And now, what about industrial wines ? As we're in Cuban music, I would compare them with the rivers of commercial salsa-music that you hear sometimes on commercial Latin radio stations : industrially-produced-sounds, predictable and boring junk. Every music genre has its cheap Muzak counterpart but happilly, it can't imitate the real thing.
The wine is sold by the Négoce house Albert Bichot. It is an Hospices de Nuits 1998 Nuits-Saint-Georges 1er Cru "Les Didiers" Cuvée Jacques Duret. The climat "les Didiers" is located right near Nuits-Saint-Georges and is a monopoly owned by the Hospices de Nuits. The cask behind this wine has been bought by Bichot in march 1999 and kept in the cellar until 2000. At the last Hospices de Nuits auction, Bichot bought 29 casks (among the 132 casks of the whole auction).
Very refined nose. Luminous color. Beautiful wine with intensity and depth.
These latex-foam fake street-cobblestones were part of a humoristic performance art, Belleville being a neighborhood with an intense artistic and Bohème life.
We have been flooded with nostalgia lately in France and the "mai 68" fever is back ! Mai 68 is some sort of acronym in France for the unrest that paralized most of France in may 1968. The students took to the streets, occupied the universities and erected barricades in the Latin Quarter. The whole thing lasted several weeks and left a deep imprint in the French minds.
Seems like things have settled down since then, but don't be misleaded by the quiet terrace : the French love to make themselves heard violently from time to time.
"Beneath the cobblestones, the beach" was one of the favourite mottos of the revolutionary spoiled-children who were tired of their parents' model-role. This prolific generation felt disenfranchised with the prosperity-driven ideals of the older generation. Many street leaders of these unruly days of 1968 have since then taken refuge in state jobs or at the head of various media-related institutions. Essayist Régis Debray who labelled them in one of his books a "new clergy" which virtually ruled the country took an unbelievable salvo of flak for daring this remark and he was subsequently nearly black-listed. Hard to believe that these now aging 2-day-bearded rebels are the same ones who fought the "censorship of the bourgeoisie"...
These 1968 events in France where, like the ones in Japan and Germany at about the same time, very ideological and intertwinned with a predictable revolutionary rethoric. I tend to think that what the US have been through in the 60s' was less outwardly political and somehow more surprising, intense and authentic. The hippie movement in America is something that I find fascinating and we never ever had anything here in Europe that resembled to the San Francisco of the Hippie years. Even the more political Yippie movement (Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin) had the charm of its unpredictability. I witnessed a "Yippie vs Yuppie" debate between the two of them at the Austin U of Texas in november 1985 and I can testify that even the turned-Wall-Street-trader Rubin still had this unmistakable spark in his eyes (See the pictures that I shot in Austin back then)... These movements left a deep imprint on our dreams. Read this 7-page bicycle-bus story to understand what I mean.
For Zazon's fans : check her blog and look for her countless provocative hidden-camera impromptu shows (in one of them she plays a movie star at the Cannes Festival looking for a croissant...). You may not need to understand French to enjoy them. In some of them, the camera is in full view and she is supposed to make an interview, like here with a photographer speaking of his book where she treats Champagne quite harshly. The good-humoured guy takes her strange behaviour quite well...
Noëlla sits at my table a few minutes. She has been working for several years at Junko Arai's les Bois Lucas and she is now looking for her own vineyards in the region. She loves the region, the villages and she is looking for vineyards, either already organicly-farmed or not, as if the terroir and vineyards has some potential, she can easily convert it to the organic farming in a few years. Be ready for another outstanding Domaine in the Loire....
The words on the poster say "Long live to the natural wine", "down with sugar" and "down with cheaters". At this time, there was virtually no regulations and you could make industrial "wine" with basically every thing like beet sugar or, like you can read on this very informative page (in French), though a multiple vinification from the same batch of grapes by the vignerons themselves : they would empty a vat after a first fermentation (leaving the crushed grapes in the vat), then fill the vat again with water, add some sugar and tartric acid and here we go for another "cuvée", and another one afterwards... This page details several manipulations that were common at the time, like adding additives made out of elder tree, coriander and hollyhock which was routinely done to change the aroma. This no-rules policy led to overproduction and drop in sales, thus the revolts and demands for a "no sugar" natural-wine.
Wine and grapes in works of Art...
St Hieronymus is usually painted red-dressed with the Book and a lion, but here Carlo Crivelli portraits him pointing to the Book...or maybe the grapes?
Apart from this detail with the grapes (Crivelli always used vegetables and fruits in his compositions), I find Carlo Crivelli's work sometimes strikingly modern in style. When I spotted it among the other Italian-Renaissance collection works at Jacquemard-André, I thought that the museum had mixed some modern paintings to add some contrast to the experience. This painting has the feel of some futuristic comic strip that I leafed through. Not that I am fond of the pictural style of this particular painting but still find it interesting for its crisp lines.