Monday, April 2, 2012

Onward from Annecy

          After leaving Annecy we took a bus to the Geneva airport to pick up our car, and then we drove towards the Beaujolais region, where we were to spend that night. We took back roads rather than the highways so that we could pass through some villages and get a better look at the countryside. And on the way we stopped at a wine cooperative, Cave des Grand Crus Blancs, in Vinzelles, just south of Macon, which we had visited a few years ago with a French friend. The cooperative produces an array of wines from the region covering numerous appellations, such as Macon-Loché, Pouilly-Vinzelles, Pouilly-Fuissé,and several other confusingly-hyphenated appellations. We bought a number of wines, including a sparkling Cremant de Bourgogne, then continued our route towards Beaujolais. On the way we passed up a chance to take a detour to see George Debouef's Hameau du Vin in Romanche Thorins, a sort of Disney version of a wine village.

    We arrived at our chambre d'hotes (bed and breakfast) in the late afternoon,which was just outside the village of Oingt, classified as a Plus Beau Village (Most Beatiful Village) of France. The bed and breakfast was at a winery, Domaine Guillard, and the owner/winemaker, Roger Guillard, gave us a tasting of his wines in the caveau.

    Monsieur Guillard makes several red, white and rose versions of Beaujolais, and his wines are entitled to simply a Beaujolais appellation, as the domaine is not located in any of the cru or Villages appellations. But that didn't keep his wines from being excellent, the reds having a pure taste of the Gamay grape, and we bought a couple of different cuvées. One of them was Cuvée Centenaire, celebrating the fact that the domaine had just celebrated its 100th anniversary. It was founded in 1911 by Roger's grandfather, and Roger is the third, and perhaps last, generation of family winemakers, as his 2 sons show no interest in winemaking at the moment.

.   That evening we walked to Oingt and spent awhile strolling around the village, then had dinner at Le Vieux Auberge in the center of town. I had chicken with mushrooms and a cream sauce and Ann had an entrecote de boeuf. We ordered a local Beaujolais, from an organic producer, Domaine Chasselay, which was quite a surprising wine. Although it was a Beaujolais, it didn't taste anything like a Gamay, but instead, if anything, it resembled a California Cabernet. It was very good, but definitely not what I had expected. At our tasting earlier that evening Roger Guillard had talked about how he made his wines with respect for tradition and terroir, and I felt that this wine was so different from what the types of wine he was trying make. But maybe I'm out of step with the modern wine world.


    The next morning, after having breakfast at Chez Guillard, we headed off to the southern Ardeche, where we were going to spend a week in Pradons at the same gite we had rented 2 years ago. On the way we stopped at Cave de Sarras, a producer of St. Joseph wines that we had bought many wines from 3 years ago when we stayed nearby. Two years ago we planned to stop there on our way to the Jura, but as we pulled into their parking lot at 1 minute before noon, the gate came down for lunch, and we missed out. So this time we left plenty of time to get there, and were not disappointed. After hauling away a half case of St. Joseph and Condrieu wines, we continued on our way, making a few stops to see some hilltop villages.

   We arrived at our gite in the later afternoon after stopping to pick up some provisions in Ruoms, then opened a bottle of Cremant de Bourgogne and sat outside on the terrace enjoying the view. Just before dinner, the gite owner, Patrice Reverger, stopped by to give us a couple of bottles of wine from Domaine des Terriers, whose winemaker is a friend of his. It was a warm day and a very mild evening, so we sat outside and had dinner on the terrace, accompanied by a bottle of Monsieur Guillard's 2009 Beaujolais.

    The next day, April 1, we drove to the small town of Lablachere, where a weekly outdoor market was being held. Among other things, we picked up a spit-roasted duck with roasted potatoes from a market vendor, and some Provencal tablecloths. We then drove back to the gite where we had the duck for lunch, with a bottle of 2010 Macon-Vinzelle.
    In the afternoon we took a drive to the hillside village of Lagorce, where we walked around the town and then hiked along a path through the woods. After returning to our gite we sat out on the terrace and had some olives, tapenade and rosé from Domaine des Terriers. That night our dinner consisted of a salad, an array of goat cheeses we had picked up during our trip, and a bottle of 2010 Pouilly-Loché.


  1. Looks amazing! Wish I was there!

  2. I am always impressed by your ability to drink wine
    without ending up in the gutter drooling and muttering obscenities (in French of course).
    You are having a wonderful time!

  3. The friend we are staying with lives in Bois d'Oingt. We are getting excited. Hope to stay in one of your gites too!
    Bon appetite!

    1. Internet service is spotty. If you go to Annecy,check out the Hotel du Chateau as a place to stay. The B&B in Beaujolais was in St. Laurent d'Oingt, and we passed through Bois d'Oingt. Check out Domaine Guillard's wines.

    2. Thanks for the tip. We leave tomorrow for Amsterdam. Our itinerary is firming up with a good two weeks in France to explore. R & D

  4. Hi Bob,

    It all sounds and looks grand! Keep 'em coming.


  5. Hey! Sorry I missed your departure! Of course you are having a wonderful time, as if you wouldn't be-haha; wish we were there. We are thinking of you and toasting with you though!!
    All our love, K&T