Something magical happens to Beaujolais when it’s poured in Lyon. Especially in one of that city’s many brasseries and especially when one (or more) of those brasseries is owned by Paul Bocuse, arguably the world’s most famous chef and best friend of Georges Duboeuf, arguably the world’s prime producer of and distributor of the wine that’s called the third river of Lyon (after the Rhone and the Saone).
Twenty-four hours of travel weariness disappeared as a smiling server set a “pot” of Duboeuf’s Village Beaujolais on our table. (A “pot” is a thick-glassed bottle used for measuring table wine in Lyon since the sixteenth century.) Beautifully purplish, remarkably fresh, and as friendly as a wine can ever be, we knew we had returned to a place where people know how to eat and drink. Brasserie ‘Le Nord” provided our welcome to the gastronomic capital of France.
We cleaned up to head for Pierre Orsi’s elegant Relais et Chateaux dining room and splendid platters of Turbot and Sea Bass and a long review of his biblical wine list. Needless to say, we didn’t ask for the 1,500 euro Imperial of twenty-year-old Chateux Lascombes.
Alas, Pierre was home recuperating from an injury sustained duringt his daily run just a day ago, so his wife put me on the phone so we could assure him that the staff was taking good care of us. Dinner ran three hours, after which we spent the hour between 11:00 p.m. and midnight walking back to our room along the Rhone River, impressed with the crowds out to enjoy the parks and pubs at water’s edge.
Life is good in Lyon.