There is something spectacularly simple about the small villages of Europe that I envy. They are unique, singular, and perfectly satisfied with their life. There is no need to be more, to have more, but rather they prefer to do their work well and to maintain this beautiful existence where people live together in community with one another. There is no suggestion here that simple is less smart, not at all. It is rather an appreciation that they have achieved something worthy of satisfaction. It is a community that is simple in the most remarkable way.
What I enjoy most about it is the feeling of openness. That means that your door is always open, your land is free for people to walk on, and your work is a function of a community. I was headed out for my morning run, and Julien told me just take a path, there are so many. When I expressed concern that I might be running on private property, he laughed yeah, probably, and if you get lost, just knock on the door and share a glass of wine.
My walk/run was amazing. There are winding wooded paths that take you into the woods back into a vineyard, down to a river and into a pasture where I encountered some cows taking a late morning rest (or perhaps it is going to rain!).
I love the feeling of unknown around the corner, and am comforted by a sense of peaceful solitude and quiet. There are birds chirping, the crack of dried sticks underfoot, and the trickle of the spring running along side the path. If it sounds idyllic that is because it is.
Later that day, we went to visit the neighbors, Jean Luc and Sylie Dupeuble, who make delicious Chardonnay and Gamay. We tasted their Chardonnay, unoaked, clean, and delicious. When I asked about oak, Jean Luc just said, emphatically, no. Sylvie shared that once they tried it in the barrel and she liked it very much, but Jean Luc did not like the richness of it. He thinks that Chardonnay is rich enough as it is. Sylvie likened it to good butter, and she smiled wistfully reflecting on it.
Their 2015 Chardonnay is lean, but not so much that it lacks supple rich texture, it tastes of fresh exotic fruits, with a cleansing acidity that makes your mouth water. We talked about terrior, a notion that is second nature to these wine makers, and we tasted both their Moulin au Vents Gamay compared to the Fleurie. The difference is remarkable to me, as always: same grape, same wine maker, but different soil, and vastly different experiences. The Moulin was darker, stronger, more masculine, and the Fleurie more perfumed and soft, fresh, subtle, and just lighter. When pressed for a judgement, I was diplomatic and honest, I like both, but prefer the Fleurie. Jean Luc laughed and told me that women always prefer the Fleurie, and Sylvie and I shared a look of knowledge, pleased with that moment of solidarity. Bien sur, we have a more sophisticated palate, I joked, that allows for an appreciation for more subtle wines. We all shared a laugh and then another glass of wine.