But it wasn't all oenological excess. The group also visited one of the remaining artisanal mustard operations in the area, several chateaux, and took a tour of the Hospices de Beaune, best known today for its annual charity wine auction but once a thriving poor house and hospital. And we were quite sober when we visited the caves of Bouchard Pere et Fils where some 2 million bottles, none too few dating back to the 19th century, line the walls in dusty stacks. Spending an hour in the cellars of Anne Parent, who along with her sister, runs a family wine business in Pommard that goes back 12 generations was a special treat. (You can read about her ancestors' interesting connection with Thomas Jefferson in Paris-based writer Ann Mah's piece in the New York Times travel section.)
I figured I'd be on detox once I got back to Paris but to be honest, that's a hard act to pull off anywhere in France. And yet, one thing the trip reinforced for me is that while I certainly enjoy a nice glass of wine, it's simply not in me to keep all the jargon straight or spend 80 euros on a bottle. Pass me a nice bottle in the 7 to 15 euros range and I'll be just fine. In fact, go ahead and pour me another glass.
|The magnificent tiled and half timbered Hospices de Beaune|
|I don't think there's any chance that these wines from Bouchard Pere et Fils will be served before their time.|
|The caves at the Domaine Parent.|
|The recent spate of dry warm weather is making the region's vintners nervous but it sure has been great for the irises, roses, and peonies.|