There is something in the air today – a no-going-back-to-winter thyme-damp smell of approaching green. The skies seem to have cried their last and we breathe in the scent of relaxation in our morning nest of skin, Egyptian cotton and fur. On descending for coffee, the alluring display of our Californian guest’s dinky red lace G-strings hanging to dry promotes some initial insecurity on my part and Julian assures me (of, I have to admit it, BIG pants comfort) that it is skin and white cotton that he prefers.
It seems, now that the breeze is touching ours at last, skin is in the air. Yesterday we went with our elegantly lingeried friend to our favourite wine-merchant – Goubert - to stock up on our favourite whites – Cuvée ‘V’ 100% viognier, and ‘Favoris’- 50% Viognier and 50% Roussane. We fell, naturally, for the free apéro called ‘dégustation’ and, informing us it was her last day, Madame Cartier’s assistant was very generous in her servings. While she was pouring, starting on the reds with the Sablet, moving through the Beaumes de Venise and to the Gigondas, culminating in the Queen of Reds – Cuvée Florence named after their daughter, she did a fine impression of Julian’s English pronunciation:
“Koovay Vee!!!!!” she tittered.
The proprietors joined us, inviting us into the back for a more intimate ‘continuation’, shyly explaining that it wasn’t as glamorous as the Californian vineyards our friend was used to.
“We have never been to California. We would love to go and see Sonoma and Napa, but we do not have the time – or the ‘les moyens’”. I said how much more I enjoyed the wine here, and particularly the less commercial approach. For a start you don’t, in general, have to pay for tastings. “Yes”, Madame Cartier agreed “We are more ‘terroir’ here. Florence went to California this year. She liked it, but you know, ‘comme ça’…”
Somehow, I think it was more the lack of time than means that prevented their crossing the Atlantic to see how the other side did it.
We moved on, via art and music (They have a friend that plays the harpsichord and wondered if J ever painted pastels of flowers to give their friend on her birthday) to corks. Monsieur Cartier, his peasant face now sharply defined and animated, explained to us the magic of the cork: “ The plastic is fine for young wines, that you do not have to lay down, but the cork allows the wine to breathe just enough and therefore evolve. Nowadays, with everyone in apartments, no-one has space to lay their wines down and therefore most wines are made to drink young.”
The knowledgable middle aged assistant slipped away, leaving her young blonde replacement who knew nothing about wine but whose social charges were surely less.
We left, with our gifted bottle of Cuvée ‘V’ and Madame saying “It goes beautifully with asparagus! My peonies are out now so the asparagus should be here soon!”. And so the thread of the debate between the hermetically sealed and the breathing skin continues through our wine drinking, as it will through our renovation (starting as soon as the dancing hemp builder receives the inspiration) and perhaps even our choice of underwear.