Friday, May 13, 2011

Two Days in Burgundy

As I am in the mode of taking advantage of every remaining bit of the time left in France, when the opportunity came up to take a two-day trip to Beaune, center of the wine trade in Burgundy, I jumped at the chance.  It's a region of France that I had not yet explored and frankly one that's pretty low on my kids' list of sightseeing priorities.  But it was a great little get away, allowing me to speak French and drink wine almost continuously for 40 hours straight. (I'm not kidding. When I hit the sack after the first very long day -- which started at Gare de Lyon at 6:30 am -- I counted up the wines we had tasted  and came to the shocking realization that the number was 14.)

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.

1 comment:

Ann said...

Ah, I love the Côte d'Or! I think everyone feels a little hungover after a trip to Burgundy...

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