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Of Wet Nurses and Melons

Morey-St-Denis vineyards
After a grim start to the day the evening sky is now clear above Beaune. Having paled to turquoise and darkened to a deeper blue, it is now peppered with salty stars and the moon, but a slip of rind two nights back, is now the full slice of nacred melon.

Driving north on the peage this morning took some focus. The sky and the smoke from the burning vine prunings merged, being of a similar colour, parting to allow a fall of heavy rain drops on the windscreen. 


And it has been cold: two degrees Centigrade feeling colder still for the dampness in the air.

Still, it's been a day of joyous tastings. The Burgundians are pinkly tickled with the quality of their 2012 wines and no wonder, for they are marvellous indeed.

My itinerary commenced with a visit to Domaine Drouhin-Laroze, an estate boasting a majestic catalogue of grand cru vineyards. We were received by the younger generation, Nicolas and his sister Caroline, and we tasted both in the lower cellar (the upper cellar being used for the most recent harvest i.e. 2013) and in a welcomingly warm upstairs tasting room.

These are fabulous wines. As with so many of the '12s we've been sampling, they offer an array of aromas that stop one in one's tracks.

From Drouhin-Laroze we headed across the RN74 - the main road up the Cote - to Rossignol-Trapet where we learnt the French word for wet nurse, why Burgundy has a climate a great deal drier than areas roundabout it (of both of which more elsewhere) and, of course, sampled some achingly fine Pinot Noir. My allocation is small; get some if you can.

Lunch was taken in the sports centre in Gevrey. Yes, I was mystified, too. But having been the first to arrive, we were quickly followed by a mixed crowd of vignerons, local firemen and others, all of whom enjoyed fine food in the cafeteria-like atmosphere.

I have spent the afternoon on my own and have tasted at Frederic Magnien in Morey, Jean Grivot and Francois Lamarche in Vosne and attempted to take up a rendezvous in Morey centre, a meeting that was aborted, as the vigneron didn't show (much to the evident embarrassment of his mother).

All-in-all a very good day. Nature was rather kinder to the Cote de Nuits in 2012 than the Cote de Beaune vineyards, many of which experienced catastrophic hail storms. And today's tastings have served to emphasize that this is something of a must-have for lovers of the wines of this complex region.

Now...dinner calls. And I think a glass of something white and really rather cool...
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