Category Archives: Wine-Related Posts

Open House Alert!!!

I received an email today from one of my very favorite Burgundian winemakers – Claire Naudin of Domaine Naudin Ferrand in MagnylesVillers – about one of my very favorite Burgundian events – their annual Open House.

If your French is good, you can read all about it on their website here.

Otherwise, you can read about it on my blog here and here .

Here are the details for the 2010 edition: It happens on the weekend of May 8th at the Domaine NaudinFerrand in MangnylesVillers (you won’t be able to miss the signs) and the hours are:

Saturday – 10:00am to 10:00pm (the nighttime festivities are very fun)
Sunday – 10:00am to 5:00pm

Let me put it this way – if I was still in Burgundy I would be pitching a tent there for the weekend!

Vin Sensation = Sensational Blog

I’ve talked about Sensation Vin before in my blog. In my opinion, it is a fabulous place to go if you want a fun, low-key and inexpensive crash course on Burgundy wines from people who really know what they’re doing.

It is located just by Notre-Dame in the heart of medieval Beaune, and you can simply drop in and take one of their “essentials” classes which can take as little as an hour.

And now Sensation Vin has started a sensational blog. So far it is only in French, but for those of you who already have some basic knowledge of the language and want to brush up on your oenological vocabulaire, this is the perfect place.

In Vino Veritas!

Saint Vincent Tournante – 2010 Edition!

I have still been nursing sick children over here on my rock in Canada, while vicariously living through Lisa’s blog about her family’s French sabbatical.

However, I would be very remiss if I didn’t holler the fact that the 2010 Saint Vincent Wine Festival is taking place next weekend (30th and 31st of Januray) in the lovely Burgundian village of Chassagne-Montrachet.

Read about Villers‘ and Magny’s very own edition of this venerable Burgundian tradition here.

Chassagne-Montrachet has done up a very informative website that can actually be read in English.

In Vino Veritas!

Authentic France Travel Tip #49: Taste, Buy, and Hoard the 2009 Vintage

You heard it here first. Burgundy’s 2009 vintage is poised to be one of those fabulous vintages that stand out this century.

The ideal conditions started with the perfect weather for growing and ripening grapes throughout this year, and crescendoed in lovely dry weather for the harvest which meant that the gorgeous, sugary grapes were brought in, de-stemmed, and juiced with an unusually low incidence of mildew or rot.

It was a particularly joyous vendanges in Burgundy this year; everyone involved felt like they were part of something truly wonderous. Many are saying that the 2009 vintage may even surpass the superlative 2005 vintage, which wine buyers can barely get their hands on anymore. It is sold out at most domaines.

Maybe it will even measure up to the sublime 1929 vintage – a few bottles of which savvy winemakers throughout Burgundy still hoard in their cellars.

So if you are travelling to France over the next few years, jump at any opportunity to taste, buy, and hoard 2009 Burgundy reds and whites (don’t forget we rent out space in our newly renovated 13th Century wine cellar in Beaune for a mere 200 Euros per year – I’m working on getting a page about this online).

Also, if you are going to be around Beaune for the 3rd weekend in November take the opportunity to take part in the world-famous Hospices de Beaune winetasting and taste the 2009 vintage from the barrel before it is even released to the market!

We might be able to help you arrange this, just email me here.

Because as any visitor can tell you, the heart of Beaune and its surrounding villages is its wine. The 2009 vintage is liquid proof that it’s beating strong.


2009 Harvest Report

For you wine-lovers out there, here is insider information in regards to Burgundy’s 2009 Vintage.

The harvesting is just drawing to a close all over Burgundy. The summary below comes straight from my friend Charlotte who is celebrating the traditional “Paulée” that marks the end of harvest with all of the vendangeurs that worked at the family’s DomaineDomaine Buffet in Volnay probably…well, probably at this very moment as a matter of fact!

“MO ets très satisfait de ce qui est rentré, une quantité normale plus mais surtout de très beaux raisins, peu de pourris et des très bons degrés…”

This translates that her husband, who is the Domaine’s winemaker, is very happy with the superb quality of the grapes which are both high in sugar and troubled by very few cases of rot or mildew.

