Today makes it a full week, well I guess the days/numbers might be a bit askew seeing as I flew out last Sunday night Los Angeles time and it is now a quarter to 2:00 in the AM here in the tiny picturesque village of Hautvillers in Champagne. Landed in Paris Monday night with 2 other of my travel mates, including the importer that asked us all to come, met with, had dinner with the final of, “The Four” in Paris before we all packed, (and I am talking PACKED as all of us are on two week plus trips here) what was to be our chariot and headed to Angers, a stunningly beautiful village in the Loire. So by the time this post posts it will be Monday there so in some jacked up way I think that makes a week.
I had many a grandiose plan of writing about each and every day I’ve spent here. Recap the adventures, and misadventures, (don’t worry Josh and Jim…and One Armed Steve, your secrets are safe, for now) packed with stories that gushed with wine knowledge, tidbits on what’s been happening here, the silky textured cheeses and wine soaked sauces we’ve eaten, the caves we walked through and the young vibrant wines we drank but, well as is always the way with these trips to Europe shit happened like drunk and no internet access on the days or nights when I wasn’t….okay on the night when I wasn’t. Most nights we didn’t turn in until way after that fifteen minutes of clarity that seems to happen right before you crash, full-bellied and perfumed with wine, into your pillow, or next wrong decision and the nights that had us behaving in a fashion that might allow the buzzy mutterings of how I was getting along, well there was no internets. Pisser for me as I have down-right bursting at my already tight seams to share and junk. I know both of you that follow must be terribly curious…..
I have this splendid 15 minutes, an actual table to type on, a glass of 2011 Aliane Morgon Cote du Py Beaujolais at my side, the interwebs at my fingertips and the ache in the pit of my tummy that reminds me how much I miss this space, and both of you, when I’m away too long. In short, a quick update before washing my pudgy face, climbing into my jammies and falling asleep before my alarm starts screaming at me, in less than five hours from now, that I have to get up and stuff my girth into something incredibly wrinkled and head into Reims for a series of Champagne tastings…the real reason I’m here.
When Aline asked me to join her on this tasting and research trip to Champagne I was, of course, first flattered and second like a dribbling idiot, mouth watering like that creepy rapey wolf in those old Loony Tunes cartoons. How could, or would I pass this up?! Well then all the other stuff comes flaring up. Can I get the time off? Can I afford the flight, hotels, dinners and being away from the store? Where else are we going? Is anyone else invited…and when I heard there were to be two other, very prominent retailers on the trip? Will we get along? Will they like, or better yet, get me? Took the leap and by the time we were on that long drive from Paris to Angers in the Loire Valley, that very first night we were already in fits of laughter that would only grow louder, and deeper.
I’ve spent the past five six days with the most incredible group of honest, funny, crazy and hilarious people. I can’t think of a time I’ve laughed as loud, for so long and even up to the very last few moments, us racing down a nearly empty French beltway to get half of our little road trip family to the airport on time to catch their flight to Bordeaux, Aline and I moving on to our little Champagne adventure, our theme song, “Give me the beat boys and move my soul, I wanna get lost in the rock and roll” bouncing through the cabin of the car, our voices in unison, hands clapping…pulling off the road for one last photo, in a field of yellow…me trying to wipe the tears from my eyes before anyone noticed.
I’ll write more when I can, I've got many a story, wine and food, lots of stuff about France that you ought to know...and then there is still Champagne but tonight, tonight, “Give me the beat boys and free my soul”
Jim Knight and Josh Hoover, thank you so much for the laughter, the alcohol induced brain damage and the memories that will be part of who I am forever. Not only are you fiercely talented in your field, you are simply superb humans and I love you now, like it or not.
Please, don’t drift away…