Thibaut de Plaisance 2008 (Marc Penavayre)
it’s 8°C in Paris and I love the smell of Christmas.
This is it. We have entered the very last weeks of the year. For some they are filled with shopping. Others are planning parties and get-togethers. Many are working hard at rounding the year off successfully.
I wonder what next year will be made of… Will it be another year of economic hardship? Which parts of the planet shall be hit with earthquakes, tornadoes, revolutions? How will California gastronomy fare without Foie Gras? Come december 2012, will Ahmadinejad/Sarkozy/Obama still be head of their respective states?
How powerful will China, Russia, India be one year from now? What will be left of France, Germany, UK’s leverage on the geopolitical playing field? Will the professional, personal, economic outlook for my generation brighten up or become even grimmer?
The last time I drank Château Plaisance’s Thibaut de Plaisance was in 2008. I was living in Columbia, MD, working for an importer of french wines, doing lots of cooking and yoga (rarely simultaneously) and basically watching the global economy fall apart.
Three years later I’m living in Paris, have a job I love, do most of my cooking in my friends’ kitchens, am doing practically no yoga and watching the economy struggle to recover.
Even though I make the exact same amount of money now as I did then, live in a much smaller apartment now (hence the cooking at other people’s places) and my overall standards of comfort are much lower, I feel my life is a lot richer today.
It is richer through the people I have met, the friendships I have maintained, the men I have fallen in (and out of) love with. It is richer because I have had time to deepen my knowledge of wines, because I have tasted hundreds of wines, met many winemakers and made several trips to the vineyards.
It is richer because I have time to read a lot, time to write, because I feel stronger and more assured, because I have the support of people whose opinion I care for.
It is richer because these same people can rely on me, because I know my opinion and care and friendship and ideas matter to them.
It is richer because I know there’s a network of people I can rely on, because I feel part of something bigger, something that might be called a community.
Marc Penavayre descends from a long lineage of winemakers in Fronton. The winemaking philosophy is simple; good wine is made in the vineyard, not in the barrel. Labors, natural treatments and year-long attention allow for healthy and ripe fruit.
Thibaut de Plaisance was as comfortable now as it was three years ago. The beautifully expressive Négrette is blended with Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon, the low yields giving much depth and complexity to the wine. The nose is typical, it hints at violet and candied fruits. The mouth is very supple and open, lush fruit wrapped around silky tannins. Oak is blended in beautifully, giving just enough structure to underscore the wine’s minerality and refreshing acidity. I had it at La Maison de l’Aubrac, for a late night dinner with an old friend and a more recent one.
So I don’t know what next year will be made of, but it was good to have Thibaut de Plaisance make me stop and think about my life and how it has changed over the past couple of years. What I do know is that I am thankful not so much for what I have as for who I have in my life.
You know who you are, big up!