I was at Bette this week. You know, that w. 23rd Street restaurant where the smart Byron Bates presides over the wine list? My hosts included winemaker Marc Jessiaume who had just poured me a half glass of his domaines 1929 Santenay Gravires. The silty wine (just off a plane the day before and jostled from the walk over) jumped out, grabbed me by the nose, pulled me into the glass. For a second I thought drowning might be a happy option. Then of course, reality kicked in. I'd need more than an inch and a half of liquid to do the job. But, nevertheless, the wine had such damned grip it was sexual. In the middle of the rapture, I caught a two-day-old face fuzz on a graying guy over to the left. Uh, is that George Clooney? He seemed so young, it didn't seem possible. He fawned over such uninteresting girls I thought, no, he had to have better taste than that. Cindy Crawford came and and sat down and twiddled her hair. I rushed to Byron. I wanted to know (oh I am so shallow) what he drank. Bea. Sagrantino. Bea. Great producer. You see, such unlikely people drink such great wines at this spot. That's where the people watching for me really kicks in. But back to the burgundy. Marc saw my puzzlement about 1929's grip and power. He told me its secret. In the winter after the harvest his grandfather rolled out the barrels. Part of the wine froze and he removed the ice and returned the barrels to the cellar. In the spring, the wine warmed up and went through malolactic. Everything else went as normal. My eyes bugged out as I registered that this was an early form of wine concentration. Now, how did I, Ms. Anti-Reverse Osmosis feel about that? Proof was indeed in the glass. 78 years later the wine was gorgeous and filled with the spice of old burgundy that I have come to crave. It was terrific old burgundy, complex and seductive except it was Santenay(!) which I never think of being so intense and long lived. To really figure out how I feel, I would have had to been privy to the early conversations leading up to the de-cubing decision. Was it to fix something that went wrong in the vintage? If so, the save worked. Was this an experiment to see if the wine could be made this way without adding sugar in chapitalization? In that case, it worked. And, why was the ice cube technique abandoned? Did it produce a wine too brawny its youth? In case you're wondering, Iím not likely to change my stand on reverse osmosis or concentration. I still think the concentrator/ro is a torture chamber for wine and allowing some ice to form and then removing it, sounds crazy but not that dissimilar from vetting wine from free run juice during grape crush. But I'd love to know what you all think.