Monday, 2 August 2010


Finally managed to fly out of Bordeaux last night and after bit of a delay and arrived in a much cooler Lyon just after midnight. After a few complications concerning hire cars, and GPS refusing to acknowledge that the hotel existed, I was on my way north to Tournus in Southern Burgundy.

I had a slight problem with my mobile. I forgot the PIN and couldn’t switch it on and a weird panic set in when I realised I had no communication! Where have all the public phones gone? I couldn’t find a single one even at the auto route stops! What did we do before mobile phones?

I finally made it to the Hotel and had a good nights sleep. Up bright and early this morning and made my way down into the village of Tournus to meet an old friend of Tony Bernard Derain of Caves de Mancey.

Bernard is an incredible man. He is wine merchant, vineyard owner and winemaker with enormous knowledge of Burgundian wines. We jumped in the cars and we then drove up into the hills to the winery and vineyards of Macon. Once at the winery I met Herve the cellar master and student Jonathan who is on hols from university and comes from a wine family just north from here in AOC Mercury.

We then got down to some work tasting firstly the Domaine Dupré Chardonnays in Vats, bottles and casks. Once we had discussed these we moved swiftly on to the new Pinot Noir blend ‘Le Merandier’ and then into the barrels, tasting from almost every one!.

After a long morning blending Bernard treated me to a tasting of his AOC Beaune, Pommard and Nuits Saint Georges that he bought from the infamous Hospices de Beaune auction. Pinot Noir at it best, absolutely wonderful wines!

Of course we finished off the morning and prepared for lunch with a little tasting of Cremant de Bourgogne. Lunch was real chicken! I had actually forgotten what chicken tasted like but free range farm AOC Macon chicken soon reminded me, helped by a 2007 ‘Couvent de Jacobins’ from Louis Jadot .

After lunch I headed further north to the region of Montagny a 100% white wine appellation where Chardonnay rules to meet up with Bernard’s partner in crime Alain Roy! Alain is the true ‘bon vivant’ and has 16ha of Montagny 1er Cru at his property Chateau de la Saule.

After dodging our way past the old cellar hand, who busy preparing and lifting barrels as if they were made of paper for the upcoming harvest, we went to the old tasting room to sample the 2009.

The old tasting room is a step back in time stacked with old bottles, cobwebs and rickety furniture. Alain rummaged around dusted off a magnum and handed it to me and said enjoy that on the weekend!

After a longer than expected stay at Alain’s I headed onto the next appellation of Givry – which produces great value Pinot Noir wines from a unique soil and microclimate - to visit Domain Chofflet-Valdenaire ‘Clos jus’. Then it was a race back south to Lyon to catch the flight back to Bordeaux!


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