A few weekends ago V, his parents and I hopped in the car and drove south into France for a wine-filled weekend. Our first stop was Beaune, in the heart of Bourgogne, and then up to Reims in the champagne region.
I’m fortunate to have grown up near the napa valley, and feel right at home in wine country, even French wine country. If I closed my eyes while walking near the vines, I might as well have been in CA. But with eyes open I was surrounded by the beauty of quaint French villages with traditional red roofs and prominent church steeples. Lovely. Really lovely.
Beaune is a very charming, small city with an enormous historical site, the hospices de baune (Hotel Dieu).
The hospices were created in 1443 as a hospital, and have been beautifully restored to show how they originally would have functioned.
The roof shown here is typical of this period in Bourgogne, and we saw similar roofs dotted throughout the country side (including a great castle…but more on that later).
Of course my favorite part of visiting the hospices was seeing the kitchen and hearing about the foods fed to the patients. Apparently beef was reserved for those with strong constitutions a couple of times a week, while poultry was more suitable for people of 'weaker stock.' Sounds about right.
We filled the rest of our time in Beaune visiting the caves (wine cellars) and tasting lots of great Bourgogne wine. Luckily for V and I, the Bourgogne region predominantly grows our two favorite wine grapes: pinot noir and chardonnay. We were quite happy to taste, and taste and taste.
|The silver cup there is what we used to taste -- traditional-type wine cup from umpteen years ago|
We went to two big wine houses, Chateau Pommard and Chateau Mersault, which both had beautiful buildings, caves and tastings.
|Chateau Pommard had some very cool original Dali sculptures, like that elephant you see back there.|
Then we stopped by a castle from the 1200’s. No big deal.
|There's that roof again...|
I am the kind of person that searches out the little guys. The local producers whose products you can only buy locally. And V and I were in search of some good wines that were budget friendly to bring back with us. Merge these two ideals, and you end up in a tiny basement wine cellar tasting wines with the winemaker. We founds a nice white and a red, and bought plenty to bring home. Loved supporting the small operation, and coming away with some great wines for a great price.
|No photos of the small winemaker...so here's another from chateau pommard...|