04 Jean-Jacques Confuron, Romanee St.-Vivant Grand Cru
When I first tried this wine, it was with the brilliant importer and winemaker Scott Paul Wright in what was either the nicest tasting room I've ever been in, or his den. Because whether it was Scott, my fiancee, or my great friend Michael who set this whole thing up for me in the first place, there was something unmistakably homey, welcoming, and nearly loving about the entire affair. I like simplicity, in my wine and in my life. And despite having to travel across the country, stop in Denver, and drive down winding Oregon backroads to get here, this whole event was so… simple. Buy some meat and cheese and meet me down the road. We're going to drink some wine. Nilay, meet Scott. Hi Scott. Holy fuck, it's Scott. I should've worn a tie, maybe. Or carried around my copy of Jancis. Then there was the table. No table cloth. A bunch of chairs. Welcome. Sit wherever you'd like. Oh, you brought snacks (truffled sheep's milk cheese, duck prosciutto to start). How nice of you. At least that's what I think he said. This was about the time my ears started ringing, pupils shrinking as I stared at that table of wines and saw this Romanee St.-Vivant. I suppose the Marc Chauvet, Saint-Verain, Chablis, Meursault, LeClerc, Pommard, Vosne-Romanee, and Scott's own La Paulee and Audrey wines would be good enough to start. You know, before we got into this Romanee St.Vivant. (Was I the only one who could see this? How come no one was saying anything about it?) So an hour or two later, we were home. After all those other wines--each absolutely brilliant in its own right, particularly Scott's just-then-released La Paulee--I felt like we were returning somewhere with this bottle. No, not Chicago of course. Somewhere far more ancestral. That's what I mean when I say things like "purity" or "weightlessness," which is what I blurted out about this when it hit my tongue. It's a transporting wine. Not in the way great wine is, but in the way the first chill in September is a constant reminder of the first time I met my wife in college. Or, the best slice of pizza. Or Old Spice. Or whatever little thing you cling on to the memory of when all else fails. In case of hopelessness, break glass. Well, pop the cork at least. As I (barely) remember describing it that day to Scott (how embarrassing) and how I think of it today, the 2004 Jean-Jacques Confuron St.-Vivant Grand Cru is The Chronic. It gets richer in the glass and explodes with aroma after aroma on what seems to be a mission to become the world's most perfect morsel of toffee. That, with its whisp of diner pepper and light framboise gives this wine more than taste--it gives it… crescendo. Up and up and up we go. Forever expanding, growing, taking on new shapes and faces and loves and memories. Up and up and up. Until we are home.