Say what? I’ll come to that.
A lightning visit to Dijon from the sorella, over from London to play groupie to her friend and tenor Ian Bostridge. And by the same token to see her brother and family, bien sûr.
So I picked her up in Dijon and we had lunch in the only place serving after two on a Saturday afternoon (Dijon remains hopelessly conservative on some fronts) at the Café Gourmand on the Place de la Libération, anciennement Places de la Révolution and Place aux Armes. It was ok, but in warm spring sunshine we wiled away an hour before some food tourism at Dijon’s excellent, première Fromagerie Porcheret in the rue Bannelier.
Bags stuffed, chicken for the bambini bought, we left for home, where dinner was two roasted pigeons, with a kind of red wine reduction sauce. Alas, sauce from the giblets of two pigeons was a tough call… if their flavour is big, their hearts and livers are small. Simply accompanied with wet poleta and Tuscan truffle oil, it was good, and I was happy to see not dried out: so often the problem with small poultry.
Pigeon seemed to demand Burgundy so I opened a bottle of 1998 de Vogüé Chambolle Musigny Villages. I have only had one other bottle, a 1976 drunk in 2006. 1998, of course an unfancied even polemical vintage, was standing up well. It had thrown just the finest of sediments and it’s colour was bright and clean. There was no bricking and although at first I was a little surprised by its acidity, the whole was quite rounded and sweet. Solid fruit, a softly delineated structure with undoubted elegance and breadth. If one was to pick a fight, it was perhaps a bit short, but there you go, it’s an eighteen year old village wine.
It is, however, a village wine from a fine producer and there was no sign of the rot which was so hotly debated at the time.
With our cheese a lovely, warm and honeyed bottle of Beaucastel’s 2009 Coudoulet Blanc. Cheapskate’s Chateauneuf du Pape you might accuse, but it is holding up well and gives Marsanne a very good press. There was still freshness and zip.
Pre-concert lunch was Spaghetti alle Vongole (Martelli bien sûr, noblesse oblige) with sauce made up of the sea, parsley, garlic and a splash of off-dry 2000 Graves Blanc. Sans modestie, it was a cracking plat, accompanied by a fresh and ever dependable bottle of 2014 Crozes Hermitage Blanc from Alain Graillot. The wine which I had, not incidentally, supplied to Emily and Ned’s wedding nineteen years ago.
We left in a hurry, invevitably, for Dijon’s auditorium and Ian’s concert, “One Charming Night“.
The audience was very respectable, if a little grey, for a Sunday afternoon, and I even bumped into the village Comte. A programme of Lully, Purcell, Rameau and Handel was at times a little oddly presented, before Ian brought out the big guns in the second half.
It’s not misplaced jingoism, but Lully is a bit ponderous, whereas Purcell really heightens the tone before Handel impresses with such regal authority. “One Charming Night” from Purcell’s Fairie Queen” was a first half highlight. Rameau is of course a Dijon legend.
Handel’s “Waft her, Angels through the skies” from Jeptha was tanscendant and the audience got two encores and were baying for more…before Ian had to run on to shout “Goodbye!” My sister and he had a Eurostar to catch back to London. And so they did, just.
Their nerves would have been calmed by an in transit picnic of fromage, saucisson and paté with a bottle of Jean Foillard’s 2010 Fleurie to waft them on their way.
It was a quick one, but Dijon to London in a little over four and half hours makes it pretty much a weekend destination…so if in Blighty feel free. Despite my sister’s efforts, I still have a cellar to empty…