I had dinner with friends last night, friends who are as devoted to cheese as I am to wine. They had received from fromages.com a selction of cheeses from the Auvergne. These were “advanced” cheeses to boot, not ones I'd heard of like bleu d’Auvergne or Cantal. And the cheeses were intriguing and delicious. Fromages.com also sent along two regional wines from the Cotes d’Auvergne, both from Domaine Peyra and both made, organically, from the gamay grape familiar to Beaujolais drinkers. I have never seen either of these wines before, not in France and certainly not in Bloomington. A little Googling produced tasting notes for one of them from France. The taster thought it tasted like chicken shit. He asked a knowledgeable friend for a second opinion. I thought his friend was wine-knowledgeable and would perhaps compare this taste to sous-bois, or mushrooms or forest undergrowth or the like. But it turns out he was a merde expert from kibbutz days, and confirmed it was chicken, not pig or cow. Wine-tasting is such an enriching hobby. These funky notes did blow off after a while, revealing a wine that was complex and definitely not a Parkerized fruit-bomb. English tasters in particular think that Americans are too sensitive to these funky notes – as, likewise, we can be put off by gamebirds which are hung for a while before they are cleaned and eaten. Well, it was all very interesting but I was glad to return, tonight, to a delightful 2002 Spinetta Barbera Ca’ di Pian, a tart and juicy wine with clean and spicy, herbal flavors, from Big Red in the middle teens. I do note that wines of the Auvergne are not available in Bloomington and I probably won’t take desperate steps to acquire them. But those who are interested in expanding our options can find ongoing details of my shipping lawsuit at: Baude v. Heath.