The good news from the harvest has been pouring in throughout this week all over Burgundy. The overwhelming consensus is that 2009 is a Burgundy vintage to watch for in the years to come. Some are saying that it may prove as good, or even better, than the now-famous (and long-ago sold out) 2005 vintage.

In Vino Veritas!

The Healing Powers of Wine

Saturday morning I woke up not only with a very sore throat, but a very full day ahead of me. However, the first thing on my schedule was my annual rendezvous in Volnay with my friend Charlotte and this year with her equally lovely friend Stéphanie for the “Elégance de Volnay” women-only blind winetasting.

Sore throat be damned – I wasn’t going to miss it.

Here is our table. I think we are looking pretty darn elegant for 10:30 in the morning.

Of course, it WAS a lot of hard work. We had to blind taste 8 different bottles of Volnay 2005 vintage (one of the best vintages over the last several years) then discuss the wine, make our own tasting notes, and then mark each wine individually out of 20.

It was exhausting.

And in the course of the two hours I spent tasting some of Burgundy’s best wines, my sore throat completely disappeared (and so have the panic attacks for the time being).

Thank you Bourgogne.

Frenchitude Lesson #38: Put Down Some Wine

It is second nature for most French people, and especially for most Burgundians, to put down and age certain bottles of wine in order to be able to pull them out an enjoy them down the road.

Almost every child born in Burgundy has several bottles of wine bottled in their birth year put down for them, as well as bottles put down to commemorate their christenings, holy communions, passing their Bacs, and all the other myriad of rites of passage in their French lives.

Franck and I put down several bottles that we had received as wedding gifts (one of the advantages of getting married in Burgundy!) and have since enjoyed many of them at our girls’ baptisms.

For me, opening a bottle of symbolic (not to mention sublimely aged, if you’re lucky) wine imparts any rite of passage with extra meaning. In putting the wine down you are betting on a joyous future filled with celebrations and loved ones to share them with. The act of opening a bottle of cellared wine recognizes that this optimistic view of the future has, fortuitously, come true.

Besides, I hate fruitcake.

The day before he left to go back to Canada my Dad transferred most of his wine from our house here at La Maison des Chaumes to his new slot at the Caveau du Relais du Vieux Beaune wine cellar.

Now his wine will be safe from both temperature variations and his thirsty daughter and son-in-law. My Dad has wisely locked the metal gate over his store of wine, and pocketed his key.

However my Dad, who was in a particularly magnanimous mood, marked his wine stash as belonging to “The Bradbury Family”, and declared that the wine is for the whole family to enjoy, whenever they want. He is a very brave man if he isn’t worried that Franck and I might not take him up on this. Just look at all that Grand Cru Chablis…

In any case, it is always meaningful to be pull out a bottle of aged wine for a special occasion; a wedding, a baptism, an engagement, or even just a sublime Sunday meal with friends.

Before you pull out your bottles though, you must cellar the wine in the first place.

It is my belief that while a cellar is ideal, it is by no means necessary. Any cool place with minimal temperature variations and the highest possible level of humidity will do…

Poke around in your own closets and basement and see if you can’t find such a place in your home. If not, survey your relatives and / or friends’ houses – the ones you would trust with your life, thus your wine – to see if they don’t possess such a spot.

The next step is to acquire a few bottles of wine that have every chance of aging well. Although many red and white Bordeaux and Burgundies (and yes, I’m totally biased) come to mind, there are also excellent New World wines that age extremely well.

If in doubt consult one of your oenophile friends, who undoubtedly will have very strong and entertaining opinions on the subject, or the staff at your favorite local wine store.

Make sure you lie your wine bottles on their sides, just like you’re putting them to sleep. Shut off the light and let them snooze away.

And as for choosing the ideal moment to draw out your hidden treasures to share with the world…believe me, just like falling in love, your gut and your Frenchitude will just know it.

In Vino Veritas!