Dames Who Read Recap: Shadows in the Vineyard

By Toria Emas

Dames Who Read were treated to a true taste of the vine on November 15th at Dame Nina Barrett’s Books and Bookends in Evanston for a discussion of  Shadows in the Vineyard: The True Story of the Plot to Poison the World’s Greatest Wine by Maximillian Potter. The book was written in commemoration of the 40th anniversary of the famed Paris tasting at which two California wines surprisingly won out over their French competitors and set the wine world into a tailspin.

Stacy Ballis and Bill Thurgood provided Stacy’s homemade bread and stellar Burgundy wines from Bill’s remarkable wine cellar. Judith Hines baked Millionaire Bars using an America’s Test Kitchen recipe, which paired nicely with Catherine Deevy’s contribution of a Cre’mant de Bourgogne Brut, a Blanc de Blancs from Louis Bouillot.
Bill walked the group through a tasting of two Bourgogne wines from the wineries featured in the book.     The first wine was a 2012 Domaine A. et P. de Villaine from Aubert Villaine, vigneron of Romanee-Conti and the subject of the true mystery story. The second wine was a 2005 Leroy negotiant wine.  He also amused Les Dames with intimate stories about Lalou Bize-Leroy and the rivalry between the various factions of Romanee-Conti. Apparently, Lalou loved to keep records of her guests tasting notes and loved controversy.
Conversation continued over an ancient grain and arugula salad from Panera and delicious cheese selection from Pastoral.  The 2015 M. & C. Lapierre Morgon, a Cru Beaujolais from the Gamay grape, paired perfectly with the Delice de Bourgogne, a triple cream cheese and the Pleasant Ridge Reserve, a cow’s milk Alpine-style cheese from Dodgeville Wisconsin which is also sold in France.
One take away from the tasting was that Bordeaux wines reflect the sun and Burgundy wines are all about the terroir.  Everyone agreed that when in doubt you can always rely on wines recommended or imported by Kermit Lynch.
Cheers to Judith for coordinating this fun-read and educational tasting.  A special thank you to Stacy Ballis and Bill Thurgood for sharing their excellent examples of Burgundy wines.
Stay tuned for the next Book Club on February 21 where all attendees will participate in cooking a meal prepared from surprise ingredients that are brought to the Tuesday night supper club in Dame Diane Sokolofsky’s kitchen. The inspiration for this evening is  The Umbrian Thursday Night Supper Club by Marlena de Blasi.

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