The Glory of a Good Wine, a Gorgeous Day, a Great Win and a Greedy King
CHATEAU DE METAIRIE
On the way to a friend’s for dinner last week — a fellow New Orleanian, I stopped at “Nicolas” for a bottle of wine. On the shelf at one of the lowest prices (less than 5€) was a bottle named “Metairie.” Metairie is the area of New Orleans where my family lives — a French name, so naturally, I forked over a whopping 4.95€ to check it out.
As it turns out, the Château de la Métairie Bordeaux wine got a write-up in Gambit’s Best of New Orleans by Brenda Maitland as an inexpensive red from Bordeaux that “is an easy drinking, uncomplicated, inexpensive find, and its character stands up well against pricier wines. The grapes — a blend of 30 percent cabernet sauvignon, 40 percent merlot and 30 percent cabernet Franc — were sourced from vineyards in Seyrac Marie-Claude. The area generally produces heavier, more tannic wines, but the vineyards here produce softer, more fruit-forward styles with finesse. The wine was fermented in stainless steel tanks and touched some wood before bottling. The merlot grape dominates and cabernet sauvignon and cabernet Franc add structure and complexity. In the glass, the wine offers aromas of red berries, a touch of spice and herbal nuances. On the palate, taste red currants, plum and cassis with soft tannins on the dry finish. Open 15 minutes before serving to aerate. Drink it with grilled meats, burgers, pizza, fried eggplant sticks, duck and sausage gumbo and truffled cheeses.”
Brenda says you can buy it at Dorignac’s for about $10. I say, if you aren’t in New Orleans near a Dorignac’s or even Martin Wine Cellar in Metairie, buy it at Nicolas in France for a whopping 4.95€ a bottle.
RUNNING FOR GLORY
It was simply too gloriously sunny on Sunday to do anything but walk from Le Marais to the Luxembourg Gardens, passing the Hôtel de Ville where sun-worshipers were stretched out on wooden ‘chaises’ on the “parvis” and the 39th Schneider Electric Paris Marathon was in progress along the quay of the Seine.
Kenyan Mark Korir took first place with a victory of 2 hours 05 minutes and 49 seconds, a personal best for Korir who didn’t expect to win! A record number of runners took to the Paris streets — 41,342 runners including 18,000 international competitors representing 150 nations — what was called an “amazing day of sport and fraternity in the streets and avenues of the most beautiful city in the world.”
It was a beautiful sight to behold. And so was the Jardin du Luxembourg with the chestnut trees in full foliage, the sun shining brightly and the air just a bit cool.
Never was there such a beautiful day in the City of Light. It made up for all the gray, rainy days we endured the past many months.
I’M ‘ENERY THE EIGHTH, I AM
Growing up in the U.S., we studied American history and what is called “world history,” but the history of Europe was sadly overlooked. During those high school years, a band called “Herman’s Hermits” resurrected a 1910 British music hall song by Fred Murray and R. P. Weston titled “I’m Henry the Eighth, I Am.” Sung in a Cockney style, “Henry” sounds like “Enery” and the chorus explains that his wife had been married seven times before:
I’m ‘Enery the Eighth, I am,
‘Enery the Eighth I am, I am!
I got married to the widow next door,
She’s been married seven times before
And every one was an ‘Enery
She wouldn’t have a Willie nor a Sam
I’m her eighth old man named ‘Enery
‘Enery the Eighth, I am!
It was the first inkling I’d had of Henry the VIII, although I still knew less than nothing of the Tudor family king of England who had six wives, two of which were beheaded, out of which only one son was born who lived long enough to be king himself, Edward VI.
Living in Europe changes one’s perspective of history, as Europe has history — and lots of it, unlike the U.S. which is still an ‘adolescent’ on the world scene. We live in buildings that are centuries old, we tread lightly on cultural differences that are founded on traditions and legal structures that existed long before our own constitution and we can feel the spirits of the past all around us.
Recently I got hooked watching Showtime’s “The Tudors,” a British-Irish-Canadian historical fiction television series created by Michael Hirst. It’s based on Henry VIII’s reign with all the characters we’ve read about or seen in other films plays or in works of art depicting the period in England’s history. Every night I’ve been running home to Amazon Prime
http://www.amazon.com/Amazon-Prime-One-Year-Membership to see what no good Henry is up to next, whether it be divorcing Queen Catherine of Aragon, to beheading Anne Boleyn or executing the heretics. It was a gruesome time and Henry certainly doesn’t leave a favorable reputation. Much is written about his big, bold personality, but one thing for sure — Henry was well-dressed. In fact, this is what is so amazing about all that depicts this time in history — the stunning garb and jewels the with which the royalty were bedecked.
Concurrently, the Musée du Luxembourg is hosting an exhibition titled “The Tudors” on until July 19th. We took a bit of time out of sunning ourselves in the gardens to visit the exhibit and get to know the Tudor family a bit better. Portrait after portrait, from Henry VII, father of Henry VIII, to Elizabeth I (when the House of Stuart came to power in 1603 after the Tudor line failed as she died without children)…you will be struck by the beauty of the clan and its finery.
Special Note: Henry VIII was a master of many talents, one of which was composing. He wrote his own score called “Pastime with Good Company”, also known as “The King’s Ballad” (“The Kynges Balade”), in the beginning of the 16th century, shortly after his coronation, thought to be written for Catherine of Aragon.
A la prochaine,
(Photo by Liz Alderman)
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