Tuesday, 15 September 2009
Second celebration was yesterday in St Emilion
Before that an extraordinarily diverse bunch of folk were inducted into the Jurade in ancient ceremonies that took up the entire day. I know because I was one of them. And so was Barbara.
A band of extras from 'The Three Musketeers' struck up and we processed behind the banner to the Collegial Church. To facilitate things, the traffic bollards had been removed from the centre of the road ... but, alas, not the raised traffic island. I know this because, whilst trying to impress fellow inductee Roger Voss, and not looking where I was going, I tripped on the damned thing. Much flapping and tangling of red robes, much general hilarity, some loss of dignity.
Mass was Highly Celebrated; bells and incense etc by a full fidget of squirming small boys.
The Cure gave mention of Cotes de Castillon in his sermon. I liked him! Good choir, I thought. But then star-inductee; Joseph Calleja sang 'Ave Maria' and it was ... transcendental? A great tenor sings like that and you get something that goes right through you and even the not very convinced get the goose bumps. Yes, words do fail me.
Politicians; swivel-eyeing, artists; big hairing, doctors – the pro-wine lobby, one imagines; actors; posing, Texans; big, Japanese; little, and even wine merchants; beaming.
I am now a 'Prud Homme' a proud title which I must look up the meaning of. Barbara is senior to me; a 'Dame'. Pronounced 'Damn'!
Then another procession back up the hill to the garden of the Dominicans for a glass of much needed restorative and lunch.
Dear old Monsieur Manoncourt (Chateau Figeac) now the 'Premier Jurat' came for a chat. Which was an honour. Very old now, he was remembering the occasion during these same festivities back in September '75 when a crew of scruffy young Brits (including me and Hugh Johnson) were allowed in and presented with a case of Figeac to be taken aboard the ill-fated Brigantine 'Marques' and – with another 2000 cases of lesser clarets – sailed home to Plymouth.
Lunch was long but it was delicious, and I did have the delicious Brigitte Bourlon of Chateau Guibeau to my right (her charming mother on my left). Brigitte's rather-too-handsome-for-my-liking Eric seemed to have Barbara and her sister Helen in fits, Phillipe and Stephanie also. Monsieur Bourlon sat silent. He always does. But we did get a smile eventually. That was after the Pavie 2000 and the Clos Fourtet '99 which could make a stone statue smile.
Saw a load of old - some very old - friends and made new. Lots of English. Puzzlingly all from Yorkshire. Just had to point out the tables were all bedecked with wonderful RED roses!
After that, things sort of faded and here I am back in my airport home again. Work calls.
Posted by Tony Laithwaite at 4:56:00 pm