Monday, March 29, 2010

Route to Burgandy Part 3

Leaving Vergisson was sad, but the next stop was bringing us to Beaune the center for pinot noir in burgandy. Making the first stop in the village of Volnay, we were shocked to see how small it was. In fact it turns out that every village in the Cote de Beaune is small- really small! Like half a football field small. Having property there is really just owning a small garden with some vines planted it on- now I understood why these bottles can end up costing so much. The land looks more like a long bump which extends for miles, but its surprising to see only one hill. The fields that make it onto the hill have specific names, and the bottles (and the wine) are therefor named after the field. The wine produced from the grapes grown at the bottom of the field are named after the city- like volnay, and the flat area in front is called village. The higher up on the hill the better the wine and the more pricey.
We stopped for a drink in a restaurant- the only restaurant in a 5 mile range. We were given their list of wines- all Burgandys of course! and were told that each tasting glass was 2 euros each. Tasting a few wines from different field but all from the same village, it really is something that you can see and taste the difference between one another, even if the fields are right next to each other. Its the perfect example- Burgandy that is, of the reason that terrior is so important in creating wine. We bought a bottle of Clos des Chenes, by Domaine Henri Delagrange et Fils to take home with us- ruby/purple red, intense aromas of fruits and flowers, warm, full bodied and to be honest just plain excellent.
Once again trying to find a place to sleep for the night was looking to be a bit difficult- and finally decided on a room in a hotel in the center of Beaune. Not the best of places for sure- I swear this cave like hotel was haunted and it smelled and was not that clean, but at least it keep us out late after dinner and up early the next morning. We headed to the Village Vosne-Romanee, one of the most prized area in Burgandy, mainly because it is the only village that can be labeled as a grand cru. We met 2 different wine producers- the only that were around to let us taste their wine- but they explained the situation of the last- how it was divided up, and how they make their wines. They also explained that for the most part, everyone that produces wine there has their wine sold off before it is even bottled. The land is so small, the quantity of wine produced even smaller, so exporters and distributors buy the wine before is even comes out. That doesnt leave us with much left, but we do buy a few bottles from Yves Chevallier, which is an excellent example of pinot noir- fresh, clean, intense fruits- still young, but with great potential. When we will open the bottles we bought in a few years I have no doubt that the liquid inside will have grown into something amazing. The other wines we bought were from a man who definitely had the moldiest cavern we have ever seen, Serge Gravel Domaine Audifred. Not quite as good or promising as Chevallier but still with that warm fruitiness carried by all pinot noirs. For lunch we headed back to the restaurant in Volnay and enjoyed the best meal we had on our trip accompanies by a wonderful bottle of Volnay Les Aussy, premier cru, by Domaine Bitouzet-Prieur. My friend and I split steak fondue, Paolo had steak tartar and our other friend a chicken cutlet covered in a brown cream sauce. All of these plates were accompanied by the best most extraordinary potatoes ever made ever. Im sure they were cooked in tons of butter and were definitely the reason I gained 5 pounds on this trip, but they were worth it! Stuffed to the limit, we got into our packed car and headed for Italy.


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