Tag Archives: Nuits-Saint-Georges

Running is good for the soul, and friendship

Yesterday I couldn’t help but laugh every time a car passed me on my short little three mile run. Armed with multiple layers and ski gloves, I had pulled the drawstrings of my sweatshirt around my chin so tightly that only my eyes and nose managed to peek out from the tight hole. Yes, I would be back in 28 minutes, and yes, this was Kentucky, where it never gets cold enough to warrant such ridiculousness. I’ll blame it on my West Coast roots.

All this to say that while I was running my measly three miles I remembered that one year ago at this time, I was training for a semi-marathon and running ten to twelve miles on a regular basis.

My friend Val, who was studying abroad in France while I was doing my teaching assistantship, and I had decided to train together to combat the effects of all the delicious French food we had become so used to eating. We were both runners, but had never done long distances. When we found out about the Nuits Saint Georges semi-marathon, however, our interest was piqued.

13.1 miles through the gorgeous vineyards of Burgundy seemed appealing, but neither of us could deny the real draw: talk of “wine tastings” along the way. At first we thought it must be an oral legend, a bit of Burgundian mythology that had spread over the years. We imagined a few runners nearing the end of their course and being rejuvenated by a winemaker with a beret and a sparkle in his eye. Years passed and word traveled; runners began knocking on the winemaker’s door for a little kick when their fuel ran low.

These are the kinds of things we hypothesized during long runs anyway. Laughing, and sometimes grunting, Val and I got to know each other over the miles. She was the faster runner, but I brought a strong dose of competition, so most of the time we stayed neck and neck. Once on our third tour of the Parc de la Colombière in Dijon, having just beaten our two previous 400m interval times, I pleaded for mercy, saying we should be careful not to injure ourselves beating the time on our third effort.

“We’re already going faster than planned for today,” I reminded her between gasps on the rest interval. “Let’s try to relax a little.”

Nearing the starting point, Val fingered her watch. I sucked in one last deep breath.

I don’t remember much but pain and the desire for oxygen when the timer was ticking. The big, shady chestnut trees that seemed so pleasantly encompassing on regular runs became a blurred tunnel as we whizzed by. I detested their solidity and I yearned for their stillness.

We beat our time again. Continue reading



Filed under Adventure, Cool Characters, Culture, Dijon

Nuits-Saint-Georges Premier Cru: a birthday wine

“Everyone always asks how I got into wine…”

It’s a popular way to start the “About Me” section of wine blogs, wine books, winery sites, and as I am reading this one in particular, it occurs to me that most of the time I could guess the answer to the question without reading further. The only thing left to be determined is the year.

What I mean, of course, is that everyone seems to remember the bottle that got them into the wine industry. Not the winemaker or wine writer per se, but the bottle of wine, the taste on their lips that produced an “aha moment” of complete certainty and conviction.

I wonder if ten, twenty years from now I’ll be remembering the bottle of 2001 Nuits-Saint-Georges Les Vaucrains Premier Cru that Nico and I shared for my birthday.

Having decided on the main courses at our favorite Sabot de Vénus, we scrutinized the wine list, applying our basic knowledge in a game of chance. “No Gevrey-Chambertin,” I said, pointing to the top of the list. “Probably too fruity to go with our sauces.”

(I had ordered a chicken dish with a strong Epoisses cheese sauce and he a filet mignon de porc à la réglisse.)

“You’re right,” he said. “I was thinking Nuits-Saint-Georges.” I followed his finger down the list.

“2001,” I said, raising my eyebrows.

It was my birthday. We ordered it.

Delicious at first taste, its spiciness eased with a little air as we enjoyed our first sips with the appetizer. My face warmed as it traveled across my palate. I searched for the word to express its earthiness.

Then came the main courses. A little more air, a little more time, and the wine had transformed again. Faced with the Epoisses, it rose to the occasion with an explosion of macerated plum and floral accents.

“Taste this,” Nicolas said, offering me a bite of his filet mignon, eyes wide.

And that, my friends, is when this wine went from delicious to exceptional. Off the charts. Dare I say life changing? The licorice of Nico’s sauce still on my palate, I took a sip of the wine and, boom! Another taste altogether. The plum and rose from a moment before gave way to a sweet, rooty complement to the licorice, as if mirroring, or trying to one-up the réglisse in Nicolas’ meal. Imagine a wine that starts of spicy and a bit tannic and twenty minutes later could be considered candy! My eyes closed; I relished the long finish. Nicolas chuckled.

With a sip of water and another bite of chicken, my glass of wine complied. Once again full bodied and vigorous, there could not have been a better companion to my plate.

Or to Nicolas’.

This wine was magic.

Seduced by its power, we later did a Google search with hopes of buying several more bottles. Not possible, at least for the 2001 vintage. “It’s the quality of the domaine that counts. I’m sure the 2004 would be similar,” encouraged Nicolas, having found some bottles for sale.

Half disappointed, half intrigued, I willed the taste of the wine to come back to me by way of memory. A hint of it did. And from now on, that hint is all that I will ever have of that magical bottle.

But there are so many other wines to discover.

How did I get into wine? I owe it to a 2001 Nuits-Saint-Georges Premier Cru from Domaine Dupasquier & Fils.

For Mélie’s translation: Continue reading


Filed under Chatillon-sur-Seine, Culture, Food, Inspiration, Wine