A Letter From Burgundy

November 26, 2012

Out and About

Filed under: Events and markets,Food,Wines and vines — Lesley @ 15:14

After a busy summer and a trip back to the UK for a family wedding in quaint old Whitstable we have had a little more time to be out and about enjoying autumn in Burgundy.

Watching the grape pickers near Volnay

Covering the grapes


We saw this fungi during a walk with the dogs

We visited le Château Couches de la Marguerite de Bourgogne too. (www.chateaudecouches.com) The present owners are reconstructing the history and rediscovering  the architecture of this fortified medieval monument which is perched on a rocky outcrop in a prime position to withstand attack. It has an 11th century main tower, many underground tunnels, 12th century justice tower and a 15th century chapel.  A guided tour enhanced our knowledge of these fine buildings. Wine tasting is available and many activities for children are held during the holidays.

Last weekend we visited Beaune for the 152nd Hospices de Beaune wine sale celebrations. It was a fantastic time to be in this beautiful town. The auction, managed by Christie’s each year is held in the Halles de Beaune and for 2012 was presided over by Carla Bruni-Sarkozy with the proceeds going to various charities. A new cuvèe was offered for the first time by Jean-Luc Bissey – Echèzeaux Grand Cru. The vineyards were planted by his father in 1945 after his return from the war and are located in Les Echèzeaux du Dessus. This is the third Grand Cru de la Côte de Nuits to be offered for sale in the auction.

Despite a poor spring the harvest begun on the 19th September after a month of warm and dry weather and the 2012 vintage is expected to be very good as small bunches of grapes, rich in sugar and flavour were produced. In fact Anthony Hanson, senior consultant at Christie’s, has described 2012 as a splendid vintage for both reds and whites.

44 different wines were for sale – 31 red and 13 whites – a total of 512 barrels.  Prior to the auction tastings and dinners featuring Hospices de Beaune wines were organised in many cities including Singapore, London, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Beijing, Tokyo, Palm Beach, New York, Boston, Vienna, Paris and Beaune.

The weekend is called “Les Trois Glorieuses” and is a three day festival devoted to the food and wine of Burgundy.


These people were enjoying frog legs for lunch but there was ample choice including meats from the Morvan, snails, truffles and pancakes. We opted for pancakes at Chapelle Saint-Flocel which opens its doors once a year to help raise funds.

Throughout the day there was French country dancing by a group from Dijon and a number of street bands ranging from formal marching bands to the less formal-

If you get the chance to visit Beaune for the 153rd Week-End de la Vente next year (the auction is on the 3rd Sunday in November) make sure you go!