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April 10, 2011

07 Domaine Berthelemot, Monthelie

There's a guy I hang out with sometimes, a friend of a friend's friend, really, who insists I'm missing it. You have got to try Spanish wines, he says. And Argentina--best value out there. Have you ever had Malbec with steak? Well, yeah, but let me look interested. Because I dig you, man. I like that you care this much about your wines. And they are your wines. I don't think you could like them more if you made them yourself. You've got to admit, (we'll call you:) Joey. My Burgundies aren't half bad. And yeah, there's even some pinot in Cali and Oregon you've got to check out. Why bother? I like to taste my wines, he says. And, of course, pinot is just a delicate flower. If RED WINE is a finely tailored suit, then pinot noir specifically is a wilting corsage. On a wrinkled lapel. So, Joey, try this one. Yeah, it's Burgundy. You know, the "elegant" "ethereal" stuff that all the sensitive, Dr. Phil-type wine drinkers talk about. Not a man's wine. I mean, you couldn't drink this with kangaroo, could you? I don't know. But when I pull out this bottle, I'd hide Skippy the Bush. You could drink this wine with tires. Forget the steak. I'd make a cocktail of this wine served up with two fingers of A1. It's a massive, blockbuster bottle for Burgundy. A nose-twitching black pepper bomb that first makes you think of Cote-Rotie, then grenache from southern Rhone, before you know--insist even--that it's actually a 2-year aged tempranillo from Spain. When your buddy tells you it's pinot, and you say, duh. Obviously. I just don't drink a lot of Cali pinots, which is why I missed it. Well, actually, it's Burgundy. And not at all as divergent or suspect as this description makes it sound. In fact, this is dyed in the wool French wine. One that explores the soft, luxuriously sweet cherry taste of pinot noir shouldered on an Atlas of fine French oak and what--against all odds--was a harvestable growing season. Question as we might. Scoff as we might. That its alcohol went a bit too far. That the slick sheen on our glass is nothing our grandfathers would have tolerated. Well they're all dead, aren't they. Aren't they. And now this wine speaks for them. And says we have, above all, represented where we came from. We were true to ourselves. And we never wavered, in spite of everything, spitting at everything, we never wavered in our message. Which is to tell you it is not we, the black vine, who have ever changed. It is you. Your world. Your world has changed. So here we are, pushing up from the ground to show you what you are made of.

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