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The Long and Winding Pinot Road, Part X

I awoke after our previous night’s revelry at Domaine Bertagna and decided to walk off the Pinot lovely hangover. I started to think that I had died and gone to heaven. Many would remark, “give me a break, it’s only a bottle of wine.” Right, and a Ferrari is only a car and the Rolling Stones are just a rock band. Some things just become the standard by which all else is measured, and I realize for Pinot Noir, that standard is Burgundy. Although California Pinot Noir compares favorably in many cases with Burgundian wines, many are to Burgundy what the World Wrestling Federation is to athletics. This is not to say that we should spend needless energy on comparing North American Pinot Noir to Burgundy. They should both be enjoyed for the qualities that they exhibit, and to suggest they are comparable is a disservice to both.

A visit to Burgundy is magical. The rich simplicity of each Domaine’s houses and the purity of line of the stone enclosures surrounding the vineyards clings to my memory. The history, tradition, and intimacy of the beautiful farm-based countryside make the wines seem even more magical. Some people call Burgundy “liquid silk,” others say it is as close as you can get to a romantic interlude with your clothes on. In either case, fine Burgundy is a kaleidoscope of flavors and heady aromas that will spin your head around, set your pulse racing, and leave your totally at peace with the world, if not a bit breathless.

Every dedicated pinotphile seems to have begun their journey of discovery after tasting a remarkable Burgundy. I am no exception and my travel to the “motherland” only reinforced my epiphany.

As I flew home from Paris, I was reminded by what Louis Trebuchet had remarked after our group polished off thirty-four bottles of fine white Burgundy at a luncheon at Domaine Chartron et Trebuchet in Puligny- Montrachet: “Bordeaux makes women say things they shouldn’t say; Burgundy makes women do things they shouldn’t do.” I glanced over at my wife longingly, eager to return to home in California. To be continued… ...

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