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First Day in the Candôte d'Or

The end of the first day of another buying trip to the Côte d'Or and what a day; like many spent trooping around the cellars of Burgundy, one comes to the end of one's daily itinerary and one feels a) cream crackered, b) enlightened and c) well fed.

No less than six producers seen today, all in the Côte de Nuits. [The photo shows Richard, my travelling companion, and Etienne Grivot looking happy about tasting the pure and energetic 2006s.] We found some really very fine Pinot Noir, too. The vintage seems to have thrown up very pure expressions of fruit; crisp wines; very nicely balanced wines; wines with a great deal of energy. I already feel the makings of an offer!

One aside: we finally stopped for lunch at a restaurant I had never been to before, over the RN74 from Morey. It turned out to be a real bonafide truckers' stop and we were duly sat next to a pair of gentleman from that noble profession, the one to my immediate left a Moroccan and a very effusive one at that. I ordered two starters of fricassee of gesiers. Now, I can never work out exactly what gesiers are. I know they're a bit of meat from between the shoulders and head of a bird (in this case, a chicken), but where they manage to find such succulent, pink and tender morsels as we consumed over the next five minutes on the scrawny neck of your average fowl is quite beyond me. In any event, the food was delicious. Two courses: €23 for both of us. Richard asked the waitress whether she had charged us for the wine (certainly Pinot Noir, but no label and no mention anywhere of its provenance). She performed the perfect Gallic shrug, the tattoo of a puma's head visible below her right clavicle lifting with such animation that one could almost believe that it were about to wake and go off in search of a plate of gesiers for its own lunch.

The other highlight of the day? An extraordinary instruction on the influence of oak barrels that occurred in the cellars at the Domaine Digioia-Royer in Chambolle. Same cuvée from three different types of oak and from two different barrel makers. I will write more about this, but the permutations almost boggled the mind…and I much prefer my mind unboggled so early in the buying trip.

All-in-all, a rewarding day in the epicentre of all that makes wine such an exciting liquid!

Producers seen: Rossignol-Trapet, Digioia-Royer, Francois Lamarche, Jean Grivot, Jacques Cacheux, Amiot-Servelle
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