just an average day-trip to burgundy…


Aubert de Villaine - not smiling after being made to wait!
Aubert de Villaine - after being made to wait in the cold!
Monday was just your average away-day to Burgundy:

5:30am – Alarm, cereal, wash, shave then eventually open my eyes.

6:25am – In the car and away. Plenty of rain as we went through the ‘Doubs’ and around Besançon. If the sky didn’t exactly clear, at least there was no rain when, at 9:10am, I pulled into the parking area in Aloxe-Corton. The meeting time was 9:30, so we made good time. Or at least I thought we’d made good time, but when it got to 9:40 I realised, aided by a telephone message from the secretary of Aubert de Villaine (oops!), that he was waiting (since 9:30) by a different vineyard map in Corton. Ah-well, nothing like making an impression!

11:00am – picked up some wine and blagged a coffee and a Waitrose plain-chocolate coated ginger biscuit (mmm…) from M&M in Aloxe, before heading for lunch in Caves Madeleine – rustic jambon persille, beef bouguignone and some tasty, runny cheese – lovely! Washed down with a 2006 Nuits 1er Perrières – the last 3rd of the bottle I will drink tonight. Hubert de Montille was taking lunch beside us – nice chap, he liked our dog despite her bad habit of scanning the dining table…

2:20pm – picked up some more wine (these trips can be expensive) from Blair Pethel, who was recovering from the grippe! Hardly time even to say hello before running off (nothing to do with worring about his infections!) to arrive at 2:30pm (on-time) at the Bouchard Père et Fils winery in Savigny (well close to Savigny anyway). Unfortunately there was a mix-up, and Philippe Prost was waiting for me in Beaune – bugger – I could have walked there from Caves Madeleine! We finally sat together in the tasting room at about 2:50pm. Philippe is a goldmine of info and I always enjoy our chats, but by 4pm we were only just finishing the reds, and there was an equally table-groaning number of whites waiting to taste; at that point I had to call friends of friends to get a telephone number of somebody to pass on a message (…!) to say that there would be no chance to make my 4-4:30pm appointment and maybe we could do it next time. I hope they will have me back in January! We actually stepped out into the rain at 5:30pm, and headed straight for a coffee…!

6:45pm – arrived in Morey St.Denis at Domaine David Clark to pick up some wine (!) after accepting his kindly offer of dinner with him and his parents. While there I got to see the new bottling machine as conceived and implemented by l’equipe technique du domaine; DRC and Leflaive will be so jealous of this gentle approach to bottling! Did I mention bottling? Guess what the parents will be doing as you read this 😉 We left after espressos as the clock reached 9:15pm. One stop in the services at Besançon for a splash of fuel (no point filling up in France, it’s much cheaper in Switzerland) for the car, and another espresso fuel for me. Finally arrived home at about 12:20am to lots of rain.

1:00am – Showered and soundly asleep! (Thanks to all who made it so worthwhile.)

Agree? Disagree? Anything you'd like to add?

There are 3 responses to “just an average day-trip to burgundy…”

  1. Pablo Sieber12th December 2009 at 9:54 pmPermalinkReply

    hi Bill
    you are a lucky guy. i have just another 1 hour more to get to beaune. This week i had a great red Rully 2006 from domaine ninot. This evening I opened a 2004 Santenay Clos Rousseau from the domaine J-C. Regnaudout(Maranges) which is also wonderful. Both wines have an great P/E.
    Have a nice weekend

  2. stefano9th December 2010 at 3:28 amPermalinkReply

    Hi Bill,
    A quick question regarding these day-trips to Burgundy: how do you manage the customs? I ask the question as I was once caught by the french custom (when geting back to Switzerland) and got into trouble as I did buy for more than 1000 euro of wine (which is considered as business…). It seems that this amount of money is the maximum one person can take out of France without some special papers (invoices are not enough). Clues??

    • billn9th December 2010 at 7:19 amPermalinkReply

      Hi Stefano,
      So far I’ve been lucky, my swiss registered car has not been stopped by customs. Where possible – and not all domaines will do it – I buy Hors Tax and get the stamps at the Swiss border, sending the stamped invoice back to the producer. I have gone to the customs at the border with more than €1,000 of invoices before now and not had a problem.

      Sometimes I have to pay tax, but sometimes when I haven’t the capsules are still the tax-paid ones – it usually depends what’s on stock.

      Normally I go often enough to Burgundy that I don’t ever have 100s of litres in the car – sometimes I even come home with nothing!!! (shock…)

      • stefano9th December 2010 at 7:28 pmPermalinkReply

        I proceed the same way. I guess I was just unlucky that day…

  3. burgundyfan11th December 2010 at 7:08 pmPermalinkReply

    Hi Stefano and Bill
    look at the following URL where you find the documentation from the french duty(douane) for exportation.


    Most of the vigneron in the burgundy would like to get a stamp from the french duty(douane).
    If you get thru the douane(french) with more than 1000€ for one person that’s just luck.


    • billn11th December 2010 at 8:55 pmPermalinkReply

      Lucky I don’t have an allocation of DRC caise panachés!

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