11 October 2010

character reversal: twin peaks & mâcon-chaintré

To my mind, David Lynch's greatest formal innovation with Twin Peaks - his half-parodical adoption of the "low" genre of television soap opera - was less an innovation than a restoration. The key tropes we associate with soap operas, e.g. hidden lives, sudden character reversals, things being generally never as they seem, are as old as literature itself. They're as elemental to Shakespeare's comedies as they are to Proust's A La Recherche du Temps Perdu. What Lynch did was to restore these plot elements, which had fallen to being just that, mere pivots for action, to their proper literary place as descriptors of the human psyche.

And so as we plowed into the strong(er) first half of Season 2, it was only fitting that the Native Companion and I shared a bottle of Domaine Valette's 2007 Vielles Vignes Mâcon-Chaintré, a wine that ended not at all as it began, a wine of two faces, of double lives... A wine I really ought to have researched a little further beforehand, and decanted. (Slaps forehead.) 

Mâcon-Chaintré is a village-designated Chardonnay from just south of Pouilly-Fuissé, in the Mâcon, the southern edge of Burgundy. Domaine Valette is a domaine based in the village of Chaintré, run by Philippe Valette, who makes a pretty dizzying array of Chardonnays from all over the Mâcon. Previously I'd had his surprisingly excellent 2008 Beaujolais Blanc at Le Verre Volé, and then more recently his somewhat less interesting Mâcon-Villages of same year, which I'd purchased at the cave location of same wine bar. Where the Beaujolais Blanc had a delicate, quivering smokiness to it, the Mâcon-Villages was somewhat simplistic and typical by comparison - not awful, but less than I'd expect from a vigneron famed for his natural winemaking, respect for terroir, etc. who is something of a Chardonnay specialist.

The bottle of Mâcon-Villages later became the watering can for my miserable herb garden.

The 2007 Mâcon-Chaintré ended by being everything I'd hoped for. But in the beginning the nose was almost completely dumb, the only character showing being a slightly unctuous rolled-earth note. I'd compare it to rude FBI Agent Albert's inauspicious entrance into the series:

By the bottle's latter half, everything began to come together.* Aromas of fresh butter appeared, and the palate, which had been a tight mineral skipping stone to begin with, opened up to reveal layers of kiwi and roasted hazelnut. The NC had to turn up the volume because I was sniffing the last glass so avidly. It was a reversal worthy of Agent Albert, who in Season 2 confesses to loving (in an Eastern philosophical sort of way) Sheriff Harry Truman, who had given him a black eye in Season 1:

*Unlike, ahem, the series' latter half. 

Domaine Valette's Mâcon-Chaintré (along with various other bottlings) is currently available at: 

38, rue Oberkampf
75011 PARIS
Metro: Oberkampf
Tel: 01 43 14 99 46

Related Links:

Twin Peaks & Chardonnay #1
Twin Peaks & Chardonnay #2
Twin Peaks & Chardonnay #3
Jean-Pierre Coffe on Domaine Valette
Aurélia Filion drinking the 2006 of same wine on her series "Bu Sur Le Web." (This is a comely but hyperactive Quebecois blonde who takes videos of herself freaking out about various wines. Worth watching for her hilarious accent alone. She pronounces "funky," a bizarrely adoptive term in French in the first place, as "fucky.")

No comments:

Post a Comment