Apparently it’s been more than two weeks since my Champagne post… whoops. I got lost in a cycle of Supernatural binge-watching (9 seasons in less than 2 months… yeah, that’s what I really do all day in Budapest). But now I’m all caught up to present day, and the next season doesn’t air until October, leaving me plenty of time for blogging. And perhaps visiting the outside world.
For us, the main attractions on our French wine trip were Champagne and Bordeaux, but we had a little extra time in the country and thought it’d be nice to stop in the Burgundy region for a quick tour. Burgundy has two main grape varietals – pinot noir (red) and chardonnay (white). Richie and I love pinot noir, but aren’t as fond of chardonnay, so we only budgeted 2 nights and 1 day in the region. There are a number of small villages with great options for places to stay, but as I did research I kept reading about the charming (if touristy) town of Beaune, and that it was well-located for trips to chateaux throughout Burgundy. After our last stop in the Champagne region, we made the lovely 3-hour drive through the French countryside to our B&B, Le Clos de L’Aigue. For our first night in town, we wandered the streets for a few hours, eating a (delicious!) sushi dinner and grabbing a glass of wine at the Caves Abbaye (a cavern dating to the 12th century – most of the caves in Beaune have origins in the 11-13th century, making it a fascinating trip through time!)
The next morning, we started our day at Chateau Pommard, just outside of Beaune.
The chateau had lots of interesting places to explore, from their gardens and vineyards to their art galleries (apparently someone was obsessed with Dali) and their “Ancient Kitchen” with a mechanical roasting spit from the 1700s.
We finished our time at the chateau with a guided tour and wine tasting. The wines were good, but (as we’d been forewarned by our friend at the Caves L’abbaye) incredibly overpriced.
After a quick lunch back in Beaune, we headed on the road again to Antonin Rodet. This visit began with an inauspicious start – despite us pre-booking our tour, there was no one on the premises who spoke English. The woman who was there then started a video explaining the history and traditions of the winery… in German. And apparently once you push the wrong button, you can’t turn off the video or change the language and you just have to finish it. So we watched a ten minute video in German, followed by the exact same video in English. It was honestly just as uninteresting in English as it was in a foreign language! The wines made up for it, at least! There were several to taste, both red and white, and we ended up picking one to bring home.
As most chateaux close for tastings around 4 pm, we couldn’t visit any of the other options we’d considered before closing. So we headed back to Beaune for a quick visit to the Notre Dame, dinner, and a good night’s rest before heading to Bordeaux.
Overall, our time in Beaune can best be described as relaxing – we didn’t pack in many activities or wine tastings. But you could easily spend a week in Burgundy alone, traveling up and down the wine road and stopping at random chateaux. If you do, I highly recommend staying in Beaune as your central spot and driving from there, and I especially recommend our B&B. Sandrine, our hostess, was incredibly welcoming and helpful, and the amenities were fantastic (home-cooked breakfasts, a swimming pool, hot tub, and sauna, and secured parking).
Sometime before the end of the summer, I’ll post about Bordeaux….