It’s been a week with a lot of French overtones. My neighbor’s estranged sister decided to visit her brother after a 20 year hiatus. He’s not really sure why she became estranged from the family, or why she chose to get unestranged, but sometimes it’s better not to ask too many questions. Even the French prefer not to look gift horses in the bouche. Nevertheless, she was here with a boyfriend (husband? not sure), and they spoke a lot less English than I spoke French, so French became the lingua franca. It was nice to dust off my rusty French and do a little conjugating in mixed company. My accent was pitiful. At one particularly low point, I was trying to ask the sister if she was hungry, and I mistakenly asked if she had a wife. Oh well. I’m sure they were happy I at least tried. In spite of it all, I think they actually believed I spoke and understood a lot more than I really did. I’m good with brief phrases, and short comments, which I guess gave them the impression that I was comprehending the majority of the discussion. Not really.
This afternoon was a Beaujolais tasting at the local wine shop. Free wine. Two of my favorite words. I actually learned a lot of about Beaujolais. Had no idea it was a region with 12 different appellations–that’s French for “I know a lot more about wine than you do, you peon.” I was not aware that some of my favorite wines, like Morgon or Fleurie were actually considered Beaujolais. And I had no idea that the wines I tasted had (according to the experts) aromas of irises, roses, violets, cherries, lime, oregano, chalk dust, and sea breeze. The taste was also described as reminiscent of plums, red currants, peach marmalade, toasted nuts, and mineral salts. Very strange. Maybe I’m missing something, but they all tasted like grapes juice to me. I guess there is a lot of poetic license with the wine writers, it’s not an easy task to describe in words a taste that is ephemeral and delicate and purely subjective. So I will cut them some slack and take their florid descriptions with a grain of salt. That’s sea salt, with a hint of sea weed and a fragrance of briny sea air and mussels, a tad astringent and a pleasant citrus mouth feel. I bought a bottle of 2008 Chateau de Pizay and I set it aside in my wine cellar to let it age; I’m hoping a day or two will mellow out its rougher edges. I’m thinking it will be a fine accompaniment to a chicken salad sandwich from Morry’s deli. Cheers.