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I started this blog in 2006, it seems a lifetime ago. My children where still in nappies and twitter was yet to hatch. More than now, there seemed to be a connection between this and other wine blogs. Everything seemed fresh and possible. . . My notes are still staccato and my use of the ellipsis seems to have grown. . . The 02 Clonakilla was in the first clutch of wines that I wrote about (1,2).
Homely Le Gros Minet with it's bric-a-brac porcelain cats and its collection of old hats can be found in Les Halles; just down the road from the newly named Jardin Nelson Mandela and the largely neglected Church of Saint-Eustache, which has the most emphatic bell. Each chime deep and full of authority. . ...
My final tranche of holiday notes. E. Guigal Ch d'Ampuis Cote Rotie 2007. Meat, and malt, soy and balsamic. Bay and lavender, it's deep and edgy, changeable and with multiple faces. Rich and layered in the mouth, a note of vanilla, beautiful length, perhaps if I was splitting hairs I'd say it's fractionally warm. I wish. . . Ch Cheval Blanc St Emilion Grand Cru 1999.
The subterranean sibling of Bone Daddies. There are other things to order (a reasonable soft shell crab, sashimi, California rolls, Korean fried chicken wings and for desert the S'mores and donuts. . . ) but ultimately your opinion hinges on what you think of (repackaged ideas) the flesh and DIY buns ...
It's a narrow cobblestone street in the 4th, surely not more than a few hundred metres in length, it's full of tourists in search of moderately priced Parisian falafel, they've all been reading the same guidebooks and the recommendations on Tripadvisor . . On the wall across from popular Chez Hanna are the words This is where I stop to eat my fallafel.
My grasp of French is atrocious. A year of high school tuition decades ago only giving me insight into how much I disliked my teacher. This is of course mostly my own fault and now I see just what I have missed. Without language so many doors remain locked. . . not unexpectedly during my sojourn to Paris, I felt excluded.
There are many beautiful, picture book pretty places in the Cotswalds, but for me, the fairest of them all would have to be the two Slaughters; Upper and Lower. Connected by the River Eye and a mile long walk through several muddy sheep paddocks, it's impossible not to be taken by the clarity of the water, the daintiness of the gardens and the tranquility of the setting.
Sometime in July 2014. . . I look out of the hotel window and take a final picture of the Shard, marvelling mostly at the clouds and how rapidly they move. The skies seem so much more dramatic. I catch a glimpse of the news - the Tour de France competitors are bearing down and there will be road closures. . . A phone call to the room, our hire car has arrived, an hour early. . . A Peugeot.
You come expecting magic and theatre and a large bill (£361 for 4*) - and for the most part expectations are met. A smallish bar at the entrance, it's dark and subdued, there are potato crisps in bowls and people sitting around waiting for the show.
Then. I have an interest in outliers, things that are apart from their peers. When I started getting interested in wine, I had such a small reference pool, outliers seemed more frequent. I still remember a particular bottle of chardonnay, it was the first bottle that I remember actively seeking out. I made dozens of phone calls and drove all over the city trying to find more.