I recently tagged along to the Loire with the Great Wine Importer, Joe Dressner and his disciples. I like great sheets and happy hotels. I donít always get them and this trip to the Loire was a little rough and tumble. But, that wasn't the real point of the trip, and only made the wines that much sweeter.
Oh, the wines were terrific, and the cheese was crazy good, but I stayed in some of the scariest hotels ever and the coffee everywhere was pretty bad, so I had to resort to tea. With the lousy exchange everything was a third more, so even the biggest dive was too much money. Life, somehow is more palatable after treats like the memorable 1947 Breton Clos Senechal, a pale plum juice of a color which burst with a really pretty aroma of ghostly bread and cherry pie. After tasting it I thought of something my mother has taken to repeating; old people all look alike. I'm beginning to see what she means, at least from a distanceóa little bent, white hair, eyes dancing. Old wines are the same way. Whether pinot, cab franc or syrah, if they're good the structure is there like an old and sturdy hanger and spice box flavors pop up. The spices change, but it's still spice box-like. But then I like old people and old wine.
That night, my lodging was particularly scary. I was supposed to take solace in a single bed in a shades-of-late- 60ís- brown, cheap linoleum, Bates motel-like hotel in the town of Bourgeuil. The derelict-ish owner, part alcoholic and part wolf, gave me food for my nightmares. I made sure I took a bath instead of a shower. A cold night, I slept with my down coat --that is after a through search for bed bugs, which by the way, I have become obsessed with.
I managed to get through to the morning. The bakery across the street appeased me with one of the most delicate, butteriest Financier's. A Salon de Th furnished me with a proper cup. Having salvaged the morning with decent treats, I was still happy to move on to the Nantes and to Domaine Ppiere where we were treated to a never ending vertical from Marc Olivier's cellar. He reached back into the wine archives to 1973! This was the pre-Marc days, when his uncle was producing. Remember, the BIG WINE CRITICS say this stuff doesn't age. The 1973 was gingery and caramelly and nutty. I know itís bizarre but it was very Krug like.
And of course, it cost a lot less than Krug.
The lesson here remember to buy financiers in Bourgueil but don't sleep there, buy your muscadet wisely, cheaply and stick it in your cellar for a knock out down the line.