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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Two "wine" blogs worth sharing


I don't know about you but I find the whole wine drinking/tasting/collecting enterprise a little vexing. Mind you, I didn't say intimidating: there isn't much I find intimidating in a bunch of boys drunk on testosterone comparing the size and value of their, um, wine cellars.

I can't really be bothered with scores and points and gold medals and whatnots. Nor do I find much value in remembering the good years in Pomerol. I learn about wine from cultivating my own taste, and from listening to stories about wine makers and their wine making practices. I chose not to put my trust in numbers but in people, and it has served me marvelously well.

It's hardly surprising that the wines I find delicious are from those wine makers whose stories I find compelling - learning about them gives me the context to better understand and appreciate the wines they make. It usually works the other way round too, I often come across wines that I adore for one reason or another, and fall even more in love after I hear the stories.

Thus is the case with two wine makers whose respective blogs I came across recently, Vincent Dancer in Burgundy and Hervé Bizeul in Rousillon.

Vincentdancerblog Vincent Dancer is a young wine maker in the village of Chassagne-Montrachet in Burgundy. I first tried his wine during a tasting trip to Burgundy a couple years back. During the week that included a tasting of Le Montrachet at Domaine Leflaive and library bottles of Musigny at Roumier, I found myself night after night at the dinner table with a bottle from Vincent Dancer, whose wines, according to friends in the business who shared my table those nights, are quite reasonable and elegant even at a young age.

He's been keeping a blog since late 2005, though I've only found it recently. It is ostensibly about wine making and life the vineyards, but it's so much more. His photographs are breathtaking, and they stand in place of narratives for those who don't speak a word of French. Check out his recent posts on a weekend truffle hunting in Provence, migratory birds, visiting a barrel maker, or the gorgeous Fall colors and light over the vineyards of the Côte d'Or.

Hbblog The second blog I want to tell you about is a bit different, here you will need a good command of the French language to appreciate the sublime beauty. The wine maker who keeps this blog is Hervé Bizeul, of the famous Les Clos des Fées in Rousillon. I first came across his wine at St.John in London, and just love them. Much like the food at St.John, the wines were deceptively simple but above all delicious and even exuberant, at times to the point of being a bit wild. I should also say his writing reminds me of his wines.

I stumbled upon this blog only this morning while researching something, and found myself spending a good part of this rainy afternoon pouring over his words. A wine maker, gourmand, and lover of poetry – throw in philosophy too for good measure – his blog posts are delightfully witty, irreverent, and even a little ironic, on subjects ranging from pre-packaged foods to cooking and, of course, wine and the making thereof. Even if you read just a little French, grab your dictionary and go to work on his latest post - Que boire avec le Poulet Rôti? - in which he pondered, oh in twenty-five hundred words or less, what to drink with the simple roast chicken (and how to cook it as well). Trust me, you'll find it more than worth the effort.

Happy reading! Better yet, grab a bottle of their wines to accompany your trip along these blog-lanes. Now that's my idea of l'accord met/vins!


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