We roused ourselves early and left the apartment without breakfast. We needed to get to Gare de Dijon-Ville for our train to Beaune that morning, where we were being picked up for an all-day tour. The train ride was full of commuters, some of whom brought bicycles (fortunately, the train is set up to hold maybe six bikes per car). We were on an express train, so it took only 20 minutes.
Once we arrived in Beaune, we got espressos at the café across the street. However, their supplying boulangerie is closed on Mondays, so we were left to fend for ourselves. We were guided to another location where we picked up pains au chocolat, which we ate while looking at real estate ads (a common pastime for us). We walked back to the café and I had a cafe creme while we waited for our ride.
Patrick, our tour guide, showed up right on time. We had met Patrick two years ago when Virginia first found Burgundy Discovery Tours and booked us on an all-day extravaganza. We chose a different tour this time so we could learn more about different winemakers. We were joined by two other couples (one from South Carolina, the other from Sydney) for the day.
Our first stop was Domaine Lejeune in Pommard, just south of Beaune. We were guided through the winery, which turned out to be the largest of the day. We also got our first taste of wines from the 2016 vintage. 2016 is a hard vintage because spring frost wiped out sixty to seventy percent of the grapes that year. What remained, however, is a classic vintage, with elegance that will only improve with time in the cellar. We tasted several wines, choosing six bottles of their 2016 Pommard premier cru “Unique”, which comes from multiple premier cru vineyards that individually didn’t produce enough grapes to make single-vineyard wine.
From there, we headed south to Monthelie, an often overlooked village near Meursault. There, we visited Domaine Dujardin, where we met Ulrich, the owner and winemaker. He is quite a character, and reminded me of our experiences with Carmelo Patti in Mendoza. The wines are made by hand, using traditional methods. We ended up purchasing 6 bottles of his 2016 Monthelie 1er cru “Les Champs Fulliots”, which was frankly a steal. I look forward to drinking it in a few years.
Off to lunch. We ascended into the Hautes-Côtes de Beaune, above most of the well-known villages and vineyards. We had a classic Burgundian lunch before heading onto our third and final winery of the day, Domaine Marcillet in Fussey. Nadine, who co-owns the winery with her spouse Remi, led us around the facility before sharing several wines with us. I was struck by her Hautes-Côtes de Nuits and Virginia was taken with the Bourgogne Aligote, both at more than reasonable prices. We bought four of each, and they became our house wines for the remainder of the trip.
Patrick brought us all back to Beaune to drop off the two couples at their hotels, then very generously drove us (and our wine) all the way back to Dijon. Along the way, he gave us a few recommendations to try in Dijon (more on that later). When we got back, we dropped off the wine and walked back out to get cheese, bread, and vegetables for a light dinner. I unfortunately had to deal with a work issue after dinner, which kept me up late, but it was worth it to get it resolved quickly.
After the previous night’s late work, I definitely wanted to sleep in. I checked on our luggage and saw it was supposed to be delivered today, so we planned a day of staying close by. Our only planned trip out was to the central market for food, which we took care of in the morning. We were also looking for exercise mats, though we didn’t find any at the stores we checked. We then went back home for the afternoon, starting with a lunch of dried sausages, Epoisses cheese, cornichons, and wine.
The afternoon went by without any delivery or communication about a delivery. So we tried again to find exercise mats, and failed a second time. We did get a few extra groceries, though, so it wasn’t a wasted trip. We went back home to relax and have dinner: ballotines of chicken and ham with mozzarella cheese, all wrapped in bacon (French butchers are awesome) with tomatoes and spinach, followed by chocolate and espressos.
Another day, another hope for our luggage. We picked up breakfast pastries and bread for the day and settled in for the morning. We decided to chance leaving the apartment and had lunch at DZenvies (menu to the right). After lunch, we tried one more place for exercise mats, and we found them! Now we could exercise without worrying about the wood floor hurting our backs.
We took them back and basically goofed off for the afternoon. Once we started getting some shade, we moved outside to the rooftop deck. Our evening was restful and relaxed, playing Bananagrams (a very packable game option) before a dinner of sausages, salad, and cheese on the deck.
Oh, and our bags didn’t show up. To be continued…