Wine and Food Diary of Giles MacDonogh

Bacchus’ Wine

Written by Giles MacDonogh

Bacchus’ Wine

Posted: 2nd February 2017

One of the economist Bernard Maris’s favourite sayings was ‘nul chagrin ne résiste à un morgon de chez Marcel Lapierre’ (‘there is no anxiety that cannot be banished by the bottle of Marcel Lapierre’s Morgon’). Maris claimed to be quoting the revolutionary, Guy Debord, but he made the line very much his own. It seemed to sum up the better side of French, even Western life, but as cruel destiny would have it, Maris was gunned down in the offices of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo on 7 January 2015. His killers, the Kouachi Brothers, stood in fierce opposition to everything the highly educated, liberal, secular, republican, hedonistic Frenchman represented.

It seems no accident that Maris was such an ‘amateur’ of Beaujolais. Beaujolais could make a fair claim to being the wine of French satire. From the 1930s, that other, more ponderous anti-establishment weekly, Le Canard enchainé served Juliénas at its editorial conferences. Beaujolais even sums up a certain side of French life: claret might be more classical, burgundy more hedonistic, the Rhone headier, champagne more frivolous; but Beaujolais stakes a strong claim to being the accompaniment to the ‘douceur de la vie’ that has always been the best of France.

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Giles MacDonogh

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