Want to make your day a little brighter, and yourself completely jealous of the way others choose to live their lives? If so, Google “A French woman with her baguette and six bottles of wine”.
Not to spoil the surprise, but what pops up is indeed a French woman, and she’s captured walking up the street with a baguette the size of a telephone pole and a six-pack of France’s finest in a carrying basket. (Click here to see the magic.)
That, ladies and gentlemen, is how you live life.
There’s some debate about who took the photo, with most pegging the shot as the work of early travel photographer Branson DeCou circa 1945. Except that, if the picture was indeed from 1945, DeCou was shooting in a more heavenly place at that time, leading many to theorize the image was by the then-late photographer’s wife, Mrs. Elsie Vera Stanley DeCou.
That leads to a whole slew of questions. Start with why Branson DeCou usually gets the photo credit when his wife was considered to be just as handy with the camera, the possible answer being that, for too long, the world was a giant boys’ club.
How big was the oven the baguette popped out of? And, as much as the French love their bread, wasn’t that overdoing things, for no other reason that the Brie needed to fill that bread must have been as big as a tractor wheel?
How much wine does one consume on an average day that they need to return from the store with a six-pack?
Why has the “A French woman with her baguette and six bottles of wine” photo suddenly been everywhere on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter after decades of no one—with the possible exception of the DeCou clan—knowing that it existed?
Crack open one of the following worthy bottles of red, and then settle in for an afternoon of debate on the above questions. And don’t forget the baguette.
Inniskillin Discovery Series Zinfandel 2017
With the spring rains now upon us for the foreseeable future, now isn’t the time for putting away the Molly Stevens’s award-winning—and essential—All About Braising. When the storm clouds gather round and heavy rains descend, nothing’s better than heavy fare like Top Blade Steaks Smothered in Mushrooms & Onions, Yankee Pot Roast Redux, and Neapolitan Beef Ragu.
Bursting with overripe raspberries and wild blackberries, Inniskillin Discovery Series Zinfandel 2017 is smooth and silky soft, but also bold and peppery enough to hold its own against a traditional Beef Bourguignon, Brunswick Stew, or Ethiopian lamb wat. The delicate chocolate and prune undertow, meanwhile, makes it equally welcome when dessert lands on the table. And yes, there’s always room for dessert, especially when it’s cold and wet in these parts, which is to say any month not named July or August.
Hester Creek Old Vine Cabernet Franc 2019
The bottle promises Old Vine, which in British Columbia means rewinding to 1968, when the vines that provide the foundation for this multilayered Cabernet Franc were first planted in the Okanagan. Bringing things up to the present, after being handpicked from the Golden Mile Bench’s Block 3 vineyard, grapes for Old Vine Cabernet Franc spent three weeks in Italian Ganimede fermenters, and were then barrel aged in French and American oak for 18 months.
Uncork the bottle, and you get a gentle tug of war between freshly scraped vanilla bean and buttery caramel. From there, dry and earthy are good starting points, with Old Vine Cabernet Franc’s initial flare of acidity giving way to delicate red currant and West Coast huckleberries along with freshly cracked black pepper.
Township 7 Merlot 2019
Sticking with the Okanagan and wines that make a bold statement, Township 7 goes big with its Provenance Series Merlot, which lands in the glass earthy and spicy, and then swings for the fences with notes of dark plum, ripe cherry, subtle licorice, and top-shelf cocoa. For those who like to know the backstory of what they’re drinking, grapes are picked from Township 7 vineyards in Oliver, Naramata, and Okanagan Falls, and then matured in French and American oak for 18 months.
Full-bodied and tannin-heavy enough to hang in there this weekend with a beautifully marbled rib eye or pulled pork sandwich, Township 7 Merlot is also a great candidate for cellaring. In other words, buy a six pack of bottles for the spring, and a case for the future, and you won’t be disappointed either way.
Toso Malbec 2020
Ever think about how weird it is that every second person you know has been to Thailand, Indonesia, and Mexico, but no one from these parts seems to have visited Argentina? Yes, it’s a 14-hour flight with two stops, and the average $1,500 tickets before taxes don’t help, but think of what we’re missing out on. The towering Iguazú Falls. Buenos Aires’ colour-saturated La Boca neighbourhood. The endless beaches and grand colonial buildings of Mar del Plata. And—sorry vegetarians—but delicious, delicious Argentine beef, charred on charcoal and served with endless amounts of garlicky chimichurri. Inspired enough to rethink your next vacation?
Get into the spirit of things with Toso Estate Malbec, an exceptionally smooth, unfussy Argentina offering that’s heavy with juicy blackcurrant and sweet ripe cherries. Pour a glass and imagine yourself hanging for the afternoon at a streetside cafe in Buenos Aires’ famously scenic Recoleta neighbourhood. Or better yet, pair Toso Estate Malbec, which has hints of smoky oak and burnt coffee, with a plate of blue-rare asado Argentine beef, making sure the chimichurri has an extra garlic clove or two.
Heavenly—like the idea of strolling up the street in Paris with a six pack of wine and a giant baguette, forever immortalized in time. Only, you know, different. g