Adventures in Champagne and Burgundy

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I recently traveled to Reims, and to Dijon and Beaune in Burgundy. Reims and Epernay are the two big cities in that attract tourists. Reims was an enjoyable city to walk the streets with cafes lining pedestrian only walkways and a glass of in hand. The cellars were informative but you certainly don’t have to continue from one house to another, you will be receiving the same information at all. For most houses you need an appointment, which gave me the feeling of not being welcomed. Wine should not just be for a certain group of people that can fit the schedule. We were able though to get an appointment at Pommery and then we continued to Taittinger where there were no appointments necessary.The two tours if combined would have been spectacular, but where one lacked the other lacked information. After the tour you are given a glass of , well actually you paid for it with admission. Most houses are 10 euros, so put a few tours together in one day that will tell you the same information, then you have just wasted a lot of money. Instead I would recommend going to one house and then heading over to a café and popping a bottle and just enjoy your surroundings.

The next stop on the trip was Dijon in Burgundy…
Dijon was filled with friendly faces that knew each other and just enjoyed being. With their cobblestone streets and medieval appeal, it was refreshing to be here. In one restaurant they have a mock guillotine set up with different types of meats hanging from it. The server explained where we were, Place Emile Zola, was the location of guilloting, so they were incorporating history with the dining experience. The people were friendly, the atmosphere relaxing, and then history was alive.

One more place to go before heading back to : Beaune. Beaune was a twenty-minute train ride south of Dijon. When we arrived we walked through the marketplace and picked up cheese and meats from sellers who would happily cut a sample for you before buying. Then of course, being in the land of mustard we had to include it in our we were building. Once that was in order we had to make a decision, should we be tourists and stay in town and go to the houses and only sample the minimal and not really connect with the wine or do we rent bikes and head out into the vineyards and meet with the people who create them? Of course we rented the bikes. We went to Bourgogne Randonnées, right by the train station and the owners mapped out a route for us including vineyards to stop at.

We stopped at a few vineyards but one stood out strong, Château l’Ange Gardien (www.chateu-langegardien.com). We pulled up and it seemed like a scene in a movie. The husband and winemaker, Pierre was just pulling out to go to the fields and his wife Nicole was sitting at a picnic table enjoying her lunch with flowers and trees surrounding her. She immediately came over to us and brought us in to taste her wines. I can honestly say there was not one wine I didn’t enjoy. And then to finish it off she gave us a Kir Royal made with Cassis Liquor, that they also produced, as well as a fantastically refreshing bottle of Crémant.

I could have spent all day and all my money there but we had to move on to our next destination. When we go back into Beaune we dropped off the bikes and café hopped, having a different glass of wine at each. It was the perfect end to a perfect day. Beaune had the friendly appeal of Dijon, but there was something about being there that made you never want to leave. Actually, the woman from the bike shop was originally from Canada and came on vacation to Beaune. Then eighteen years later she never left.

While visiting Château l’Ange Gardien, I learned that there is a natural element in Pinot Noir that aids with digestion. I think the French are on to something here. Go grab a bottle of Burgundy and pair it with something delicious, but don’t forget to .

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Posted in Lifestyle, Travel, Wine | 3 Comments »

  • jacqueline

    Fantastic review! Congratulate yourself on venturing off the beaten path to go out to the vineyards and meet the wine makers themselves. Too often, tourists are reluctant to stray from well-marked territory – but that’s what traveling is about: adventure, curiosity, exploration. As a matter of fact, that’s what wine’s about too!

  • Meghan

    So true Jacqueline, that’s why they are a compatible pair!

  • Meghan

    So true Jacqueline, that’s why they are a compatible pair!

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