This past October, Debbie and I were in Beaune, France, the Burgundy capital of the world, to research and buy Grand Cru Burgundy from Gevrey Chambertin, Chambolle-Musigny, and Vosne-Romanee. With my heavily red-pen underlined and warn copy of The Professional Wine Refference in hand, I was on a mission to secure a select Grand Cru list. And I knew from past visits to Beaune just the shop down the street from our favored Hotel Beaune to ask. In shockingly short order I was able to fill my complete Grand Cru checklist and arrange to have it all shipped back to America, once the weather cooled, which is vital. And to my astonishment I was able to purchase one bottle of the shops three bottle annual allotment of a special vintage of Leflaive (not Faively) Puligny-Montrachet. With this home-run experience, I could hardly believe my good fortune.
Obtaining excellent vintage Grand Cru locally in America is no easy task. For example, I recently spent an hour going through the wine racks at Beacon Hill’s three wine shops. Not a single bottle of Grand Cru Burgundy on the racks regardless of the vintage or grower. And if you know Boston, you are aware that Beacon Hill is a prestigious, pricy enclave.
Scroll forward to my birthday just a few days ago. For years I have been fiddling around with and cursing my different wine openers, from cheap plastic ones to (awkward metal ones). Well no more. Debbie surprised me with an authentic Vialis Chateau Laguiole (lah-yole) hand-made, stainless steel and Thuya wood French wine opener. The specimen wood was originally imported to Versailles during the 18th century. All the Vialis Creation Chateau Laguiole openers come in a customized blue leather pouch with a certificate of authenticity. Both the blue leather pouch and the Chateau Laguiole feature the historic stamped metal bee. And the boot lever is stamped with the famous fleur-de-lys (armorial emblem of the kings of France). All production is done in the south of France in Thiers. Knockoffs abound, so purchase your Vialis Chateau Laguiole employing all of the safeguard features I have outlined for you here.
Any one you know who loves fine wine (hopefully French Burgundy) will thank you profusely for yanking them from the misery of cheap plastic (frustrating) openers a la Dick Young. What a great Christmas gift, even if you are unable to accompany your gift with a bottle of Grand Cru Gevrey Chambertin from your local wine shop.
Dick and Debbie