The wine blogging world lost an important voice on Saturday. I found out from Samy Rabat’s Facebook feed that morning that David Pelletier had died. David was a really good blogger. His Sommelier Fou website was a must blog that lasted longer than many, many, many more have. I had mothballed my blog some three and half years ago. That was followg a three-ish year run for BottleDJ which I started roughly the same time had launched his Sommelier Fou. In the time that has elapsed since I left the wine blogosphere, he kept on getting better and better.
He was more evolutionary than revolutionary. The content, the scope and the breadth of his wine writing constantly improved. He never tried to be anybody else, and he accomplished his goal with ease – in both French and English. Very few writers can hit home runs from both sides of the linguistic plate like David did.
Until recently, he had worked as a high school teacher. He was very proud of his student’s work. He would often share the success of his students, and he did so without a hint of a brag. He was proud of what he learned from his students. From what he shared with his blogging colleagues, it appeared as though his teaching methods seemed to have been a collaborative process – one in which his abundant intellectual curiosity provided for his students and his students fed into his.
His blogs were investigative sessions, written with the fervour of a tweed jacket wearing hipster college prof rocking a TED talk. Facts. Appreciation. Impacts. Feelings. Sensations. Tastes. Anecdotes. Pearls of humourous wisdom. Oh yes, and who could forget his man cursh on Thomas Bachelder.
He was brutal with folks who had bad ettiquette. Gruff with self promoting marketers of the wine beverage industry. But anybody who had wine at heart was in his good books. He had kind words for those who he respected, and was a very serious student of wine. The one thing that I admired the most about his appreciation was his acknowledgement of the character of the wine maker, and how personality played a role in wine. On that we were kindred spirits.
Some of the honouors I have had from David, were his honest words and his precious time. He even included a couple of wine and music matches in his wine reviews. I would like to think that I had some influence on him there. For a while I had the chance to one-up the Somm Fou – I told him about a few bottles of 2011 Blanc (de noir) Pinot Noir I had picked up from the Old Third in Prince Edward County. He was a jealous. I was also happy to see that he eventually made it to the Old Third himself. I admit it made me feel good to have made it there before did.
I have held a three year flight of Bacheleder Niagara Chardonnay in my cellar– and always thought I would invite him over to taste them through. Maybe we would have opened the last bottle of the Blanc from the Old Third as well.
Well on Saturday night I did open up the last Blanc from the Old Third.
It was good.
And so was David.
Music Match, I thought of a song that would summarize how a bunch of wine bloggers feel right now. Sam Roberts’ Brother Down. But then I realized David will be remembered for what he did in his life. So here is some Danny Michel. Who’s Gonna Miss You When Your Gone?