Friday, June 19, 2009

Burgundy recap

A little recap of Burgundy:
We arrive via train and take the bus (of course!) to Gevrey Chambertin. Its Sunday night, so we decide to grab a pizza from a mobile pizza station (I guess?) that we happened to pass. So yes, our first official Burgundonian meal was a jambon (ham) pizza. (good thing we did as NOTHING is open on Sunday)

FYI-evidently with sparkling (whether it be champagne or Cremant de Bourgone (dry cheaper sparkling from the region of Burgundy - can't be called Champagne unless it comes from Champagne - pictured below) they serve peanuts. I guess it makes some sense, since they say anything that goes with beer goes with sparkling...but still. Odd.

Wendesday night I got brave and tried escargot.

I was nervous...more about the "slippery little suckers" ;) than the taste...however, our hostess/waitress/bartender (small town) spoke English and told me how to eat them. They were SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO goood. Oh. my. god. YUM.

Wait, what about wines we had??

We had a ton of barrel tastings. We had wine that had been aged in French Oak, European Oak, had undergone malolactic fermentation, hadn’t, grapes from this village, that village….tons of tastings. It got to the point that we actually hoped that we weren’t going to have another barrel tasting. I know, the HORROR of being taken by a winemaker to their cellar to taste their wines! While there could be much worse fates, we decided we prefer completely ready wine instead of “on-its-way-to-being-ready-wine”. All that being said, we learned a lot from the winemakers and their barrel tastings. We started off with a visit to Domaine Debray in Beaune - Michel was awesome. The wines were good and very reasonably priced. We got some information about their exporter to the US.

We went to Alex Gambal - an American who decided to move to France. It was ok. Unless you're dying for a clear English explanation of the process, I'd say skip it. Probably what turned us off the most is that I specifically said we came here to taste wines we couldn't get in the US. After the barrel tasting, he serves us 2 wines that he knows are distributed in Missouri. That's it. Nothing else, nothing special, just 2 low end wines we can get at home. Thanks.

On my birthday we went to Domaine Durouche...he was funny. Barrel tasting, not too much else (we got to pick one wine to taste) but it was fun and he gave me a bottle for my birthday. I do love presents. ;)

We had lunch at Domaine Drouhin Laroze. No barrel tastings, not really a tour, but they have a lovely enclosed patio overlooking a small vineyard and they serve lunch to a small select group of people per appointment (there was one other table) I don't really know what the food was, but one was a quiche with walnuts. Hmm. Walnuts just don't get a lot of action in the cooking department so I was thrown off. It was...different. Ok, but different.

We also had some sort of veggie app, cheese plate for after dinner (so much cheese!) and then a mousse/ice cream dessert. STUFFED. It was lovely and we got to compare some Gevrey Chambertins from different classifications so it was a great birthday treat.

One of the best wines we had was from a random stop by: Philip Leclerc. He is old school....stomps grapes by feet, hand applies labels.....and his wine is fantastic. FANTASTIC. Bigger than most Burgundies, and tasty. (Mr. Lush and I have a dispute if this person is the winemaker, as a younger person is on the website. (this guy didn't speak very good English) I personally think the younger person is the son, but whatever.)

In his shop was a cool looking metal artpiece - here's a close up of it....

Our little town (seriously 2 miles from one end to the other, not including vineyards):

Some other misc Burgundy pics:

We didn't even get a chance to taste stuff from the place we stayed at - he was never open. We learned a lot about Burgundy, mostly that while staying at a Chateau in Bordeaux was totally worth it, its not quite as cool in Burgundy - most winemakers have little plots of vines all over Burgundy so its not like you're sitting next to the vineyard that makes the wine you're drinking. Most are also negociants as well as have their own vineyards (they buy grapes as well as grow their own). So its really more about getting to know the winemakers, which you can do from any hotel / B&B.
We learned enough about Bugundy wine to know that I need a stinkin topography map to know anything about where the wine comes from and there is a huge difference between classifications and where the vineyard is located. Also, language was more of an issue in Burgundy in general than in Bordeaux. Most people we encountered spoke fairly good english in Bordeaux....not so much in Burgundy. A few spoke "OK English" but that's about it.
Good time, overall. Oh who am I kidding?? A GREAT time and it was fantastic to spend my birthday tasting wines I loved.


LucyinStLou said...

Great, great photos. I hope you put the one of you eating escargot on Facebook. How was the French pizza?

nataliego said...

mmm mmm, love love love escargot. i'm glad you tried it, and in france, no less. love the pics. can't wait til you get back!

WineLush said...

The French pizza we had out of the van was not so great (big shocker!) however the pizza we had at a diff place (actual restaurant) was really pretty good. Diff, but really good.