Happy Bastille Day! France’s “Fête National” is essentially their version of our 4th of July. It’s celebrated on the 14th of July, commemorating the storming of the Bastille prison, the starting point of the French revolution in 1789.
Some of our all-time best memories of adventures in France include the Bastille Day celebration in the Burgundian village of Meursault (where they actually celebrate the night of the 13th.) The village square is filled with endless rows of long banquet tables, stalls are selling grilled sausages and some nice bottles of Meursault (bien sûr!), and there’s a fabulous fireworks show over the vineyards that rise above the multi-colored tiled roof of the village hall.
Bastille Day reveling in Meursault
After the fireworks, the band strikes up (featuring a number of world-famous vignerons), and everybody dances the night away under the stars and the white lights strung overhead across the square. It is a grand night indeed. While Bastille Day is always a great celebration, our Burgundian and Champenois friends don’t have a lot to celebrate this year. It has been a brutally tough season in the vineyards so far, marked by rains, cool weather, and worst of all, some devastating hailstorms. Over 50% of the crop in Pommard and Volnay appears to have been destroyed, and damage to a lesser extent hit all over the place, with Meursault, the Côte Chalonnaise, and some parts of the Côte de Nuits also feeling the pain.
I feel deep sadness for all of our producers who have been working like mad, nearly 24-7 this spring and summer, only to be hit again and again with some very tough love from mother nature. Cross your fingers with us that the crop that remains ends up making some lovely wines – we will need every golden drop!
We’re celebrating Bastille Day in Carlton with a special flight of the Bruno Gobillard Champagnes tomorrow afternoon (Saturday) from 1-5pm, so plan to stop in and party like the French – in style!
Champagne wizard Bruno Gobillard
The two biggest tasting events we’ve ever done are coming up on August 3rd and 4th – mark your calendars now so you don’t miss these. It’s my birthday (58, for those who care to know) – and I’m using it as an excuse to open up an unprecedented array of great wines the likes of which we have never even attempted previously.
On Friday night August 3rd at Scott Paul PDX, we’ll be pouring Nine, count ‘em Nine top grower Champagnes, including a full flight of cult favorites from Camille Savès. And we’ll be pairing the bubblies with my favorite Champagne pairings – sushi from Bamboo Sushi, French Fries with Truffle-Salt from Little Big Burger, and some exquisite Macarons from the pastry wizards at Pix. Whoa!
Michel Lafarge, a true master
Then our moveable feast moves to Carlton on Saturday August 4th, for a mega-tasting of the Masters of Burgundy and a Six Vintage Vertical of our Audrey Pinot Noir (2005-2010). Never before, and perhaps never again, will all these wines be open at one time in one place. Top-scoring Burgs from Michel Lafarge, Comte Armand, Bonneau du Martray, Buisson-Charles and Jean-Marc Millot, plus six vintages of a wine that’s been one of Oregon’s most lauded year after year. Happy Birthday indeed – come help me blow it out!
Hot tip – there is finally an iPhone and Android wine app that is useful and actually works – check out Vivino. It’s free, and I’m betting you’ll be hooked in about 2 minutes…