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Monday, July 25, 2011

Debbie Miller Nelson's Trip to France, Part 3

All of our managers and wine staff travel at least once a year to a wine-growing region somewhere throughout the world. Traveling is one of the many aspects of UWS that sets us apart from other wine shops. We know that by meeting the winemakers, walking the vineyards and tasting new wine from the barrel, we can see first-hand the passion that goes into each bottle. We can then convey this commitment to quality to our customers. Rather than having you just looking at a label and a score, we believe it is our responsibility to bring you closer to how the wine was made and the people who made it. We'll be sharing their trip reports with you here on the Blog.

In June 2011, Debbie Miller Nelson, Wine Manager, had the privilege of traveling to France and immersing herself in French food, culture, and most importantly, wine!


After we leave a Leflaive and have lunch, it’s time to drive to Beaujolais to meet Stephane Aviron, a 40-year old negociant who learned the business from his father. His winery looks more like a barn with the big doors facing the vineyards and a real basement where he ages his wines. We go on a brief tour where Stephane shows us the underground fermenting tanks and the other side if the tanks where the grapes come out.



Stephane then brings us to the cellar to taste 2010 barrel samples. One of the questions that arises is about aged Beaujolaises. Can they age well? So, Stephane looks around and starts to open 94, 95, 97 and 99 Chinon. 1994 was Stephan’s first vintage and it was the best of the four. He bestowed one of his remaining bottles of 1994 on the group.

We bid farewell and nap until dinner in the van which happens to be at Patrick and Annick Leflaive’s house.

Before we go their house, we have to go back to the hotel to pick up Alex who missed his initial flight and took the next flight out on Monday, then the train and a taxi to the hotel. With the full group finally together we drive to Patrick Leflaive’s house.

After our initial meet and greet we are surprised to see the one and only Olivier Leflaive arrive in time for drinks and dinner.

We chat in the backyard over Leflaive whites, one of my traveling companions bounces on the grandchild’s trampoline and we enjoy their appetizers in the yard. Olivier insists that I sit next to him at dinner and I do. He is quite the charmer and even finagled some kisses from me.

Annick makes us a home cooked seafood stew over rice, salad, cheese and a bread pudding for dessert. I finally convince her to let their family dog go free so we can enjoy his company as well and she does.

The Leflaives regale us with stories of their youth, the war and family (Olivier has a 4-year old son in addition to his adult children). It was a great evening. They even opened a magnum of 05 Batard-Montrachet and Patrick invited me to work a harvest. Olivier did say something about needing a new wife, hmm.

After we head back to the hotel where a few of us enjoy the hot tub and open a bottle of Dujac.

Life is good!



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