And so, if you are wondering about Ken’s “corn theory” . . .

From Ken’s Desk:

For the past week Wendell and Shelley have been the “canal crew” as I worked below. A big assist plus the weather was cold, rainy and did I mention the cold. Finally we arrived at St. Jean Losne about 15 miles from Beaune – the Burgundy capital of France. With Kristine driving I became the leader for the Shelley, Wendell, Kristine tour of Burgundy.

For those who are not into the “wine” culture. All (I mean 100{e5b62957b3804ab7f47eece8c936dd4b822dafb6efd3f6ca02827a1c1cc3266f}) of French red burgundies must be made from only the Pinot Noir grape and all white Burgundies must be made from only the Chardonnay grape. The wine plots are the size of a large lot in Madison. Each plot can have over ten different domains or individuals that have the right to grow and pick grapes in the plot. You don’t plow good grape land one dynamites the land to bust up the limestone. Think gravel drive and you now know the quality of good Burgundy grape land.


Back in the mid 1850’s the French sucked down a few bottles of local wine and then designated which plots of land around Beaune as regional appellation, cru, 1er cru or the ultimate “a grand cru” land because the key ingredient in the wine quality is the wine growing land or the “terroir”. Less than 2{e5b62957b3804ab7f47eece8c936dd4b822dafb6efd3f6ca02827a1c1cc3266f} of all terrior in the burgundy valley (or Cote d’Or – the valley of gold) was designated in the 1800’s as “grand cru”. Only wine with grapes from a Grand Cru terroir can designated as Grand Cru on the wine bottle label. And the ultimate Grand Cru is from the terroir of Vosne Romanee.

So we go to Vosne Romanee – to the plot of Domaine Romanee Conti or as the wine big dogs refer to it DRC (i.e grapes are from land owned by Conti in the village of Vosnee Romanee). A bottle of DRC if you can find one costs in a medium to bad year about $1000 a bottle. Hence we touch the land, smell the grapes, take a picture and move on to the next village. No tastings in Village Vosnee Romanee but given the choice of gold and a bottle of DRC – I am going with a bottle of DRC, better value.



A few more wine stops I start thinking – a bottle of Pinot Noir from DRC is a thousand dollars and a bottle from a mere Burgundy regional appellation that is maybe three miles from DRC costs $25 a bottle and a great napa pinot noir maybe $10. Are the French in their wine haze on to something? We buy a couple 1er cru Chassagne Montrachet for $100 a bottle after some studious wine tasting and Shelley takes a pic of a John Deere tractor like her father uses in the Wisconsin corn fields. Bingo – it all comes together for me.


Shelley, Shelley’s Dad and I suck down a few beers (well I down the beer, Shelley has a Bacardi and diet – Dad drives the John Deere) and we tour southern Wisconsin corn land. As we all know the best corn terroir in America is Southern Wisconsin. So we take the John Deere to the fields designating which land is 1er corn cru and the ultimate “Grand corn cru” terroir. Grand corn cru has just the right sun and black soil for the ultimate corn sugar and butter absorption when the corn is properly boiled. Yes while mere Iowa appellation corn commands a three dollar a dozen price a “Grand Corn Cru” from the left bank of Yahara river in the valley d’buerre commands fifteen dollars a dozen in the finest French American restaurants. Stoughton becomes the Grand Corn Cru capital of the world with boiled corn and butter tasting at each growers corn silo with beer wash in between tastings – to clear the palate.

We finish the tour with a stop at Aloxe Corton home of the greatest amount of Grand Cru terroir for White Burgundy. I let Wendell take over tour guide as I plot the next step in the now business trip for starting up an Appellation d’corn as a qualified new business venture in Wisconsin. By the way the Burgundy wine was very good.

Enjoy! and think about the possibilities….

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