I am having one of those “waa…k!” duck quack moments right now.
The above label is for Domaine Leflaive’s Premier Cru Puligny-Montrachet made entirely from grapes sourced from their three parcels in the Les Pucelles vineyard (an argilo-calcaire climat). A bottle of the 1972 vintage was one of four Bourgogne whites competing in the Judgment of Paris, coming in eighth overall and beating out only the Chardonnays from Veedercrest and David Bruce. That actually isn’t bad since all the wines Spurrier had selected were stupendous, and Les Pucelles has actually improved since then, especially after Vincent Leflaive’s daughter Anne-Claude took over the Domaine.
I had my first-ever taste of this wine at Guy Savoy of all places, with my pal Chef Amy in the brigade and likely responsible for sending out all the other things not listed with the Couleurs, Textures et Saveurs tasting menu. The 2002 was suggested by the sommelier and was one spicy meatball in the € sense, but really spot-on in terms of pairings with dinner. Served “frais” (perhaps 15ºC), it was all apple, apricot, honey and wet stone minerality with an aroma and finish that really just lingered as one drank it.
I have been trying to acquire bottles of Les Pucelles since then without much luck, coming close several times in the US and with the local monopoly, though it seemed like every time I found it in the US I was on a run with multiple flight hops which would have killed the bottle by the time I got home.
And the monopoly? They have this “allocation system” which effectively shut me out in the past even though I pre-order on the first day of offer like a good little bug and was screaming “shut up and take my money!” while doing it. I’m essentially not good enough for the allocation system but we won’t get into that
conspiracy theory can of worms at the moment.
The Cote d’Or catalog came out as it does every year (yes, I know that Puligny-Montrachet is actually in the Côte de Beaune but I didn’t produce the catalog) and lo and behold – Les Pucelles is listed again. Dutifully log in on order day, pull out credit card to place order, receive confirmation of receipt including the dreaded message on how oversubscribed demand for certain bottles will have allocations reset by the “allocation system”, and then wait until Allocation Day.
That would be today.
The monopoly’s automated email pops up in my mailbox at 00:47 as it does on every allocation day and there’s even a nice attachment that goes along with it. I open up the PDF and crap – the fracking “allocation system” has refused my order yet again.
But wait! There’s more…
The “allocation system” has only refused the bulk of my order – here’s a capture of the redacted order (yes I redacted it):
Two? Two! I get two! This actually sounds like a bad version of Russell Peters’ joke about the Chinese screwing over the Indians over noses and hair.
But, I get two.
And of course, waa…k!
I guess I should be very happy (or as the monopole would be more inclined to suggest, “grateful”) that the “allocation system” deigned to offer me two bottles this go around, but it really burns my shiny yellow a$$ that my original orders always get modified to satisfy the oversubscription. This doesn’t happen with the négociants or when I order from the Albertans. One of these days I’d like to meet the “allocation system” and ask how (s)he exactly allocates the supposed oversubscribed offers, though with the Charbonneau, it would be quite difficult to reprogram the system.