people.

      Liked by 1 person

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