BJ's Paris Diary, Day 6 &7: Wine Country

Day 6: August 16 -- two months after Sarah's actual 40th birthday! 

We got up and packed for an overnight trip to Beaune, France to experience some wine tasting and tours.  We rode on the high speed rail train that went 305 km/hr. 

We arrived in Beaune and met our host of the B&B for the evening.   Beaune was founded by the Romans and looks so much like a village you imagine in the French country side.  It is surrounded by other villages that are even smaller (6-8 hundred people) so at 3000 people, Beaune is the wine capital of the burgundy region. 

After a quick freshening up, we headed over to meet Francais, our wine guide, for the afternoon and next morning.  

This wine tour was not your drunk-bus type tour. Francais was an expert in wine making and we spent most the tour in the vineyards learning how just a few feet and many shifts in tectonic plates can dramatically change the soil make up. 
This influences the complexity of flavors in the grapes and thus increasing or decreasing the value of the wine.  
In Burgundy, the wine quality is 80% soil make up 20 % wine making. The classifications are as follows in descending order: Grand Cru (the best, very few plots of land classify),  Premier cru, Village ac’s, District ac’s, and Bourgonge ac’s.There is a 3 acre plot of land we saw amongst many other plots named Romanie Conti, which produces the most expensive wine in the world.  Grand Cru Pinot Noir.  (in order to buy 1 bottle you must by 12 other bottles of different grand cru so about a $12-15 thousand dollar purchase for 13 bottles)

We had three single Japanesse ladies with us on the tour and they loved wine and we had great conversations.  We finished with a tasting at a family run winery (Domanine Armelle et Bernard RION) and met the wine maker and his dogs he uses to hunt truffles.

For dinner tonight we ate a great small restaurant name La Lune, a Japanese/French restaurant where we ate the bar and watched the chef prepare all the different tapas-like plates that people order. We had great seared tuna,  a plate of grilled Japanese mushrooms and even some fried chicken.  All very good and even cooler to watch it all prepared.  Sarah was enamored with the waiters eyes.  

I wanted desert but Sarah was tired so off to bed (not true -- I am always up for dessert).  More wine tours tomorrow.

Day 7 

A glorious breakfast of homemade yogurt , croissants , fresh granola and delightful company in the courtyard of our B&B.  There was a family from Dunkirk ( he was 1/2 British so his English was excellent) and a couple from just west of Beaune by 25 k/m that had biked there for the night and were biking back.  She was an art teacher and he was and artist.

We meet back of with Francis and and wonderful Italian couple, Alberto and Paola, and their friend Guido.  He owned his own door company that had offices in NY and Miami -- Doors for condos.
He was full of life and loved chatting about the wine and spoke great english so it was a  great morning. 

We toured to the south of Beaune today so we saw some chardonnay rather than all pinot noir yesterday.  I impressed our Italian friends by picking out the Chardonnay grapes by the shape of the 3 rounded lobe leaves with the first vein on the edge of the leaf versus 5 jagged lobes on the pinot noir and veins on the interior of the leaf.  ( I learned that the day before)2,500,000 bottles of wine come from this burgundy region and it is a beautiful portrait of life, agriculture and people and how it all comes together.  

Our tasting today was at cellar that was built in the 12th century (the cellars were so cool it was a nice break from the sun)  We bought some wine and the wine makers wife gave me a bottle of sparkling wine as a gift.  This was Patrick Cle’mencet winery.

We wished our new Italian friends good bye as they left for Spain and we toured around Beaune on foot.  We found a restaurant in a wine cellar and had a great lunch.  Sarah had truffle risotto, and I had shrimp pesto with fresh tomatoes and herbs.  A lovely bottle of premier cru Chardonnay was enjoyed as well.  Sarah finally got her creme brûlée. 
After our lunch hit us, we took a nap under a tree in a park next to a wall around the city that was built by the Romans.  (American history is so young compared to french history)

On to the high speed train back to Paris for 2 more days.