Today is a surprise party for BourgogneLive, an exceptionally dynamic web blog that runs on hopes and dreams in the Bourgogne region of France. If you think I’m insane to spend so much time on the web, you need to meet Aurélien Ibanez and François Desperrier. They’re not even winemakers. They’re not even wine merchants. They just really like wine. And so they blog. And boy, do they blog.
It’s great for the Bourgogne. They bring a breath of fresh air and a very contemporary understanding of online communication. They know the value of exchange. Bourgogne Live is an asset to their region. (Sound familiar?)
I think they’re appropriate representatives of the region, and I’ve long promised to write a sort of essay on the similarities between regional wine bloggers and their respective regions, and this seems like a perfect place to start it. It’s actually probably one of the hardest for me to do because I know much less about Bourgogne than other wine regions, and what I do have to convey is sort of a gestalt feeling …. but stick with me.
Bourgogne is one of France’s great old wine regions. And despite my profound love of the Languedoc and Roussillon, I concede that we are not nearly as prominent in the public imagination as Burgundy and Bordeaux. Those two poles of France defined French wine for a long time. And they also sit at odds in many ways.
The most obvious difference to prove is that Bordeaux is characterized by much larger estates. Bourgogne is famous for tiny clos with very small cuvees. In this respect, the Bourgogne is more human-scaled and feels more artisanal. Think of the word clos versus the word chateau.
Somebody once told me that Bordeaux winemakers historically eat at long rectangular tables where one person sits at the head and presides. And that in older tables, there is a drawer at the end where the head of table keeps the bread and .. I don’t know.. other goodies. There are two seats directly to the president’s side, and they have the best access to the head of the table. Then as you move down the table, you get farther and farther from the head. It’s all very stratified. But Burgundian winemakers sit at round tables. This could be totally made up for all I know, but the image stayed with me.
Bourgogne, a region for the democratic and egalitarian wine drinker. Or the egalitarian and democratic wine blogger! BougogneLive comes with the same spirit of open, human-scale interaction. They are approachable. They are many. They are not WSET certified, seventh generation winemakers with doctorates in oenology. They are dudes who like wine. And they try to open as many doors as possible for as many people as possible. It’s also appropriate that they don’t limit themselves to writing about Bourgogne. They write about silly wine videos, wine merchandise, gastronomy, elephant winemakers, and just about anything they feel like.
I’ll admit my knowledge of Burgundy is lacking. But my image of the Bourgogne is that it is small, human, artisanal, and open. And that is how BourgogneLive feels to me too. So, kudos to those boys. May they keep blogging. And may somebody in their region have the good sense to start paying them for it. Because the day they quit (heaven forbid) there will be an enormous vacuum. And Bourgogne will lose a really golden opportunity.
So three cheers! And may they KEEP BLOGGING.