Well, I finally made it. After nearly 24 hours of transit, thanks to a flight that took off nearly three hours late, which led to a missed train connection and an extra four-hour layover in the Charles de Gaulle TGV station. Not much to do there, so I caught up on some reading and listened to Derek and the Dominos Live at the Fillmore on my iPod.
By the time I got to Valence, it was nearly 9 p.m., and I headed off to dinner with Michel Chapoutier. The man loves food – we started with a series of sausages and meat, all made with marc, the grappa of France. We followed that with grives, the small game bird that is technically illegal, and a woodcock. Game birds and the Rhône equal a match made in heaven, especially when you're drinking ’97 Le Meal and ’97 L’Ermite.
Today I start in with an appointment in Cornas and then move on to tasting the new wines at Chapoutier – ’05 and even some ’06. Michel is really excited about the ’06 vintage, which he compares to ’90 for Hermitage and ’91 for Cote-Rotie – high praise. We’ll see.