Traffic—charmingly—doesn’t flow the way it’s supposed to. A tractor turns onto the road in front of you laden with logs that hang far off the back brandishing a red hanky. Your speedometer, accordingly, takes a nose dive. Or another, headed from one farm road to another, moseys down the state route (ever seen David Lynch’s The Straight Story? If so, you know what I mean) at a speed far below the norm, followed by a long cue of restless drivers, ready to risk their necks passing in the lane of oncoming traffic.
Yesterday we ran up against this fellow, last in a long line behind a tractor stacked Empire-State-style with bales of hay. While I was initially charmed by the toy-car aspect of this vehicle—its neat rectilinear shape with the line-up of round speed labels tucked just above the tag and above the right rear tire, I soon realized what he was carrying: enormous pallets of shrink-wrapped wine bottles. Yes, this is a truck after my own heart (which, by the way, may be better reached through a wine-glass than through my stomach. I haven’t decided yet.)
This is wine country, and you don’t ever forget it (thank heavens, because you don’t have any desire to). Vines grow to the right and to the left. Up in the hills and down in the clefts between them. And as many times as I’ve been to the Cave de Bailly to stock up on Cremant, Ratafia or crème de cassis or to Irancy to sample the year’s offerings, I’ve never encountered a wine bottle truck.
So this is a first. I think I’ll drink to that.
A NOTE FOR THE WINE ENTHUSIAST: Due to sustained heat, there is talk this year of a very early harvest. Some vintners are preparing to begin gathering grapes perhaps as early as August 15 according to the local paper, l’Yonne Républicaine.
Avec une fleur très précoce en mai, les vignes pourraient battre les records de 2003. Cette fois-ci les vignerons ne se laisseront pas surprendre.
I’ll keep you posted.