Let’s get down, lets get down to business …
Professor Porter stated these were going to be wines not many get to taste, ever… as in they are library or reserve wines. They are for private sale. That was something we would be introduced to in the Rhone Valley. Private Sale. This was an industry in and of itself, industry code for wine professionals, you only know if you know sort of territory. I was intrigued, it seemed elusive. I wanted an in, apparently that day I had one.
Professor Ramage and Stephane spoke swiftly in french, I could pick up bits and pieces and they seemed to be making a deal on a wine we had just barrel tasted. Professor Ramage was the type of human being that only accepted the best of the best. Sarah joked that he and I had chemistry. I knew deep down I had a serious crush on him, although he was at least twenty years older than me. His demeanor, perfection and compelling presence, not to mention looks… George Clooney meets Enrique Iglesias or something similar. Sarah would always laugh and say, “he is your true dreamboat here in Paris.” It was true. I was just honored to be in his presence, he always demanded such respect by just his energy entering a room. He also knew a vast amount about wine, it amazed me he could remember all of the facts and details.
We each bought a couple bottles of Stephane Ogier. Next up … a place I had been highly anticipating, Michael Chapoutier. We were headed to the sought after region, Tain L’Hermitage. As in class, when we tasted wines from Chapoutier, it didn’t fail that on the bus ride over, we were told of Michael Chapoutier and the importance of his wines. The fact that they were constantly gaining accolades and winning awards. The Chapoutier family started in 1879, the year their first vineyard was purchased.
The Rhone Valley is the second biggest appellation in France. Only the Bordeaux region has more vineyards. There are almost 200,000 acres of vines planted in the Rhone Valley today. In total, there are more than 30 different AOC appellations in the Rhone Valley. In addition, there are approximately 70,000 acres planted in Provence. When added all together, the annual production of wine from the Rhone Valley is more than 400 million bottles of wine per year!