Sunday, April 14, 2013

Into Burgundy

    On Friday morning we left Lyon and took a tram to the airport to pick up our rental car. We headed towards Burgundy, where we were going to spend the night in the town of Gueugnon with Ghislaine, the French friend of the Baxters who had been staying with them while we were there. We took a detour to the Bugey wine region, which is principally known for its sparkling Cerdon wines. The Cerdon appellation is centered around the village of Cerdon, and the wines must be made by the Methode Ancestrale, which involves stopping the fermentation before the sugars in the grapes have been fully converted to alcohol. The result is a slightly sweet wine with a low alcohol content (around 8%). We stopped at Domaine Lingot-Martin in the town of Poncin, and after trying several Cerdons, we bought 6 bottles of 2 different cuvees.

      We also drove through the beautiful Cerdon countryside, making a brief stop at the Chateau de Varey.

     We then headed towards Gueugnon, and arrived in the late afternoon. That evening we had a fantastic dinner with Ghislaine's extended family, including her parents, a sister, and 2 of her children with their spouses and children. Ghislaine made a great Pot a Feu, a classic French dish with meat and vegetables slow cooked in broth, with all of the vegetables coming from her parents' farm. We also added a number of appellations to our wine consumption, including the Cerdon and Jurancon we supplied, plus white Chassagne-Montrachet and Montagny Premier Cru, and red Givry and Morgon.

     The next morning we left Ghislaine's for the drive to our last gite, in Tanlay in the Chablis region of northern Burgundy. We made a few stops along the way, including visits to wine producers in the Cote Chalonnaise part of Burgundy. In Rully we stopped at Domaine Jean Baptiste Ponsot, and in Mercurey we visited Domaine Michel Juillot, tasting and buying several white and red Burgundies at each. We also got a great view of the magnificent chateau in Rully, as well as a scared cat who ran behind the grates for protection.

Domaine Michel Juillot

Rully vineyards

   After stopping in Rully and Mercurey we continued on to Tanlay, passing by a beautiful turretted chateau in La Rochepot.

    We arrived at our gite in Tanlay around 4 p.m., and met the owner and an English friend of his who had been brought in to help in case we didn't speak French, since the owner spoke no English. The gite is located right on the Canal de Bourgogne, and we have a great view of the canal from the terrace, as well as from all of the front rooms, including the kitchen, dining room, and our bedroom. The little town has a few restaurants, plus a really good boulangerie and a little grocery store that has a terrific butcher shop in it. We had planned to drive to the nearby large town of Tonnerre to pick up provisions, but we managed to get everything we needed in Tanlay. We had Charollais beef for dinner with one of the Mercureys we had picked up, preceded by a glass of Cerdon on the patio and followed by several goat cheeses from earlier parts of the trip.
Gite from opposite bank

View from terrace

View from bedroom


  1. Free the kitty! Oh, how I love beautiful Burgundy. Such wine! Such food! Such scenery! That gîte looks fantastic!

  2. Delighted you enjoyed Juillot's wines, Bob, and happy the weather has finally turned to spring...lovely photos, thanks for posting