Monday, September 16, 2013

Epic trip to Burgundy, Sept 2013

Last Saturday G, ACC and I set off to Burgundy in our usual style i.e. a cork was gently eased out of a bottle of Pol Roger as the Eurostar drew out of St Pancras, much to the amazement/jealousy of fellow passengers. This was accompanied by some Roka Cheese Crispies, which didn't last long. There was a slight altercation when it turned out I'd forgotten to bring forks for our salad, but G manfully went to the buffet car and stole some plastic numbers so harmony was soon restored.

At last we got to Beaune station and found the heavens had opened. We made our soggy way to the local supermarket to stock up on essentials like pate, cheese and 200 bottles of Badoit, and then after multiple attempts managed to find a taxi. We were staying at a new place which was allegedly in the centre of Beaune, so it was quite surprising when the taxi hurtled out of the town centre and had practically made it into open countryside before drawing up at a very ordinary-looking house with a clothes-drier outside sporting several pairs of gentleman's socks. Nevertheless, this was the address we had been given.

A man inside overheard us talking and came out to see what was going on. It turned out that this was the home of madame who was renting us the gite and not the actual gite itself. Oops! Since our taxi had by now disappeared into the distance, the chap phoned madame, who was waiting for us at the gite, and she drove back to collect us. G and I got in the back of her car/van where there were no seats, so we had to crouch on the floor and hold on as best we could, while ACC had the benefit of the front seat. You know you're in Burgundy when stuff like this starts happening. G claims that his mackintosh will never be the same. Eventually we made it to a street we recognised and then turned off down an extremely narrow lane. I was very impressed by madame's precision driving - there was about a millimetre of clearance on each side.

It's still not entirely clear why she gave ACC her own address instead of the address of the gite, but we were happy because the gite was much closer to the town centre than the house with the socks had been. She showed us round, including unnecessarily detailed instructions on how to use the microwave, dishwasher etc., and explained at length the additional tariffs for towels, cleaning etc. I left the others to it at this point and went to get the luggage, managing to give myself concussion on the low ceiling of the utility room. Then it was time to go for dinner. Hurrah!

Usually we go to Caves Madeleine for our first dinner of the trip, but shockingly, it was fully booked, so Cheval Noir was our second choice. We walked through Beaune in the rain, G leading the pack and accelerating like Mo Farah as he spotted his destination. Getting out of the horrible rain and into the warmth and serene atmosphere of that place was one of the nicest experiences of the trip.

We sat at the same table as last time and had a wonderful kir to start with. Afterwards we debated whether it was only so good because it was the first of the trip. I guess we should have gone there again on the last day to test the hypothesis. Amuses-gueles quickly appeared and then a melon thing in a glass, with slivers of bacon in it. We had the 30 euro menu with extra cheese at a supplement of 9 euros. The highlight for me was the Norwegian trout with "espuma" potatoes - the wonderful fluffy, cheesy potatoes we had last time - while ACC had a piece of pork with loads of girolles. I really enjoyed my main course but was nevertheless jealous of his and started hinting that we needed to come back again later in the week, but to no avail. To drink, we had some white Auxey-Duresses and then some red Auxey-Duresses 2009 from Domaine Bzikot, both of which were very good. The bill was 200 euros for the three of us, and we had eaten and drunk very well. Once again, we felt Cheval Noir was on the verge of a Michelin star. Certainly the 30 euro menu is excellent value.

ACC wanted to go to "Route 66" on Place Carnot afterwards but it looked packed and we ended up in another cafe where we had a disappointing marc and then decided to go home and try out our very own cellar!

Chorey, Chorey everywhere
Madame had generously provided us with a bottle of 2006 Chorey-les-Beaune from the family estate. Obviously we were very excited to try this as we know from frequent missives from the Wine Society what a great vintage 2006 was for red Burgundy (#sarcasm). It was predictably revolting. We had a look round the cellar to see what else there was, but it was literally just bottles and bottles of this stuff. Quite sad really. Fortunately while at the supermarket G and I had taken the precaution of getting a bottle of Maranges 1er cru la Fussiere from Domaine Pagnotta, so at least we had something drinkable, even if on the rustic side.

In fact the cave itself was strangely spooky, with weird agricultural implements on the walls, and an odd stone semi-religious figure in a hole in the wall presiding over proceedings. On a subsequent evening, G closed the door which made it feel incredibly claustrophobic. Something out of a horror movie could have happened at any second. Imagine being imprisoned in there, with just 5000 bottles of revolting 2006 Chorey-les-Beaune to drink... It didn't bear thinking about. Fortunately this was not our fate, and we made it to bed soon after midnight, knowing that we didn't have to get up early the next morning.

No comments:

Post a Comment