09 December 2010

comic timing: twin peaks & arbois

One of the great frustrations of Twin Peaks' second season is that, despite sinking ratings and tangled, flailing plotlines leading to nowhere, the show still attracted significant guest talent. Two years before his X-Files breakthrough, David Duchovny shows up as a cross-dressing FBI Agent. And Diane Keaton as guest director on Episode 22 did her darnedest to find genuine wit and warmth in the rambling, silly, overwritten script she was handed. The episodes in general remain watchable partly due to the continued goodwill of the well-intentioned guest stars, most of whom gamely behave as though the show isn't peeling to bits around them.

The Native Companion and I shared a 2005 Arbois Chardonnay by renowned Jura winemaker Jacques Puffeney the other night with Season 2, and it was another case of unfortunate timing, just in the other direction. Where Keaton, Duchovny, et al* arrived too late to the Twin Peaks party, the NC and I possibly cracked this one open a few years too early.

I'm not sure how else to explain the odd, imbalanced acid attack of the wine. In this sense it paralleled Keaton's own comic timing in Episode 22: throwing all the endearingly lame jokes and Woody-Allen-esque patter up front**, after which comes.... Nothing of any substance.

I kept waiting for the appealing cashew qualities I so often find in good old Arbois, and instead encountered only a faint horseradishy effect. The wine fell away very quickly.

Happily the NC had made a really smashing great purée of topinambour (Jerusalem artichoke) and roasted squash, so the meal wasn't entirely unmemorable.

Incidentally, I would be a lot harder on this wine, except that Puffeney is an acknowledged master, and from what I've read of wine critic Wink Lorch's*** vintage report on 2005, it was a splendid year in the Jura, just as it was in Burgundy. So I remain flummoxed. I won't hold it against the rest of his wines; I'll just give the whites from that year a wide berth for a year or two.

*I am pointedly leaving out Heather Graham, whose appearance in Season 2 is remarkable only for proving that her acting has neither changed nor improved since.

**I realize I risk misattributing the episode's dialogue to Keaton, rather than the episode's actual writers, but there is really no mistaking the characters' suddenly digressive, Borcht-lite lines as anything other than a parody or tribute to Woody Allen. Either she encouraged it or the writer's wrote it that way because she was directing; either way I credit her influence.

***Her real name.

Related Links:

Twin Peaks & Chardonnay #1: Petit Chablis
Twin Peaks & Chardonnay #2: Saint-Véran
Twin Peaks & Chardonnay #3: Pouilly-Fuissé
Twin Peaks & Chardonnay #4: Mâcon-Chaintré
Twin Peaks & Chardonnay #5: Côtes du Jura
Twin Peaks & Chardonnay #6: Côte Roannaise
Twin Peaks & Chardonnay #7: Vin de Pays de Sainte Marie la Blanche

A guide to Twin Peaks: Episode 22 @ TwinPeaksEpisodeGuide
A profile on Jacques Puffeney by his US importer @ MadRose
Pairing Puffeney's Poulsard with pot-pie @ MacDuffWine
A particularly awesome tasting at Puffeney's cellers @ CrazyYellow, a blog I just found totally devoted to Jura wines. I'm not making this up. (In French)


  1. I think I have a bottle or two, thanks for the heads up

  2. no no, crack one open and let us know how it is, i'm curious to see whether mine was just a dud... thanks for reading, in any case!