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Allô, allô, Bonjour!

This edition of Slurp! Is all about Doubt. But fear not, doubt is a sign of intelligence. The French philosopher Descartes said: 'Je doute, donc je pense, donc je suis.' I doubt, therefore I think, therefore I am. So doubt is ok. Thank god, I'm not sure if it's because of the fickle weather, or a particular stage in my life, but at the moment I'm being torn apart by doubt. Are we doing the right thing? Are we really slurping the glass of life until the last drop? Valid questions, because no thought is ridiculous and everything is attainable. Do we perhaps need a change of course? Or should we close-haul?

Allez, we'll find out, on y va!


In this Slurp!

The second oldest profession in the world

Rosé Gariguettes

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The second oldest profession in the world
Being a wineboer. It seems like it's all fun and wine. but believe me, in reality the life of a wineboer is hard as Krupp steel and knows no mercy. For those who are considering to go into the second oldest profession in the world, here's some sincere advice: DON'T DO IT.
Here follows an average day from the life of a wineboer.

After a scanty breakfast the vineyards need inspecting. Once in the vineyards it turns out that the floraison came and went without giving us a heads up. The grape flowers were all blossomed out and the young grapes anxiously await the moment when they can start throwing up roadblocks for our daily life.

On foot we descend down the hell to another parcel. There a complantation has occurred. Due to poor performance from our beloved vieille vignes have mercilessly been ripped out of the ground. After which their birthground was ploughed three layers deep torn up and by hand we removed so many stones that one could have easily paved the Via Appia from Rome to Brindisi. 7648 piquets were hammered into the ground and 7648 new grape vines were planted.   But, as is the custom in France, a month too late. Will our fragile grapebabies survive the burning sun? Or will we, as a reward for this bank account draining investment, be looking out over a field of blackened vines that have been burned to a crisp.

Overwhelmed by uneasy feelings we make our way to the castle park where the contemplative silence had been disrupted for weeks by deafening sounds. Where just one summer ago Dutch harvesters put up their tents in the peaceful shadows of the trees, we can nothing but the sounds of thundering machines that seem to have risen from the pits of hell itself.   At the bottom of the castle wall a fatal crack has been detected. In incomprehensibly fast French the foreman explains to the wineboer how he is burning through the five-figured budget. With a dazed look on his face the castle lord follows the workman's finger as it points at one meaningless number after another on the building plans.

When the wineboer, still dazed from the financial wrecking ball hit, shuffles towards a merlot parcel with his head bowed, he hears cursing coming from between the grapevines. Heavy rain in the month of May, followed by Sahara like heat in June, have changed the vineyards into a jungle.   'Merde! They grow 10 centimeters per day!' cursed wine giant Regis. 'Incroyable! I'm running seriously behind schedule!' under a chorus of sincere Merdes and Putains he starts the fierce battle to gain control over 100,000 unwilling vines.

Yuck! The remains of breakfast have barely fallen out of my moustache and the first wine tasting has already begun. To the wine cellar! The Mise is at hand and to bottle the millesime 2011 the wine needs to analyzed and tested.   After which we have to check if we have enough capsules, if the labels haven't been printed upside down and if the wineboer still resembles his cork.

Because of the extraordinarily healthy, ripe grapes of last year, wine wizard Michel Rolland had to saigner our wine and the resulting rose was also made to go through the malolactic process. This got totally out of hand and resulted in a devastatingly delicious, light pink rose with a taste of Gariguettes, the spring strawberries from the south of France. Sadly we couldn't make many bottles and of the few we had most have already disappeared into our own glasses, but if you're lucky you might still be able to acquire some via the Wijnbeurs.

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to try.
  Nevertheless the new rose needs to be photographed as advantageously as possible.
Pitying wineboer-mistress Caroline looks on at the hopeless attempts to get it right. 'Remember to get the whole bottle in the picture, the capsule too.' But it's already too late both the memory of the camera and the wineboer's patience have run out.

After the failed photo session we need to check up on the progress made with the building of a fireplace in the salle des vendangeurs the old wine cellar that has been converted to mess- and party hall for the grape-pickers. This has resulted in a ravishingly romantic room, but when you're sitting here with around 30 people in the evening, eating, laughing and slurping, a fireplace is a luxury that should not be absent.   Two months ago the contractor promised he'd be done three months ago. We're gonna have a look. Sigh... Grmbl... Growl... today we'll give him another call and put on a charm-attack once more to see if that 'll get the job done...

Quick, quick! The Japanese are coming, and they might place a humongous order! They'll be at the gates any minute now! Hastily we have to set up a French lunch for our foreign dignitaries.   Because the Japanese, as everyone knows, love mushrooms we hastily make our way to the castle park. Sadly the only specimen we find is so suspicious that we feel it would not do our sales any good to serve it to our guests.

For quite a long time we taste the different barrels, during which the guests continuously shared their thoughts with each other and made expansive notes on their clipboards. Despite his lacking social skills the wineboer does his best to come over as friendly as possible. The tension rises: how many thousands of bottles will they buy? It's impossible to read their stoical faces. A closed book.   Only when we pass the Slurpshop do their faces show any sign of a smile: 'T-shirts!? We like!' Excited twittering erupts as they storm in and dive at the T-shirts. After about 10 minutes of pulling, pushing and punching while looking for the right size they leave without buying even a single bottle. Everyone overjoyed with their T-shirts.
Lunch fell through, the next chateau awaits. They do want to know what the T-shirts costs. Discouraged the wineboer shrugs: 'Ah, never mind, he sighs, 'C'est un cadeau...'

To cover from this ordeal, we have to stow away an entire Plateau de fruits de mer in a much too cozy little street in the city.   Because the Sauvignon blanc is so delicious and it's becoming ever more lively around us we also stay until the small hours.

The next day we're up inhumanly early. A tour of the vineyards with the vine doctor awaits. Few people know this, but vineyards are teeming with unpleasant things. It's swarming with viruses, bacteria, larvae, worms, butterflies and spiders all of whom want nothing more than to bite the heads off baby grapes. Nevertheless the wineboer refuses to spray insecticide on his grapes. He stands for biological wine making. With a look of satisfaction he glances over the flora that's coming up between the grapevines.   But the vineyard doctor has a different opinion. 'Those wilting flowers are not enough competition for the grapevines.' He sais decisively. 'We need stronger stuff.' Vigorously he bows over a thistle that is busy stinging everything that comes within its reach. 'This is what we need, they'll do quite nicely' glumly the wineboer looks on as the doctor puts in an order for 5 large bags of thistle fluff.


On the other hand we had the honour of being host to a TV show, the publisher called to say that our book
'I slurp, therefore I am' was due for a reprint, we made a deal to collaborate with a big wine importer and we made off with a bucket full of gold and silver medals in Bordeaux and London. Voila, the toils and troubles of a wineboer. Really, you shouldn't even want it. Or perhaps you should... oh well, I doubt therefore I think, therefore I am.


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Allez, wholehearted Santé et à la prochaine!


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