1929 was the year of the Stock Market Crash (Thursday, October 24th), the beginning of the Great Depression, Unemployment was 15% and it was also the year, Jody and Harold Nelson were born. They are our neighbors.
When they were ten, in 1939, the Great Depression was nearly over.
Conversely, in 1929, French wine production was at the forefront and in Languedoc-Roussillion, the Grenache grape was the featured item.
During that year, the Bertrand Family produced ‘Maury’, 1929 Legend Vintage.
Only 795 bottles were produced of this16% Grenache, fortified wine.
Grenache is a red wine grape that is grown in France, Spain, Italy, the U.S. and Australia. Grenache is the French name, though the same grape is known as Garnacha in Spain and Cannonau in Sardinia, where history suggests the grape originated in the 14th century.
Grenache has always been a fascinating grape-its very versatile and dominant on its own, as well as an international grape for blending. My love of this grape escalated in 2011 when Gerard Bertrand presented the 1929 Maury at a luncheon I was invited to at Per Se in Manhattan.
Lunch had ended after sampling a half dozen wines and Gerard Bertrand quieted everybody down and said that I have a special announcement. He said, I have decided to surprise you by serving the 1929 Maury Legend Vintage with a special dessert prepared at Per Se. I remember vividly that the spectacular dessert was a chocolate mousse combined with whisky puree and almond ice cream.
To this day, many of my dreams reenacted he pairing of the wine with the dessert.
As life has its many curves, two of our friends, both journalists, from Manhattan, share the same year of birth, 1929, as the Nelsons.
Our Manhattan friends decided to spend ten days in the Berkshires in late July and early August. They wanted to attend Tanglewood, enjoy the fresh mountain air and whatever else accompanies their annual vacation in the country.
I thought it would be a novel idea for the Nelsons to meet our friends, especially since all four were peers.
They met at our house, we cooked lunch for the group and everyone got on well. Knowing that Jody Nelson’s birthday was upcoming, our NY friend said, ‘I’ll send you a surprise in the mail. Just confirm that you were born in 1929’. That was very thoughtful, my wife exclaimed.
Jody Nelson confirmed her birth year, as our friends went on their way.
As promised, a package arrived at the Nelsons the day before her birthday.
Hours after the package arrived, the Nelsons were in our house enjoying appetizers. We wanted to toast Jody’s upcoming birthday before departing for our surprise restaurant destination that evening.
The Nelsons rarely come empty handed when invited over. Last week they brought a bottle of aged tawny port, the week before, a 1991 Rhone bottle and this week, a box that was unopened.
They asked me to open the box and much to my surprise the same 1929 Maury Legend Vintage that I often dreamt about after sampling six years earlier at Per Se with Gerard Bertrand and this same wine writer. Was there a connection?
Harold urged us to open the bottle and reluctantly I said, ‘we won’t drink it all before we go to the restaurant. Let’s save it for the next time you come over.’ It was agreed and that brings us to today-a day after Jody Nelsons birthday.
Having been born with curiosity in my blood, I did a little homework on the wine and this is what I found out. If you go from ratings-94-96 is impressive.
The proof is in the pudding (which may go well with the 1929 Maury).
More to come….after the Nelsons return for dinner and the unveiling of the 1929 Maury Legend Vintage,,,,,,,