Late last fall, what first seemed as a rather innocuous email turned into a press trip to both a region I had never visited (Beaujolais) and an event of near mythic proportions (Hospices de Beaune). I took the opportunity to also spend some time visiting some dear friends in Paris before turning southward.
My trip to France came on the heels of the Wine Bloggers Conference where I got very little sleep, and coupled with a sleepless overnight flight, I was at best on fumes. My greatest fear–being ill during two rather important wine-centric events–was a distinct possibility.
As much as I love Paris, and I enjoyed visiting with dear friends and their children, I knew that there was trouble on the horizon. I am fortunate in that I rarely get sick–most years go by without so much as suffering from the hiccups (discounting, of course, the occasional hangover). When I do succumb, it is invariably due to a lack of sleep, and I was already five solid days into a week with at best minimal “quality” slumber.
Paris presented a complicating factor: my friends and I, when we get together, tend to drink champagne. Lots and lots of champagne. And this trip was no different. And I knew it was not perhaps the most prudent decision I had made in my life, but I am never one to turn down Grand Cru bubbles.
Given that I needed to rise early, we polished off at least four bottles of wine, and there was a slightly active cat in the apartment, I was facing another restless night. As hour after conscious hour passed, I had hope.
I would be staying in an apartment in Beaune for a week, with a couple of days there before any of the events for the Hospices began. If I could just tax my body, just push it to accept one more 24 hour period with minimal to no sleep, I would have 48 uninterrupted hours to be dead to the world.
After one or two hours of “sleep” (and that might be generous), I “woke” the next morning, and, after a quick shower, I was off to the train station. I was so incredibly tired that I could not yet tell if I was sick, but it was clear that my body was amassing the forces for a full-scale rebellion if I did not address the situation immediately.
Unfortunately, that could not happen on the train for even if I could sleep on/in a moving vehicle, I would be deathly afraid that I would miss my stop, thus keeping me close to wide-awake.
After a train change in Dijon, I arrived in Beaune in early afternoon only to learn that my apartment would not be ready for at least another hour. Exhausted, I had no choice but to wander the streets a bit, making the case to be at least considered as an extra in the next Living Dead movie.
Once I finally made it into the apartment, and as I prepared my fully clothed swan dive into my soon to be adopted bed, my phone alerted me that I had an incoming text. It was my good friend from Châteauneuf-du-Pape, who had come up to Beaune, just for the night,
To have dinner.
I had completely forgotten.
I stared at the text. I debated ignoring it. I considered replying that I just could not make it. But Christophe, the export manager at Château la Nerthe, the oldest producer in Châteauneuf-du-Pape, is a dear friend and he came up all the way from Châteauneuf and he intimated that there would be others there, all of whom were looking forward to meeting me.
And there would be wine. Lots and lots of wine. Lots of Burgundy wine.
The dinner would be at the home of François de Nicolay of Domaine Chandon De Briailles in Savigny-Lès-Beaune and Christophe intimated that there would be other people there that I needed to meet.
And there would be lots of wine. Lots of Grand Cru Burgundy wine.
So I called on my poor ravaged body one more time. Just one more time, I implored my soul, just one more time and that was it. I promised. I pleaded. I begged. I swore.
And I went.
As expected, the wine and company were both fabulous and although I was far from the top of my game, I endured.
And I drank some truly great wines.
Once I got back to my bed, I was both really glad to have gone and wondering how I would feel in the morning. For the moment it didn’t matter–it was a great evening with an old (and new) friends.
Plus I had faith in my body. It would not let me down.