Monday, June 22, 2009

France Trip Day Three - Bouzeron, Beaune

Pamela (second from left) with Margaret, John and Rich

A & P de Villaine – Bouzeron
Aubert and Pamela de Villaine moved to Bouzeron in 1971 (the year of their marriage), making their first Aligoté in 1973. They campaigned to create an AOC Bouzeron for Aligoté, eventually succeeding in 1997. Aubert and their nephew Pierre were off on other appointments, leaving us in the care of Pamela, a native of California, who was a wonderful host.

We tasted:
Bouzeron ‘07
Bourgogne Blanc ‘07
Rully St.-Jacquess ‘06
Bouzeron ‘95
Bourgogne Rouge La Fortune ‘07
Bourgogne Rouge la Digoine ‘07
Mercurey Rouge ‘07

The ‘07s are uniformly fresh, pure expressions of their grape and place, with firm structures. They’re relatively closed now, but I’d guess they will open up pretty quickly. Evidently a weird vintage, with all the heat in April, then abnormally cool during summer. It all seems to have come together by harvest though.

We had a fantastic lunch in Beaune, at Ma Cuisine. For the third consecutive meal, we drank Comte Lafon! Highlights:
Two fishes – mackerel and salmon – in a bouillabaisse-style broth; a fresh pea soup with a hint of cream; fresh marinated sardines; with
Comte Lafon Monthelie Blanc ‘05

A short side of pork ribs so tender and flavorful it was like having an exotic delicacy for the first time; veal kidneys; perfectly ripe, raw milk epoisses; with
JF Coche-Dury Monthelie Rouge ‘06

We needed another bottle – the proprietor picked a Sylvain Pataille Marsannay Rouge ’07 “La Montagne” – like the Villaine wines earlier, and the Simon Bize ’07 Bourgogne Rouge we had later for a “light” dinner at La Gourmande, a fresh, pretty young wine.

After lunch we took a stroll out of the hotel, walking north along Rue l’Aigle, along a quiet residential street, and after less than a mile, directly into the vineyards of Beaune-Greves. Unbelievable. Breathtakingly clear, sunny, mildly breezy, this was as idyllic a walk in the vineyards as you could ever imagine. I’d never spent much time in Beaune, always too busy tasting in cellars. It’s a lovely little city. The idea that you could live in a house a few steps away from some of the greatest vineyards in the world, well, I guess somebody’s got to do it.

Tomorrow we do three winery visits – those left standing will return to Ma Cuisine for another meal…A bientot.


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