A Week in Burgundy with John Truax (Part 1)
Today we begin a wonderful journey with John Beaver Truax through Burgundy. He visited for a week during the 2015 Hospices de Beaune auction and we'll be posting a series of installments of his trip each Thursday over the next few weeks. Enjoy!
THURSDAY November 12th
Once again I had the great fortune to go to Burgundy with my friend Jay. That my work allows me to go to Burgundy twice a year is a dream come true. I am unbelievably lucky. We have traveled there many times before, always renting modest apartments in the center of the picturesque medieval cobblestoned town.
Much of Beaune dates from the Twelfth century or older. The walled city of 20,000 and its surrounding vineyards were recently named a UNESCO world heritage site. In the center of town is the Hotel-Dieu, the magnificent and remarkably ornate 15th century former hospital that is now a museum and the focal point of the Hospices de Beaune wine auction. The unmistakable brightly colored geometric tile roof is a symbol of Beaune, and the enduring prosperity of the nurturing vineyards.
We arrived on Thursday November 12th in Geneva and had a car pick us up at the airport to drive us over the mountains through the fog to Beaune. We were there for a week. Lots of great tastings with the winegrowers at their domains and many memorable lunches and dinners. Oysters sold in the street, booths with food. There is always a carnival atmosphere for the week of the Hospices de Beaune auction. We had a simple lunch at a local bistro. There was a nice couple from New York there, friends of Jay's from the Chevalier du Tastevin. They invited us to an elegant lunch on Saturday but we already had plans with the auction and tastings.
That night we had a great dinner at Ma Cuisine with Per Holmberg of Christie's NY and winegrower Guillaume D'Angerville of Volnay. Ma Cuisine is a favorite restaurant of the international wine trade when they stop in Beaune. You never know who you might run into when you eat there. Etienne De Montille stopped by our table with a glass of Emmanuel Rouget Vosne Romanee Cros Parantoux. He was there with a large group of Chinese collectors from Hong Kong.
We had a 2009 Puligny Montrachet from Domaine Leflaive. It was pale straw gold color, full flavored with very good balance. Perfect with escargots. Puligny Montrachet with parsley garlic butter is pretty damn good.
I order pigeon. I love pigeon at Ma Cuisine. We looked at the magnums list and picked a 2008 Liger Belair Vosne-Romanee La Colombiere. Pierre came back from the cellar with a 2007. What a nice surprise. It was number 47 out of 100 magnums. Medium brick red, lots of freshness, very good acidity. At its peak? Yes. The back label read,"Attribue a Ma Cuisine." After a digestif we went to a local wine bar, Le Bout du Monde. Just to round off the meal, we ordered a rare bottle of Blanc de Noirs champagne, Selosse "Le Bout de Clos" disgorgement date of 13 March 2013. Medium straw gold, smelled like toasted hazelnuts, round and rich and full and very fine.
-- John B. Truax