If you are into wine travel, a day without wine tasting in Burgundy seems odd, especially when staying in Meursault, only a few km away from Volnay, Pommard and Beaune to the North, and a few km away from Puligny Montrachet and Santenay to the South! But pacing yourself is essential when you’re staying here for 2-3 weeks unless your liver is impervious to several wine tastings EVERY day!
Our wine travels have been bringing us to Meursault regularly since 1987 and our 2017 accommodation was in a large “maison” in the village centre. We always look back fondly on 1987, the beginning of our wine travels and widening our children’s cultural horizons.
Our 4th day was a Saturday, market day in Beaune, so breakfast was a baguette plus patisserie from the Meursault shop in the village square; baguette still warm, crispy on the outside, light and fluffy on the inside, just made for butter and strawberry jam!
The Beaune market is huge, occupying almost the whole of the town centre and connecting streets and selling a fantastic array of fruits, vegetables, charcuteries, roasting chickens, brightly coloured hats, leather goods, pottery …… but it’s always the wonderful fruit and veg that capture my attention. I must have thousands of photographs of tomatoes on market stalls from all over France spanning 30 years! There can be no better way to pass a Saturday morning in France than visiting the local market, feasting your eyes on the colours and the traders, taking in the aromas of charcuterie, spices, and the roasting chickens, pintades and hams. Eventually your senses are overwhelmed and a time-out is required in a suitable hostelry!
Lunch time beckoned and it was a weary foursome that grabbed a table in Le Grand Cafe du Lyon in Place Carnot. This is our favourite brasserie for coffee, a wide choice of wine by the glass and lunch, whatever the time of day it’s charmingly unpretentious with no fuss over whether you want food or just a drink. It’s a locals choice too with an outside seating area giving you full view of the square. Lunch arrived, a Jambon Persille with chips for me, no wine remember, and we started to plot the afternoon’s adventures.
Looking across the Place Carnot we spotted the decorated van of the cheese shop, Alain Hess, Maitre Fromager, which we’d forgotten about with our wandering around the market. So first phase of the afternoon was to explore again this wonderful maison de fromage where the choice of cheeses is quite bewildering, the aromas as you enter reminding me of the old fashioned grocery shop in our Cumbrian village over 60 years ago. They sell wine too, but not for us today!
Our main discussion over lunch had determined that we would spend an hour of the afternoon walking the vineyards between Pommard and Volnay, specifically to see if we could find “the line” that delineates the two appellations. The wines from each “village” are quite different, both being Pinot Noir, both having the same aspect of slope, but Volnay wines being much more delicate and “feminine” than the more “masculine” Pommard. The answer is in the soil and I have written about this previously so won’t labour the point, and this has to be one of the best wine tasting and wine travel walks anywhere in the world because you can sample completely different Pinot Noir at either end of the walk. But it’s a lovely walk even without wine between the two villages taking only 20 minutes if you don’t stop or take photos. We always take plenty!
Returning to Meursault after our vineyards walk, (without wine tasting remember!), the issue now was twofold…… staying awake and deciding on dinner! Not actually cooking anything was the preferred option so a mega charcuterie plus baguette was the answer. Swift visit to the boucherie in the village and voila! The day ends on our rather large balcony waiting for the sunset over the vines, without wine tasting. And if you believe THAT fairy tale you’ll believe anything!