Pre-Bordeaux I took shelter in Paris between my vists to Burgundy and Bordeaux. Pierre Jancou, who used to own La Cremerie and will soon open a new place in the Passage Panorama, sweetly arranged a tasting for me. My friend Aurore wanted to tag along. Fine with me. She's an exotic, delicate looking perfumer from South Africa with simpatico sensibilities who I don't get to see nearly enough. Working off my 25 -year old Plan de Paris, we took the wrong turn off of the Ledru Rollin metro stop, and working up a sweat, arrived 35 minutes late. It wasn't the 'plan's fault. The group waiting for us---having twiddled their thumbs--- consisted of the hirsute Patrick Desplats from Domaine Les Griottes in Anjou and the well-groomed, Julien Courtois, (who were also representing the wines of Jean Marc Brignot and Pierre Beauger). A young and enthusiastic Pascaline played sommelier. Along for the ride was their friend, the owner of the Atelier, an affable artisan who finishes furniture only using chemical free product and wool... Marc Fevre. After kisses and greetings and niceties it seemed as if all was forgiven. "Who are these for?” Aurore asked me, pointing to the basketed bread. “For us.” She happily took a few. “Delicious.” The tasting began and she didn’t spit. "You must," I said. "Next time," she answered. It's difficult to spit in public, especially if like Aurore, you come from the fashion industry. The first few wines were from the Jura-stic Marc Brignot (she loved the petillant, Fin Lime), also a hit was Cuve Marc, made of the hippest grape of the moment, Plousard-- all velvet and peony-like. The 2003 Gamay from Courtois was very lush. Pleased that I blind-called his hi-toned menu pineau? You bet! I was buzzing around on auto pilot, tasting, chatting, talking shop, trying to get Patrick to talk technique instead of poetry, when Aurore whispered to me in her S. African accent, "If I was in a restaurant, I’d think there something was wrong with these wines.” Hmm. Now, there's a thought I hadn't thought about in a long time. I love tasting wines with people who are new to the game. They are like innocent four-year olds who ask the stranger, “Why are you so fat?” "Why do you pick your nose?" "Why is the sky blue?" I forgot how shocking 'natural wines' can be. They are a different animal and these certainly were to Aurore. She pondered an often high level of nail polish remover in the aroma. What about that cinnamon smell? Was that a little prickle in a wine that was supposed to be still? She was not used to the opacity in the red wines. She was unfamiliar with the piercing aromas paired with the delicate structure that comes with the territory as wines made with ultra-minimal intervention are not going for dense extraction from the wine's skins. My own first time with these kinds of wines was at my very first Dive Boutielle, in Bourgeuil--2001? 2002? The wines were bubbling, fuzzy, cloudy, fragrant and confusing. Many of the wines were oxidized even though they were a few months old. I'm sure that many of these wines were the examples of bad winemaking, but most of them were just a foreign language to me. I didn't have a context and I didn't know what the hell was going on. I wish I could have the first time again, but this time with someone who could guide me through the experience...if you know what I mean. The innocent Aurore blurted out, "I see, this is the kind of wine that was made a long time ago. It is a taste that we have forgotten." The comment immediately endeared her to group. After, she and I fled for a much needed coffee. Aurore ordered some sort of dessert, deep fried chocolate ganache. It was a French version of a fried Mars Bar. Aurore ate the whole thing, "Do you see how confused that tasting made me?" She promised to spit the next time.