Day 8 There are no whines in the heart of Burgundy

Trip Start May 22, 2011
Trip End Jun 10, 2011

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Flag of France  , Bourgogne,
Monday, May 30, 2011

We got up at an ungodly hour this morning to join our fellow cruisers on a guided tour of Beaune. We boarded a bus at 8:15 for the thirty-minute ride. Our guide, Annabelle, provided us with truly expert commentary on the way. She was extremely knowledgeable about the geography, the architecture, the economics, and, of course, the wines of Burgundy. She delivered it in English with a delightful French accent.

Some salient facts: the only grapes grown in the Beaune area are Pinor Noir and Chardonnay.  None of the wines from this area is made with a blend of grapes.  The varietals depend on the soil, sun exposure, altitude, and karma.  This is all captured in a term the French use to rate their wines called the "terroir". The most notable wines are: Burgundy, Beaujolais, (reds); and Chardonnay, White Burgundy, and Chablis (whites).   As we have mentioned before, the French wines are quite different from wines from the states.  One useful piece of information.  The vintners recommend re-corking an unfinished bottle of wine rather than using those rubber or plastic sealers.  The cork allows the wine to continue to breathe.

One highlight of the tour was the Hotel-Dieu de Beaune, a hospital built by Nicolas Rolin,. Rolin was born into a bourgeois family in Burgundy and ultimately became Chancellor of Paris.  He helped draft a treaty that established the independence of Burgundy from England in 1435, during the 100 year war. He was also a philanderer, who sired several illegitimate children. To make up for his sins, and to help himself find a path to heaven, he built this hospital for the sick and poor.

Tonight was the Captain's dinner.  All seven courses. It was delicious French cuisine prepared by our Paris-trained chefette.She obviously quite enjoys the fruits, vegetables, meats, breads, and deserts of her labor!  We shared a table with two interesting and lively couples, one from North Carolina and the other from Ontario, Canada. 

Overall, this was a very relaxing day. We had a lovely afternoon cruising down the Saone, seeing lots of swans, some cygnets, and the lock, shown in the accompanying picture.

The pictures are a bit limited today, because we were inside dark places (the hospital and a wine cellar) for the most part.  We'll try to bring you a more vibrant visual experience tomorrow, when we get to Lyon after a post-midnight cruise.
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Barb on

Does that mean you're not supposed to replace the screw on cap once the jug has been opened? Where can I buy fat corks? ;)

Lea on

Right, so do any of the vintners there use fake corks or did they comment on that trend?

Eric and Mary on

We are enjoying, and in some cases re-living, so many of your travels through France. Thank you so much for including us in your wonderful blog. We've enjoyed the pictures, the descriptions and the emotions of your wonderful adventure. Bless your hearts, Eric and Mary

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