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Saturday, October 6, 2018

PORTSMOUTH ABBEY '58 | NY Yacht Club Dinner in Newport; then Clambake Lunch

At the Harbour Court of the NY Yacht Club in Newport. Seated, L to R: Denis Ambrose '58, John Hayes '58, Fred Torphy '58, John Tepper Marlin '58, Ramón Ferreyros '58. Standing, L to R: Jeanne Geddes, Alice Tepper Marlin, Hugh Ballantyne '58, Malena Lazo De La Vega, Carlos Cleary.
Friday evening, September 28, after lunch at the Castle Hill Inn and a tour of the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, the Portsmouth Class of 1958 had dinner at the Harbour Court of the NY Yacht Club, also in Newport. We ate in the mansion's original dining room.

Classmate John Hayes surprised us by bringing us a gift of five bottles of two outstanding vintages from Montrachet vineyards in France that he owns with a partner.


Montrachet is an Appellation d'origine contrôlée and Grand Cru vineyard for white wine made of Chardonnay grapes in the Côte de Beaune sub-region of Burgundy. It straddles the border between the two communes of Chassagne-Montrachet and Puligny-Montrachet and produces what many consider the world's greatest dry white wine. Four other Grand Cru vineyards with Montrachet in their names are humbler neighbors. 
Le Montrachet (Chassagne side) and Montrachet (Puligny side).
The Montrachet vineyards are almost equally divided between Puligny-Montrachet and Chassagne-Montrachet. Both appellations append the name of their most famous vineyard (in this case a shared one) to the name of their main village.

The Côte de Beaune is the southern half of the Côte d'Or, the most important of the wine-producing subregions of Burgundy.



John Hayes explained that the first wine was light, a consumer favorite–2009 Puligny-Montrachet, La Truffière, 1er cru by Bruno Colin. Here's a collection of tasting reviews, all in the 90s out of 100.


The second was the local vintners' favorite–2008 Chassagne Montrachet, Clos St. Jean, 1er cru by Alex Gambal. Look it up online–you can't buy it on the sites I found, because it is sold out.

Having read what I wrote above, John sent me a followup note with more specifics about the Montrachet wines:
Montrachet is the famous vineyard that lies in both the towns of Chassagne Montrachet and Puligny Montrachet. The towns were formally Chassagne and Puligny and they affixed “Montrachet” to each for prestige purposes. 
The classifications for Burgundy are basically top to entry level: Grand Cru, Premier Cru (1er), Village and Bourgogne. The Grand Cru white wines are six: Montrachet, Batard Montrachet, Criots Batard Montrachet, Chevellier Montrachet, Bienvenue Batard Montrachet, contiguous and then Corton Charlemagne. We drank Premier Cru (1er) from Puligny Montrachet and Chassagne Montrachet. There are many premier Cru white and red wines in each town, as in most of the other towns in the Burgundy region. 
Both areas are the finest for white Burgundy wine. Five of the six Grand Cru white burgundy wines are from these two towns. Puligny is no way a lightweight. Truffière is rare, as the vineyard has less than 1 hectare of vineyards [that's 100m x100m=10,000 square meters, or 2.5 acres]. It’s a very special wine. Bruno Colin is from a family of winemakers many generations in the area.

The wine merchants sometimes say Puligny is for consumers and Chassagne for wine locals but you could argue that all day as they are both the best, just of a different style. I wasn’t referring to those two wines but to the areas.
Alex Gambal and I are partners in the winery in Beaune since 2003. He has come a long way and the wines are now even in Paris restaurants where Jeannie and I are about to go out to dinner.
The next day, Saturday, we were invited to attend classes at Portsmouth. I sat in on a course on American history and was there for the exciting bit when two lanterns were lit in Boston's Old North Church.

That was the signal for Paul Revere and a second rider to set off for Lexington and Concord to alert their militias that the redcoats were coming. The story was well told by the teacher, most of the students were engaged, and I was glad that the history of our country continues to be passed on to a new generation. 

Alice visited two classes and found the teaching of a course on religious history (St. Augustine and the Manichaean heresy) to be exceptionally well explained to students who were moderately engaged, while students in a class on Moby Dick were highly engaged even though (or because?) the teacher was less intensely concerned that the students "get" everything. Two classes, two styles.

We then had a clambake lunch with fine lobsters and other New England specialties. Six of us were snapped after lunch in the photo below.
Six of us at the clambake. L to R: John Tepper Marlin '58, Carlos Cleary (son of
George Cleary '58 who was in Venezuela and unable to obtain a visa to come),
Denis Ambrose '58, Ramon Ferreyros '58, John Hayes '58, and Fred Torphy '58.
Looking back at the 50th Reunion, here are some photos I took of that event (sorry, I didn't put in Guerrero's first name because I wasn't sure whether to use a W or a V; see note following):







Vladimir Guerrero sent a note to me explaining why he was unable to attend the 60th reunion. He said: 
Attached is a picture taken last week of my wife Deirdre and I showing off our culinary skills at a reunion of French and Norwegian friends on the coast. Please give my regards to those present, especially Ramón Ferreyros (the formidable fullback of the undefeated soccer team) and John Hayes (one of the pirates who took the “Ondine” to Providence the night before graduation). I hope you all have a great weekend. – Vladimir (Wlachy)
Here is the photo, much the worse for having been emailed and Screen Shotted:
Deirdre and Wlachy Guerrero, 2018.