Sitting on the dock of the bay


A lightning weekend visit to the Normandy riviera, specifically Deauville and Trouville, to celebrate Pierre Boinet’s fifty years on this earth.

Alas, the sun has stopped shining, and as in Eire, it was pretty much a soft day. As I drove through the Pays d’Auge the cows at least looked happy, munching on grass, preparing the matière première for Pont l’Eveque.

For dinner on Friday a veritable feast of fishy, fruits de mer  goodness. Langoustines, pinces de crabe, whelks, perriwinkles, oysters and prawns. The oysters were a bit milky for my taste, but the whelks were the freshest and finest I have ever had. De-licous.

01002696To wake up the taste buds, a glass of Romain Guiberteau’s 2014 Saumur. At first a little woody, but the wood showed purpose: as the wine warmed , it gave definition and direction. It was woody harmony, rather than domination, integrating perfectly  with an elegant rendition of Chenin’s foursquare figure. Even better the next day at lunch before a bottle of Jean Foillard’s 2010 Morgon 3,14.

But with the fish? A fine bottle of 2007 Chateauneuf du Pape Blanc from Chateau Rayas. Sometimes Chateauneuf du Pape Blanc leaves me a little underwhelmed, slightly cheated and short changed as it can appear a little short, with just a slightly bitter finish as a full stop. But not this. Honey and white flowers on the nose, ample depth and as it warmed great length. As it opened there was also a tightening of the girth and a move towards more minerality. It’s a great bottle of wine, and liquid proof that the Langoustines had not been boiled in vain. It has the stuffing to go on and on; you just have to love Roussane.

For the birthday itself, Domaine Huet’s 2010 Vouvray pétillant and 2012 Guigal Côtes du Rhone; admirable and dependable respectively. A great live band too.

But I didn’t drink a drop of Calvados.

About matthewhayesbrognon

Wine Merchant
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2 Responses to Sitting on the dock of the bay

  1. Your wine notes from this Norman (Normandian?) weekend struck a chord with me as I work on a project charting the making and unmaking of wine counterfeiter Rudy K. It occurred to me that your very precise reaction to the Rayas ’07 (“…a tightening of girth”!) might well have been different had you sipped from the same bottle in a different place at a different time. When Rudy poured a supposedly mythic wine for critics and collectors, they WANTED it to be what the label announced. And so they believed in it. My friend (and superb taster) Peter Thustrup believes that even ceiling height can impact the flavor profile of a wine. Orange juice always tastes like orange juice, and steak always tastes like steak, wherever they are consumed. Wine is always ready to modulate in ways that deny absolute judgments. So I believe.

    • Peter,
      Great to hear from you again. I cannot agree more, or at least that the same wine can often tastes different in different situations or at different times. Particularly, I have often found wines tasted better when tasted in the cellar than once shipped off site, as it were. i am sure Peter may be right (I almost worked for him once!), but alas I do not have the confidence in my own palate (or most others’) to discern the influence of ceiling height.
      Funnily enough, the Rudy phenomenen is interesting because not only did so many want to believe, but so many may not have admitted to having been duped; perhaps fearing a certain shame and ridicule ( Personally, I am a great believer in blind tasting (as opposed to Peter as it happens; we once spoke of that) because it is a great leveller. The Rayas was given to me blind – and I got as far as Chateauneuf du Pape and Roussane, but despite all my time in wine, I do not have either the knowledge or experience to go further. I might have guessed the vintage, but never having tasted Rayas blanc before, I have no reference point. With regard to the tightening of the girth, it was more a reference to the power of a great wine to transform itself over the course of an hour or two: one of the wonders of drinking wine.
      I look forward to hearing more of your project. I have already seen you in one documentary, and I am looking forward to the imminent release of Sour Grapes. As long as people are prepared to lash £8000 on a bottle of Romanee Conti, I fear history is bound to repeat itslf: Rodenstock, Kurniawant etc.Ad nauseam. There is a moral lesson in Rudy’s story – the danger of having more money than sense.
      Best wishes,

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