I don’t really know where to start here. I’m out of my depth. The company is impossibly high: Becky Wasserman is no less than an icon in the elysian world that is domaine-bottled Burgundy. The answers are poetry. I want to be in New York City in 1953. I want to be in Bouilland right now. I’m struck.
I’m working on the “telephone line to God” piece. I’ve never had a theophany in church: they’ve always been in, or close to, vineyards. If you want to find the line to the Him, I reckon you should look in Chambolle or Vosne. These are the best lines, though they can also be found in Volnay and between Chassagne and Puligny (and, on different networks, in Pauillac and Margaux)
The guardians of these portals, those in charge of the line quality, are the likes of Jacques-Fredéric Mugnier, Michel Lafarge, Dominique Lafon.
My wandering point: Becky Wasserman founded Le Serbet in 1979. This was when Burgundy was more or less undiscovered. And she found the portals, she found the guardians. She found the lines to Him. If you are a fan of the grail that is Bourgogne at its best then you probably owe her something, as do I. I hope that I haven’t denigrated the purity of her answers.
Becky: thank you.
The first wine:
New York City, 1953. A sixteen year old girl, intellectual, ardent reader of Camus, smuggled Henry Miller novels, longing to travel abroad. The very word ‘wine’ is evocative of all that is European.
Someone gives her a bottle of Mateus Rosé. It is not the taste or the shape of the bottle, it is a key.
The second wine:
Vienne, La Pyramide, 1965 : First trip to France. The sommelier suggests a 1945 La Tâche, perhaps a bit young but ‘un vin d’exception’. The dining room is full of guests and conversation.
The bouquet is beautiful, mysterious, an incense not an incense, and the taste cannot be described because it is like nothing else.
I am no longer in a room, in a restaurant, and only return when food is served. Ten years ago: a 1945 Musigny (blanc) from the Mugnier cellar. Quiet at first, a single note, then expanding in a gentle crescendo both in perfume and weight until it became calm again.
Best bottle: or best grape because the aligoté has been ignored.
A 1998 from Pierre and Anne Morey, a Raisins Dorés from the Lafarges, Sylvain Pataille’s quartet. Such wines served from a decanter astonish and delight and defy all attempts at identification.
‘Our brightest blazes of gladness are commonly kindled by unexpected sparks’. Samuel Johnson
Becky, thank you again.