Sometimes the best lessons we learn are learned “the hard way”, which is a nice way to say that we learned them “because of something incredibly stupid that we did”.
So it’s Christmas time in my house – actually in many other places as well – and the decision of what is the best wine to drink for Christmas dinner was on my mind. As I pondered, I realized that I forgot wine lesson number 1 – a lesson I learned the hard way.
While visiting France two summers ago I engaged Roger in conversation. Roger is a Parisian, a man who has lived through a coffee shortage in WWII, married well (a beautiful Brazilian professor), is smart enough to now live in Antibes, and of course is an expert in all things French. As we were talking I thought that I might impress him and get some information at the same time.
“What is your favorite region of Beaujolais?” I asked, thinking myself clever that I know a little about the wine regions in Burgundy. Roger paused (sighed), looked at me closely (too polite to spit at me), and with a slight tilt to his head (instead of shaking it) replied, “It depends on what you are eating”.
It depends on what I am eating. For me, time stopped as wine lesson number 1 slowly worked its way through my brain. I wanted to raise my arms, look heavenward, and scream out loud “Of course it depends what I’m eating!”.
The French are well-known for their patience with stupid foreigners, and yet Roger graciously allowed the conversation to continue. The sumac encrusted frenched lamb chops that I was going to make would require a Fleurie - of course I wanted a Fleurie! – but what I really wanted was to go back about 5 minutes ago so that I could stop myself from asking a stupid question.
So what did I learn? Don’t try to impress a Frenchman with a wine question, a lesson I will do doubt forget before my next visit. Also, that I wanted a Fleurie.
Come to think of it, for Christmas this year I want a Fleurie.