I had to come. I just had to. To make going to France sweeter, to make it a reality, to get me over the edge and hit PAY NOW for an airline ticket, I tried to extract an assignment from my usual resources.
When I couldn’t pull that rabbit out of the hat, I resigned myself to staying in NYC and waiting for snow and ice. Then Joe Dressner enticed me further when he told me he was producing a great tasting of his own in the Loire a few days prior to La Dive Bouteille. Temptation was too much. Even though I can be quite introverted, timid, shy, I am also not the kind of girl who likes to miss a good party especially when wine is involved. My book was finished. I needed to replenish. I needed an infusion. Most importantly, I needed to taste.
For seven years the Dive Bouteille was the underground wine fair that burbled in the limestone caves of the Loire, or in wooly places like last year when it occupied the Chateau d’Angers as a prelude to the more manicured and corporate Loire Valley Wine Salon. The concept? Twenty of the Loire’s most natural and crazy wine makers invited their closest winemaking friends from different areas of France. Many brought wines that were so natural they were almost frighteningly alive, but the better winemakers brought ones of stunning beauty. And afterwards, those of us lucky enough --who had friends who were close friends-- were treated to frenetic bacchanals.
This annual tasting holds an important part in wine history as it helped to launch the worldwide revolution in authentic and a thirst that has stretched outside of France to Japan and the US. Counter tastings are now wine’s street fashion--all of the good stuff happens here. Whether it’s the Dive or Villa Favorita or Nicolas Joly’s Return to Terroir, ils petents avec energie, (translation: “they fart with energy,”) I just love that saying.
But politics being politics- someone who had taken over organizing this tasting has a boyfriend who is a chef and voila--- this year the Dive is leaving its home base and heading to Normandy for the 2nd Omnivore Food Festival in Le Havre.
I still can’t figure out why I couldn’t sell this story idea. Really, am I the only one who cares?