18 August 2011
We arrived in Mâcon before sundown on Monday evening, and after stowing our bikes and showering in our murdery hotel we resolved to hit the town, where nothing was open. Notably closed was a very nice-looking natural wine bistro in the shadow of the church called Le Carafé, which restaurant came with the recommendation of Isabelle and Bruno Perraud. In desperation I led everyone on a hopeless trawl through the shut streets of Mâcon looking for a restaurant where more than pizza was served, until, ready to surrender to sham-Italian, we espied the town on the Sâone river's opposite bank, Saint-Laurent-Sur-Saône, bathed in late sunlight with with a number of busy terraced restaurants on the quay.
After eyeballing each one, we determined that the best were shut, and of the two that remained, the one that had a table for us looked trashy as all get-out. This left us with Le Saint Laurent, what turned out to be a Georges Blanc restaurant with a vaguely troisième-age air and a thirty-plus minute wait for a quaint and extremely conservative mass-hospitality meal that nevertheless contained several surprises.
09 August 2011
Every so often - usually in the dining sections of popular newspapers - I read about the Copper Penny Trick, wherein an author dispels reduced aromas in a wine by plunking a copper penny in the glass. Hey presto, and gone (or diminished) are the burnt-matchstick / eggy qualities associated with sulfur reduction.
I have always hated these articles, despite having not, until just recently, tried the copper thing myself. I guess I felt the articles subtracted more than they added to wine discourse, in giving the impression to lay readers that wine were some wizardy substance that responded to talismanic rituals. (For that is the image that remains, regardless of whether the article in question delved into the fussier science of copper and mercaptans. Jamie Goode of WineAnorak explains much of that science here.)
My worry has been, I think, that if we go down this road and make it socially acceptable to propose putting things from our pockets into wine, we will inevitably begin encountering doofuses who know nothing of wine except this trick. We'll be serving wine at a social occasion of some sort and Mr. Copper Penny will stand and do his thing and then cheekily propose adding Eye of Newt, or Deadly Nightshade.