It has not escaped this chap's notice that my blog is approaching it's first anniversary. I notice this not because I care about the slow passage of time on my ever weakening frame - but because I started it when I last visited my 'chap' in Burgundy.
There are a couple of key differences which stand out as a stark contrast between 'then' and 'now'.
For starters neither myself nor my Arch-Conspirator with whom i travel so much to share in the fruits of Bacchus, smoke anymore.
In times past we could connect with our cousins from across the La Manche not in the fact we could communicate - but in the fact we would share a spot of mundungus with the fellows. Normally over ridiculously strong coffee.
A Gauloise alone could secure the temporary camaraderie of a Truck Driver, farmer or (in cases when I have attempted to wheedle my way out of a speeding ticket) a Gendarme.
(I must point out that in France the possession of French cigarettes has one one sole occasion saved me a 10,000 Franc fine - but in Switzerland it was my friend's possession of a camera that saved me from deportation for taking the old Triumph at just under Mach one outside San Moritz)
But we prepare with care.
Flask of coffee - check
Parsnip and Cabbage sandwiches - check (and yes - I know now I shouldn't eat bread)
18 CD version of 'The Thirteen Gun Salute' check
Wet Wipes - check
The key difference this time is as thus.
2004 was an indifferent year. We stocked up on the best we could scrape from the Crus of Beaujolais and the Premier Crus of Beaune.
This year is very different.
I mentioned earlier that 2005 is special.
Everything I have read from sources other than the vignerons themselves is that I should sell my unborn for this year. 1944 isn't a patch on it.
Now - I don't buy wine as an investment. I buy it to lay down, commune with and ultimately consume with glad rapture.
This year is special. Not only will i be loading the car to the gunwales, but we shall be making two, possibly three trips.
A vintage like this comes once in a lifetime.
We may yet upgrade from parsnip to smoked salmon. The Patrick O'Brien CD may be upgraded to 'HMS Surprise' as well.
Watch this space.