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From 2018, Indelible Messages From the Past

Category: Food & Drink,Lifestyle

La Paulée de Meursault is a glorious celebration of Burgundy held every November in Meursault. Based on the informal parties traditionally held after the harvest, it has evolved into a 700-person extravaganza of local Meursault producers, their families, friends and guests, and a lot of wine, often poured by the winemakers.

I was lucky enough to attend this year, for the second time, and even more luckier still to be seated near Pierre Morey and his daughter, Anne Morey. Their estate, Domaine Pierre Morey, is one of the Côte de Beaune’s most underrated producers. The wines are not flashy. They are refreshingly modest and understated, yet exquisite.

The Bâtard-Montrachet, a grand cru white poured by Mr. Morey, was both pure Bâtard and pure Morey. It did not leap out of the glass, yet rewarded close observation with its deep, stony, mineral aroma. It smelled so good that for a while I could not bring myself to drink it. When I did finally taste it, the wine was sublime.

At the same dinner party at which the Noël Verset was poured, a collector opened an old half-bottle of Chartreuse, the legendary liqueur produced by Carthusian monks, who are so secretive that nobody outside the monastery is entrusted with the recipe.

The vintage date on the label was no longer legible, but Jeff Joseph, the collector who brought it, and others who knew far more about Chartreuse than I, estimated it was from the late 1940s. It was produced in Tarragona, Spain, where the monks built a distillery during an exile from eastern France after the French government nationalized their distillery in 1903. The Tarragona distillery operated from 1903 to 1989, so the production window for the bottle is wide.

Whenever it was made, this Chartreuse was stunning, unlocking for me the reason so many people cherish these liqueurs. It was a bit sweet, profoundly bitter, complex and fascinating. Above all, it was refreshing, a welcome digestif after a long and bibulous meal.


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