Bloomsday Burgundy

By Sisi Liang,

 

"Feel better. Burgundy. Good pick me up. Who distilled first? Some chap in the blues. Dutch courage."

     – James Joyce, Ulysses

 

As a diehard fan of James Joyce's epic Ulysses, I have decided that it's only fitting to dedicate this post to the book on this special day—Bloomsday—and the Burgundy wine, which is featured in the book. In Ulysses, Joyce's hero Leopold Bloom wanders around the City of Dublin over a course of ~20 hours, contemplating life, his marriage with Molly Bloom, and many questions under the sun. The date is June 16th, 1904, which is also the date Joyce went on his first date with his future wife, Nora Barnacle. Since the world began to embrace Ulysses, cities including Dublin, Paris, New York, London, Berlin, and many more, have been celebrating Bloomsday every year.

During Bloom's wanderings, he comes upon Davy Byrne's pub (a real pub) in Dublin for lunch, where he famously eats a gorgonzola sandwich and drank a glass of Burgundy wine. Throughout the rest of his wanderings, Bloom keeps recalling that glass of Burgundy. In particular, the wine becomes the medium through which Bloom accesses the memory of his engagement with Molly Bloom, which in turn juxtaposes with his current isolation from his wife. Since it's Bloomsday, I'd like to give you a taste of Ulysses through the following spectacular passage from the "Lestrygonians" episode that accounts for Bloom's recollection: 

Glowing wine on his palate lingered swallowed. Crushing in the winepress grapes of Burgundy. Sun's heat it is. Seems to a secret touch telling me memory. Touched his sense moistened remembered. Hidden under wild ferns on Howth below us bay sleeping: sky. No sound. The sky. The bay purple by the Lion's head. Green by Drumleck. Yellowgreen towards Sutton. Fields of undersea, the lines faint brown in grass, buried cities. Pillowed on my coat she had her hair, earwigs in the heather scrub my hand under her nape, you'll toss me all. O wonder! Coolsoft with ointments her hand touched me, caressed: her eyes upon me did not turn away. Ravished over her I lay, full lips full open, kissed her mouth. Yum. Softly she gave me in my mouth the seedcake warm and chewed. Mawkish pulp her mouth had mumbled sweetsour of her spittle. Joy: I ate it: joy. Young life, her lips that gave me pouting. Soft warm sticky gumjelly lips. Flowers her eyes were, take me, willing eyes. Pebbles fell. She lay still. A goat. No-one. High on Ben Howth rhododendrons a nannygoat walking surefooted, dropping currants. Screened under ferns she laughed warmfolded. Wildly I lay on her, kissed her: eyes, her lips, her stretched neck beating, woman's breasts full in her blouse of nun's veiling, fat nipples upright. Hot I tongued her. She kissed me. I was kissed. All yielding she tossed my hair. Kissed, she kissed me.

Me. And me now. (U8)

The place where Bloom drinks Burgundy, Davy Byrne's pub, is located at 21 Duke Street in Dublin, and welcomes thousands of Bloomsdayers on this single day to offer them a chance to experience our hero's lunch [1]. Naturally, Burgundy wine sales go through the roof.

Today, in keeping with our Bloomsday theme, we want to take this opportunity to review some of the most collectable Burgundy wines. The most auction-traded Burgundy wines form a small elite group of well-known names. Gevrey-Chambertin is actually a wine-making commune. There and among the other well-known Burgundy wines, pinot noir is the main varietal. Domaine de la Romanee-Conti vintages are not only among the most traded but also among the most expensive, due to their scarcity and quality. Domaine Comte Georges de Vogue is a vineyard with 550 years of winemaking history.

 

Gevrey-Chambertin

2005, 2006, 2002, 2001

Domaine de la Romanee-Conti

2002, 1990, 1996 ,1985, 1999, 1993, 2000, 2005, 2001, 2002, 1995

Domaine Comte Georges de Vogue Musigny Vieilles Vignes

1990, 1999, 2001, 1995

Louis Latour

1995, 1983

Although the most traded Burgundy wines are clearly of extraordinary quality, they are not always the best investment opportunities. From our analytics we create a “collectability score” capturing the return-on-investment potential for every wine in our database. Searching the database for the Burgundy wines with the highest collectability scores for a 10-year period, we find Domaine de la Romanee-Conti and Gevrey-Chambertin, but also several less-traded wines.

 

Domaine de la Romanee-Conti

1999

Chevigny Pascal Vosne-Romanee

1988

Comte Armand Pommard 1er Cru Clos des Epeneaux

1996

Bouchard Pere et Fils Chevalier-Montrachet

2004, 2002

Gevrey-Chambertin

1996

Price history for Chevigny Pascal Vosne-Romanee 1998.     

So, as you contemplate your next glass of Burgundy or hunt for a great deal on a case of the same, feel free to raise a toast to Bloom and Joyce and the wine for which they were so passionate.    

 

 References

[1] Oliver Styles, "Bloomsday Celebrated with Rivers of Burgundy," http://www.decanter.com/news/wine-news/488142/bloomsday-celebrated-with-rivers-of-burgundy.

[2] James Joyce, Ulysses, The Gabler Edition, Random House, 1986.

[3] Don Gifford, Ulysses Annotated, University of California Press, 1988. 

 

 

Sisi Liang currently works as a risk consultant, focusing on regulatory stress test modeling, and financial risk practice. Before her current role, Sisi has experience in Equity Research covering metals mining (production and commodities), energy, and the media sectors. Sisi holds a BA in English and Mathematics double major, with Honors, from Washington and Lee University, and an MS in Quantitative Finance. Her passions for forecast modeling, the poetic and commodity elements in wine, yoga, along with her curiosity in the interconnectedness in diverse fields have drawn her to the collaboration of auctionforecast.com.

Email: sisi.liang@auctionforecast.com

 

Wine photos by Elyza Bleau (www.elyzableau.com)