I have done something terribly wrong. So wrong, in fact, that the karmic powers that be deprived me today of a serious helping of Champagne -- I'm talking Cotes de Blancs Champagne, the cream of the serious crop Champagne, small grower-producer tasty toasty biscuity Champagne -- and in exchange gave me a shitty cup of coffee. My plane was delayed five hours from Berlin to Paris; oops. And then I sat in a train in Paris for another two a cause de "multiple accidents"; oops. (The mental anguish was such at one point that I realized that the French word for bread was really, truly "pain.") And there went the day, in planes and trains (and eventually, automobiles) when I finally, finally got to Vertus, a small town in the region of Champagne, just a stone's throw (or an hour, as the SNCF flies) from Paris.
We're here overnight; tomorrow, driving south to Burgundy and Morey-St.-Denis, a small village in the heart of the Cotes de Nuits. I'm traveling with three salesmen; one, a buyer, the second, an owner, and the third, my boss and taster extraordinaire. So much so that over dinner (my first solid meal of the day, hurrah!) I just sat and demurely nodded to each of their gushings over the yellow pages-thick wine list of the hotel restaurant (which, as a weird aside: French hotel restaurants, especially in the wine regions, somehow always look as if they've been decorated by the B-team at Denny's. Sea foam green napkins, baby-blush pink walls. Somewhat like a hard candy sucked and then spit aside. It betrays what often is, or at least can be, a pretty good damn restaurant.) I can't play the price game. As I've often detailed, we're a 5-Euro and under household, and damn proud of it. I know what certain wines cost, and am more than happy to expand my knowledge when riding on the tabs of others.
All this to say is that I'm still oggling a crusty cork from a bottle of 1982 Chateau Montrose, a kiss of rose petals and poached plums, that still (still! we finished dinner an hour ago!) lingers on my tongue with stolen kisses on soft earlobes. Silk-lined kisses.