samedi, octobre 31, 2009

San Francisco !

So I arrived in SF last monday evening. As I have some family there, I'm enjoying the few days I'm spending with them, as we see each other every 5 years. On tuesday, we did some sight seeing (the weather was excellent !) and since then, I'm stuck in front of my computer most of the day, working on the DIrectory server.

Today though was excellent : we drove to Napa Valley, and did some wine testing. I have been there 20 years ago, and I remember having tested a very good Champagne (Tm), from Domaine Chandon. I was not that much impressed by the other wines we tested back then, but I wasn't the heavy wine drunker I'm now :)

I must admit that what we tested today was wonderful. There are two differences with the french wines I'm used to (actually, four) :
  1. when I test french wines, out of 10 bottles, only 2 please me, 3 are average, and 5 can be thrown in the sink. In Napa, They are more or less all pleasant, even if I won't put all of them on my table (it's a matter of taste here)
  2. I'm used with 12.5° wines, most of the Napa wines are above 14°C. Some of them are closer to Porto than normal wine. That also mean you have to be carefull not to swallow all the wines you test !
  3. There are some local 'cépages' (grapes) that we don't have in France, like the Zinfandel. Not my favorite...
  4. We have Chateaux, Grands Crus, 1er Crus, AOC. Napa has Cabernet, Syrah, Chardonnay. Of course, our Chateaux are made of those same Cabernet, Merlot, Viognier, Syrah, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Marsanne, ... but we don't name the wine from the cépages they are made of. Probably a mistake because it's really confusing for the vast majority of people who don't know anything about the Clos de la Roche, for instance (it's a very good burgundy Grand Cru, a Côte de Nuit, made of Pinot Noir)
Are those differences important to me ? Yes, and no.

Yes, because I just find it disapointing that french producers don't understand that quality is a must, and producing mediocre wine is just killing them.

And no, because navigating through all the small villages in Burgundy, a place where 50 different producers can share 125 acres of vineyard (4700 bottles per producer, average), is stunning. Old houses, beautiful landscapes, and of course great wines and good food is part of the pleasure.

However, I would say that there is no reason for any Napa owner to be ashamed from their production : they top most of french wines !

Time to go back to the Directory Server code after this day off !

dimanche, octobre 25, 2009


So I'm in Boston, enjoying a short stay with good friends. Zhenya and Alexei are kind enough to welcome me in this beautiful city before I fly to San Francisco, I really appreciate !

Boston is really a nice place to be in October, when all the trees turn red and yellow. Very differnet from Paris !

On the other side, I still have a lot to do on the Directory server, but frankly, with a 6 hours jet lag, plus many places to visit (tomorrow : Newport), I don't have time nor energy to spend more than a couple of hours a day to work on the schema refactoring we are currently working on (but it's still making progress).

I will arrive in San Francisco next monday, with some more places to visit. Time is flying ...