This time last month I was driving from Bordeaux to Dijon to start the one week long tour of Burgundy and Rhone regions. So many memories flick through in my head and I don’t know if I can deliver my experiences and feelings at that time exactly as they were after a lapse of one month. Let’s see….
When we started out on the road, the sky looked grim and it got worse and worse we were getting closer to Dijon. It was very late when we arrived in the starting point of our journey so we turned toward the most touristic part of Burgungy, Beaune, for the night. It was a very charming town with rich architectural interests from the Flemish-Burguandian time in the Middle Ages, such as colourful tiled roofs.
I am at the heart of the Côte d’Or!!! It took some time to relocate my head from Bordeaux to Burgundy. Though in the same country, they were so different; physical features of the people, mannerism, ambience, smell, sound, food, and everything else. The time was almost 10 o’clock and I was very hungry. So even though we hadn’t found a hotel yet and despite the fear that we might not find a vacancy it being Friday – Many Parisians come here for the weekend of drinking and eating – we decided to eat first before all restaurants were closed. The moment I entered in the restaurant I was attacked by the warm and hearty aromas of food. Yes, I am in the place of boeuf bourguignon and mustard!
What a feast on the first night! We started with pork pate and escargot with a fresh and crispy Chardonnay from Saint-Veran and Pouilly Fuissé. OMG, I am in HEAVEN! So gooood! So excited, I dropped one escargot shell and I was covered with garlic butter sauce, but I didn’t mind it; in fact, I loved it. Can someone make me perfume with garlic, butter and basil, please? But I had a hard time getting rid of the oil stains all over my clothes later.
Wow, the authentic boeuf bourguignon in real Burgundy. How about that? The meat melted away in the mouth and I chewed the wine-cooked meat with more wine. Delicious!
The next day we drove back up to the Côte de Nuits for Pinot Noir from Gevrey-Chambertin, which I fell in love with on my wine course and brought with me to the hotel I was staying at – Chateauneauf-du-Pape was the first to disappear from the table – and Vosne-Romanee.
There on the real tour along the river Saône down to the south till the Rhone began.
It was strange being in a mystical medieval village where people were still riding horses and wine growers, possibly wine makers, ploughing the vineyards with bulls.
The vineyards on the slopes and medieval architecture were very charming, which made driving through villages after villages like stepping into the history. Most houses were grand with high walls and a “Domaine” sign board; basically, all the residents are wine-makers. As we expected, finding domaines offering an open tasting was difficult so we had to take every opportunity that came our way. We went into a place with a “Free tasting” sign and were greeted by a friendly and cheerful shepherd-looking guy and led to the underground, “cave” where the wines were stored and wine-growers feasted and entertained themselves. In every corner were pieces of history of the ancestors, and I pictured myself feasting on scrumptious food and a vast quantity of wine in that humid and dimly lit cave.
The weather was not the most perfect for the tour but it had its advantage of being less crowded with tourists, otherwise the guy wouldn’t have talked to us for an hour about wine like he did. After the filling my tummy with croissants – croissants and breads are VERY good in Burgundy, by the way – I tasted 6 wines in different years from Gevrey-Champertin Appellation, and Philippe Leclerc 1er Cru Les Cazetiers 2008 was my favourite; the cherry and complex earthy aromas….yeah!!! I was truly in the prestigious world of Pinot Noir!
We continued on to find more places for tasting as well as a place to eat lunch. In this ancient town, cafes were so hard to find and everything is closed for long lunch hours. I see people inside bistros and wine bars but the doors are closed and upon seeing me, people immediately make a big X with their arms – fermé!
We gave up finding a cafe and decided to have a wine degustation for lunch, but we got far more than we expected at this small wine cave run by a young guy. Sitting at the bar and listening to what sounded like a meat slicing machine, I was feeling excited and worried at the same time. But when the tasting platter arrived in front of me, I couldn’t believe how generous the serving was. People seemed bigger and laid-back than other cities and perhaps that explains their generous serving size.
The terrine was absolutely delicious, the best ever. Burgundy is famous for pork terrines, especially with parsley. The jambon was also very tasty. With this delicious plate, I was offered a glass of Pommard 2011, old vines, by Fanny Sabre, a young 20 something wine-maker, who uses the latest techniques and equipments and organic methods in the wine making. The bright red bursting with red fruit flavours was a stark contrast to the previous Pinot Noir wines I’d had. It has slight fizziness or tingly sensation on the tongue, which I find more and more wines these days. The fizziness tends to give the feel of minerality and refreshment. She has wines in many different styles, one of which is a blend of Gamay and Pinot Noir, which is very unusual in the region of single varietal wine. Through the research later, I found that her wines were doing very well overseas and some people have written about her wines.
My impression of the wine was that it was really delicious and pleasant to drink – I went WOW after taking my first sip, but somehow lacked the structure to keep the attraction going for long and my palate got a bit tired half way through the glass.
Now to where? The real tour of white Burgundy started from there on, and I only hoped that the time would fly by quickly till I hit the Rhone so that I could drink red wines again. 🙂 I am a red girl!