The Journal / Roots

Assemblage

A short cut through some scenic roots

Different notes from different folks, tugged from the earth of the same theme, where we hope each sip has a certain body…

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In winemaking, assemblage is the blending of wines from various parcels to create a single, harmonious final cuvée.

Here, in magazine making, we’re attempting to do a similar thing: different notes from different folks, all, of course, tugged from the earth on the same theme. We might not always manage the same seamless structure as we do with our wines, but we hope, however, that each sip has a certain body to it…

Château Lafite Rothschild 2000 football team

Rock Solid

In 1871, on the first four days of January, during a particularly testy winter, temperatures dropped to 6.8°F (-14°C) in the Gironde. The Garonne River froze all the way to the bridges of Bordeaux – and a third of Médoc grapevines froze right down to their roots.

 

Rooting for your Home Team

And why not, when the 2000 Season – with blue and gold, and front-row Jeroboam substitute player – looked so sharp. Intrigued? The full story of La League – y La Liga Sudamericana – Lafite is to come in a future issue.

French Dramatist Jean Racine

The Same Goes for Wine

In the words of thematically-fitting playwright Jean-Baptiste Racine [Racine means ‘root’ in French]:

“The principal rule of art is to please and to move. All the other rules were created to achieve this first one.”

It’s All Connected

Inspired by the aforementioned author, the 1865 choral piece ‘Cantique de Jean Racine’, was composed by Gabriel Fauré. One of Fauré’s pupils was the young composer Maurice Ravel. Among Ravel’s many pieces was the enchanting ‘Le Jardin féerique’ – ‘The Fairy Garden’. ‘Le Jardin féerique’ was used on the soundtrack of the 2017 film Call Me By Your Name. That soundtrack also features three songs by American singer-songwriter Sufjan Stevens. Stevens has a song titled ‘Chicago’, from the album Illinois. In Chicago, Illinois, there is a building at 77 West Wacker Drive, designed by award-winning Spanish architect Ricardo Bofill. Bofill was also the designer of the glorious 16-pillared circular cellar room at Château Lafite Rothschild, completed in 1987. How’s that for a root system?

Musician Sufjan Stevens.
Eonological Atelier otherwise known as the Château Lafite Rothschild Chai
Monument to Gustave Foëx, Montpellier, bronze, sculpted by Jacques Villeneuve in 1911.

Dr Who?

There was a man who was supposed to know something about farming, or at any rate people said so. He was a professor, you know, a man paid by the government. He had rented a small farm. It was smart, in good order, quite sound, and had good regular ground. There were vines, mulberry trees, a meadow, and cherry trees… you see? Well, this professor got going. He certainly got going properly. He took off his coat and his vest, rolled up his shirt-sleeves and got to work. After a year the place was a desert. A desert, I tell you. All the trees fell ill… it was upsetting to see them. No more cherries, no more vines, no more meadow. It all seemed to be disgusted with life. There was a bit of something here and a bit of something else there, and such a branch had to turn that way… he put the grapes into little paper bags—yes, it was like that. If you had thought of taking over the farm, you wouldn’t touch it now, even if they made you a present of it: it’s all dead. You see the sort of man, the root doctor, with his big book in his hand? You can’t learn all that in books!
—Jean Giono, Second Harvest.

That’s all, Foex

Gustave Foëx (1844–1906), a professor at the Montpellier school of agriculture, worked with American grapevine varieties (and alongside other leading figures) to test their resistance to phylloxera in order to graft French varieties onto them. The statue depicts a young woman kissing an elderly woman back to life, representing the American vine coming to the rescue.

Giuseppe Archimboldo, Winter and The summer.

May we be so Bold?

There is also assemblage in art.
Consider, for example, the great 16th Century Italian Giuseppe Archimboldo.

We’re hard pressed, however, to find the root-iest example of his famous proto-surrealist portraits. Would you go for ‘on the nose’ roots? Or stick to the fruitier variety?

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