Burgundy 2018 (part 6: road trips)

Saturday

Virginia was still trying to find a mantel clock and came across an antique market in Gevrey-Chambertin. So we decided to stop there on our way down to Puligny-Montrachet, where we were staying overnight. We figured the antique market would be in the center of the village, so we drove on in. After parking, we walked around the village and found no sign of the market. We gave up and drove back to the national road, turned right, and immediately found the market across the road. Unfortunately, no clocks were available. So onward!

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Nom nom.

We drove into Beaune and parked just outside the ramparts. We walked into the Place Carnot at the center of town and decided to return to Le Conty, where we’d had a lovely lunch two years prior. It was unusually chilly that day, so we sat outside and splurged on the Burgundy classics menu: escargot (12 each, cooked in the shell), boeuf bourguignon, creme brûlée (me) and apple/blackberry cream dome with raspberry and mango sauces (Virginia).

Stuffed, we started wandering around and saw a boutique for Maison Champy. We had visited the winery on our last trip, but this hadn’t existed then. So we had to explore it. We went inside and were led upstairs to their tasting salon, an airy and comfortable room with couches and comfortable chairs. Cyriane, our host, walked us through two tastings (Virginia opted for a birthday upgrade while I stuck to the basic lineup). We decided to pick up a couple of older bottles (one from 1998, one from 2008) and thanked Cyriane before leaving.

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Maison Olivier Leflaive.

We drove down to Puligny-Montrachet, enjoying the tree-lined highway on the way down. We parked in the main square and checked into Maison Olivier Leflaive, a hotel/restaurant owned by the winemaker of the same name. Our room was beautiful, way beyond our expectations. After marveling for a few minutes, we walked over to Caveau de Puligny-Montrachet, the village’s wine shop/bar, for a pre-dinner drink. Virginia enjoyed a Kir Royale while I savored a glass of Jean-Louis Chavy Puligny premier Cru 2016. It was so good that I bought four bottles to take with us.

We had dinner at Maison Olivier Leflaive’s restaurant that evening. The food is good, but the wine options are fantastic. We were prepared for their nine-wine option, and then saw they were offering a special “wines of 2012” pairing. 2012 was one of the best recent vintages in Burgundy, so we were excited to try these premier and grand cru wines, many of which came from vineyards in walking distance of the hotel. One of them, the Chassagne-Montrachet premier cru “Clos Saint-Marc”, was both amazing and impossible to find in the USA, so we purchased six bottles to take with us the next day. Full of food, wine, and good cheer, we set up breakfast for tomorrow and went to bed.

Sunday

We woke up early so we could take a walk around the village before breakfast, reminiscing about our trip from two years ago. We then returned to have breakfast in our room, introvert-style. We’d ordered way too much food, but it was worth it as it was all excellent.

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Astronomy is everywhere.

After breakfast, we checked out, picked up our wine, and got in the car to head back toward Dijon. We had planned to have lunch in Nuits-St.-Georges, so we stopped there around 11:30am. However, we were so full from breakfast that we didn’t want anything. Instead, we went to a wine shop that featured a local winemaker we’d heard of but knew nothing about. We bought a bottle to try before aimlessly wandering around during the lunch hour while everything was closed.

We were soon back at our place in Dijon, with our wine purchases properly put away. I roasted a Bresse chicken and we ate the breast/wing quarters with a salad and bread, paired with a Domaine Michel Nöellat Savigny-Les-Beaune (a gift from the winery). After dinner, we discussed going home earlier than planned so we could have a full weekend at home to reset. Amazingly, we were able to rebook plane tickets, change our hotel reservation, and reschedule our food tour in Madrid and move everything up by two days.

Monday

Not everything in Burgundy has to be about wine (though that’s what it’s best known for at this point). The region also contains a regional park called the Morvan. We’d intended to go when we were last here, but never made the drive. So this time we committed to it. It also worked out to do this on a Monday, when so much else is closed.

After our usual breakfast, we packed a picnic lunch and drove to Saulieu. Just past the village is a side road that leads up to the Argentalet loop trail. I had previously downloaded the GPS map of the trail to my phone so we wouldn’t get lost. I thought that would be our guide, somewhat foolishly in hindsight.

We set off on the trail and everything was going well, even with the overgrowth on and around the trail. After maybe ten minutes, we saw a sign pointing off to the left; however, the GPS map said stick to the right. So we did, and that was not the right decision. Instead, we spent the next 30-40 minutes making our way through dead trees and thorny bushes, while staying exactly on the GPS map. I’m pretty sure they changed the trail and never updated the map you can download from the park website. Fortunately, the edge of the “trail” was near a creek, so we followed that until we found the actual trail near Etang de l’Argentalet, a calm lake near where we’d parked. From there, it was easy sailing; we stayed on the real trail and made it back to our car for our picnic lunch.

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Etang de l’Argentalet. And look – a trail!

Our Airbnb included a picnic basked that had everything you’d want, including plates, napkins, flatware, glasses, and a compartment that keeps food cold. So our lunch of peaches, cheese, and sausage was perfect. After lunch, we drove an hour north to Ancy-le-Franc. The village itself is fairly nondescript, but the Château d’Ancy-le-Franc is well worth visiting. It’s been renovated while keeping its historic nature. We toured the house (unfortunately, they don’t have guided tours in English, so we relied on their handout) and wandered around the grounds for a little while.

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Château d’Ancy-le-Franc.

Finally, we decided we were tired and drove home to Dijon. Once we got back, I called Iberia, as had been my habit that time, to learn nothing about our luggage. We finished off the roasted Bresse chicken after reheating it in the oven, and paired it with a salad and cheese.

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