13 June 2012
My excuse for the recent blog drought: I've been traveling. The Native Companion and I spent twenty-four hours in the town of Bordeaux, and then a weekend at our friends' wedding on the Cap Ferret. I doffed my wine hat and donned my vacationer hat. We visited no wine estates, and with our heaping plates of shellfish we drank nothing more complex than inexpensive "bio" Bordeaux blanc and rosé. It was, of course, glorious.
It was also the first time I'd visited said region, a fact that seems to surprise some people. You're into wine, they say, yet you've never been to Bordeaux ? I try to explain that this is a little like saying to someone who takes an interest in horses: you take an interest in horses, yet you've never been to the Kentucky Derby ? After all, it's where the most money gets spent ! But the Derby is for people who take a certain kind of interest in horses,* and ditto for Bordeaux and wine people.
That said, I'm already itching to return. To visit some wine estates (exploring Graves and Sauternes appeals to me greatly), but also to further explore the city of Bordeaux, which in June was almost eerily charming. The old town near the river reminded me of a supersized rue des Martyrs**, only without that street's self-consciousness and slightly besieged quality. Bordeaux's ancient money seems very at ease with itself. Roller bladers minnow between strollers, joggers, and cyclists on the wide promenades lining the river, a sharp contrast to Paris' pedestrian-free Seine-side traffic snarls. The public toilets clean themselves. And what really struck the NC and me, perhaps even more than the wines we tasted, was the general boldness of the city's puns. In the absence of sufficient free time to process my few wine-related experiences in the city and on Cap Ferret, I thought in the meantime I'd present of few of the more notable howlers below.
* For the record, I am not a horse person. You could probably tell that just by looking at me.
** A fairly yuppie-ish street in the 9ème arrondissement of Paris notable for containing no good wine shops, but no less than two shops specialising in smoked salmon. The neighborhoods immediately to the north and to the east are notably less gentrified.