We were back in Burgundy during half-term week and drove down the autoroute wondering if, after the first eventful weekend in the house in January, more nightmare scenarios would greet us on our arrival. Would we have another burst pipe? Would the heating work? There was snow on the ground and below zero temperatures as we pulled up at the house and it was just getting dark. The house was uninvitingly cold. A very dodgy half-hour was spent trying to get the boiler going for the heating and the oven but, thankfully and after many a cross word, it all worked. That meant time for a glass of wine and we celebrated with a delicious Marsannay Blanc 2006 from Domaine Trappet. The house was soon snugly warm and the SMEG oven did us proud when it was time for dinner.
During that week, we went backwards and forward to Beaune about a million times, or so it seemed. There are two possible routes from our house and we found ourselves timing each one to see which was the better track to take. One way, via names such as Santenay, Puligny-Montrachet and Meursault involves going through four villages with indescribably horrible road humps so we hoped that the other, more picturesque and bump-free route, via Saint Romain, Monthélie, Pommard and Volnay would be the quickest. Our hopes were dashed but the preferred route has glorious views over the vines and I just loved driving through them every day and look forward to going back a few times, before this year’s vintage, to see the vines in different stages of development. Now, in February, the vines are being pruned and a familiar site across the landscape is the rising smoke from burning vine clippings.
Whilst we didn’t eat out at all during the week (too much unpacking of furniture and trekking around for white goods), we ate and drank well at home. The best wines included a red Rully les Montpalais 2007 from Jean-Claude & Anna Brelière with goat’s cheese wrapped in bacon, and a Bouzeron Aligoté 2008 from Domaine Chanzy (silver medal at Mâcon 2009) with linguine, homemade pesto and shavings of parmesan.
The gastronomic highlight of the week was some mouth-wateringly good Charolais steak, the white Charolais beef being from Charolles in southern Burgundy. We went non-Burgundy for the wine on this occasion as I had brought a bottle of Emily Laughton’s Occam’s Razor Shiraz 2006 from the much-respected Jasper Hill estate in Heathcote, Victoria. It was a superb match for the steak and a welcome break from the local wines – as much as I adore Burgundy, it’s good to ring the changes.
A final point to mention: we made a terribly important discovery on this trip – the pizza van is in our village every Friday night and, for every 12 pizzas purchased, we get one free! Friday night in France will definitely be pizza night.