La Côte d’Or: Hubert Lignier Vieilles Vignes 1ère Cru 1996 (Morey St. Denis), Domaine Leflaive (Montrachet), Ghislaine Barthod (Chambolle)

When someone asks “Would you like to taste my 19 year old 1er Cru Burgundy?” there is only 1 appropriate response. We were visiting Frasier at Frenchie Bar a Vins in Paris (I was with my partner and our friend Aaron Rosenthal, sous chef at Septime). Our mission was simple: try to drink as much ridiculous wine as possible.

We’d started off earlier at Clamato, with Domaine Belluard Perles du Mont Blanc and oysters, some crudo, spring vegetables, aaand this guy:

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Feeling full and elated by 5:30, we went out in the spritzy Parisian rain for a walk around the 11th. As we headed towards the 2eme Arr., we checked out a few old covered Passages, including the one that houses the impressive wine shop + bar a vins, Legrand Filles & Fils in Galerie Vivienne. The arcades were an interesting anecdote to the changing landscape of inner Paris, as the industrial revolution and Haussmann’s “city improvement” project that tore down many small streets and replaced them with grand boulevards. In these covered alleyways one could stroll, browse and indulge in utopian ideals of a modern city. Microcosms like this became the obsession of philosophers like Walter Benjamin who believed that these places were society’s attempts at a tangible equivalent to utopia. Commodities offered promise of the realization of dreams, something that he feared would overtake us. As we walk, we find ourselves observing and being observed, indulging in the endless array of things we could possess to satisfy our desires. But newness alone cannot sustain itself against the march of Time…

These days, the Passages are mostly pretty boring and run down, serving to connect different alleyways to main streets, usually housing various tchotchke shops and bums, sometimes a good restaurant. Only a few remain beacons to that ideal street/life/object/manner, and while they’re beautiful the rest is lost behind exactly that.

Frenchie Bar a Vins was bustling and uber-hyped as expected. But the difference was being there with good people and drinking exceptional wine. Here, try it! Splash of this, splash of that, finish this bottle, compare these two vintages, bottle of Domaine Leflaive Bourgogne Blanc, Ghislaine Barthod Bourgogne Rouge, and all the cheese.

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Ha! You thought this was going to be an annoyingly saturated post about Burgundy. The experience was less about the suggested caliber of the wine, but more about the time and place that I shared it in.  I’ll remember it more as the taste of walking through the Passages, the rain, the vertical garden L’Oasis d’Aboukir, the jokes and the people.

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