After Christmas’19 one of the first emails I received was an email, between you and me I actually think it was a ’round-robin’ message, but it was addressed personally to me, Dear William, from Greta Thunderpants. She told me how I had ruined her childhood by drinking too much wine over the years, and that this January 2020, and also to show solidarity to her cause of course, that I must not drink as much wine as I normally do, in fact she was suggesting that I do not drink alcohol at all for the entire month of January. She tells me that I am not only destroying the planet by my vinous bad behavior, I guess she means the planet we are standing on, but she goes on to tell me that if I want to receive an organic free-fell Christmas card from her next year, that I must abstain from all wine drinking for the whole month, and please send a donation (£___left open of course) to re-plant the trees needed to be cut down by her Christmas card NGO.
Now, Greta obviously knows me very well and that I do not touch a drop of anything els, including Martinis, Grappa, Bach flower remedies (which contain 90% alcohol as if you did not know that already), and I am sure as hell not a goddam beer drinker. So I replied politely, of course that I will reduce my wine consumption for you, but only for you my darling.
So with my ‘Grand-Cru-Classe-Save-The-Planet-Bobble-Hat’ firmly on, I had to remind her at the same time that while I do agree to a point-point with her on the amount of wine I do annually drink. That at the same time, and please take note of this. I only drink massive amounts of vinified grape juice (wine) that are bottled at source with natural cork, as a stopper, and that I insist the wines that I buy and sell are all wines that are bottled with the same. What Great does not know is that these lovely natural wine stoppers (coming from the Cork tree) actually absorb more Cardon Dioxide (CO2) than a whole monthly beach clear up, yoga party and full forest re-wilding and tree planting exercises put together. And yet more importantly so as to keep mine and both your lungs healthy, I have reduced my daily January wine consumption down to just ONE bottle (each one contains 75cl of wine, red or white and closed with a natural cork) a day.
So, thanks to this Egyptian PE or Greta T inspired wisdome-exercise I ended up drinking whole bottles of extremely good wine, on a daily basis, combining my love of wine and my love of Mother Earth. Nope not two bottles as per the norm but as promised to GT, just the one bottle during January 2020. And I want to share with you, my dear conscientious reader, that my favorite of all the 31 bottles, actually I had such a headache on 1st January 2020 that I couldn’t think, let alone drink another thing, so let’s call it, out of the 30 bottles I drank during January, one a day, that this one singular brilliant bottle of wine labelled 2006 Nuits-St-Georges ‘Les Corvees Pagets’ lovingly made by Domaine Robert Arnoux (Pascal Lachaux is winemaker until Charles takes over in 2015) quite simply blew me away, and not only improved greatly both my aging liver, my lung-capacity and sense of what is still whyte n’wong wid de world. But it was one of the wines that actually makes feel on-top-of-the-world.
Now I know that you are all aware of the current Arnoux-Lachaux Burgundy phenomena that is going on right now, as the dear Lalou-disciple (youngstein Charles Lachaux) only just took over the reins at the domaine in 2015 and indeed we are all loving it except for the rapidity of the price hikes that is. The wines are quite outstanding. His 2016 (the same wine/parcel/vintage but ten years after the bottle I enjoyed so much) was tasted this month in London by various wine hacks and royalties in EC1, and the note made by one of the hacks is printed at the bottom* of this page for your enjoyment.
Now, back to my totally affordable bottle of 2006 ‘Clos des Corvees Pagets’ from pre-Charles days, that I drank gracefully all on my own, with a rare ‘steak et frites’ and a fresh watercress salad to support it, finishing off with a small selection of beautifully ripe unpasteurized British cheeses. My goodness I need to repeat this kind of dinner if only I could find the wine, the beef and those cheeses to make it happen. Without boring you all with the vin-detail I must remind you that the Arnoux side of this Pinot Noir fence has only just 0.55 hectare of vine available to them, the total of Pagets coming to just over one hectare (Domaine La Vougeraie has the rest of Pagets to make just one barrel of wine).
Most of us Burgundian freaks know very well that 2005 vintage put red and white Burgundy into another stratosphere, a great great vintage indeed and that 2006 was rather over-looked, as vintages tend to do that follow the big stuff. But what most people do not know, except our Burgundy guru Jasper M MW and his like, is that in Nuits-St-Georges and Vosne-Romanee villages, the wines made in 2006 where indeed very very good! Unlike villages further south a la Cote. Here there is flesh, ripeness and concentration as if it really was a great vintage, almost comparable to the previous year, 2005. My bottle was a little closed on the onset, I did not decant it, and then after fifteen or twenty minutes arrived some beautiful and subtle leathery notes, a touch of orange peel and some wild cherry flavors along with a hint of fresh mint. The juicy, moreishness of this wine just kept coming and coming with black cherry and a slight hint of licorice later on. Super fine tannins and totally balanced. A real dream of a red wine to drink just like this, all on its own ‘a la steak et frites’, and all on one’s lonesome if you can bare that. Great length!
… ten years later the wine royalty tasted 2016 Domaine Arnoux-Lachaux Nuits-Saint-Georges 1er Cru Clos des Corvées Pagots (95/100 NM) and it showed spicy red fruit on the nose. The palate is concentrated and fresh with fine raspberries and cherries. It’s quite fleshy with nice structure and an easy elegance. Ripe, pure and refined.
“The first duty of wine is to be red … the second is to be a Burgundy” .. Thank you! Harry Waugh (1904-2001)