Sunday. Train ride to Montpellier. The TGV will take us there in a little over 3 hours. As soon as we are out of Paris, and the window is divided horizontally between blue sky and green fields of summer, we pull out the picnic.
We start by opening the wine: a 2003 Meursault Les Tillets from Patrick Javillier which we have in the real wine glasses we like to bring with us. Pure lemon butter. More mineral and more Puligny-like as it ages, with some notes of verbena butter (typical of Puligny). The mouth is fresh. Lemon and honeysuckle with some white pepper notes in the end. Ripe, which is normal considering the 2003 growing season (heat wave), but nothing flabby or exotics here.
“Everyone expects the 2003 to age prematurely, but this one tastes like it is three years old!” I exclaim.
“It’s all about lees.” Replies The Duc. 2003 Chardonnay lees were the best in a half century but a lot of growers were afraid to use them.
We laugh and the changing countryside of France flies by the window.
The Duc pulls out the ‘lunch boxes’ he’s made: pan seared swordfish with sautéed button mushrooms. Very simple; absolutely delicious. The swordfish is undercooked so it tastes a little like veal. Actually some bights taste like chicken too. White burgundy was made for this dish. We try to make it last as long as possible. Savoring every last bite. I think we were still eating when we passed through the Maconnais. And soon after that, the train crossed into southern vegetation of the Mediterranean.