By billn on August 01, 2019 #travel

From a short break in Piemonte, but later today comes an even shorter break, in Beaune.

We arrive in heavy thunder, lightning, rain and hail – but then it was over – seemingly the hail not hitting any of the vines. We made no Piedmontese domaine visits, just a tour of some better-known locations – and of course, there was the eating! In a very short summary; I loved Novello and La Morra. Barolo was nice but almost a disappointment after La Morra. Of course, Turin was more than interesting. Alba gets many compliments though perhaps we didn’t find the best parts – it certainly has a nice shopping street in the centre, but Asti, once you get through the suburbs and into the centre, is on a grander scale which I found much more impressive.

Interesting that in Asti, it seems hardly possible to find ‘Spumante’ in good wine-shops. They sell Moscato-Asti though – only about 5-6% alcohol and sweet – but no bubbles!

Finally, it was absolutely the best decision to take the ‘St.Bernard Pass’ instead of the tunnel for our return – simply spectacular – there was too much cloud for this ‘detour’on our way to Italy.

a day out in the (swiss) vines…

By billn on June 02, 2019 #travel

You don’t get to take a boat-trip to see the vines in Burgundy – well, not often anyway!

The ferry from Biel (Bienne) to Twann and then 2.5 hours walk back to Biel through the grape route – the hillside vines that run down to the Bielersee (Lac de Bienne). Topping out with 29°C – the first time this year.

out to lunch…

By billn on May 31, 2019 #travel

It’s something of a long-weekend in Switzerland, so I was forced out of the house – to eat freshly caught lake fish. Okay, ‘forced’ is an exaggeration – It’s my most favourite lunch and lunch place!

€9 coffee, €40 brunch – then back to beaune for pizza…

By billn on December 20, 2018 #travel pics

Wednesday was a rainy day, so we decided to hop on the train to Monaco – only €2.30 on the train – I decided that there must be some nice hotels or casinos where we could drink a coffee and pretend to be Mr and Mrs Bond – indeed there are – but the rain was firing down which made the experience sub-optimal!

Today we quit our AirBnB early for Beaune – but with a stop for brunch in St.Tropez – a mere €40 in the Café de Paris – lovely, creamily scrambled eggs though! Out of season there are still very big boats here, but the feeling is smaller, cosier and certainly prettier than much of the Côte d’Azur. Then we headed back to Beaune and real life – i.e. a pizza after 740 km in front of the steering wheel…

monday-tuesday on the côte (d’azure!)

By billn on December 18, 2018 #travel pics

Azure is the colour – of-course! Sunday bought plenty of rain – as will tomorrow – but yesterday and today we were out and about. Nice – what to say, I simply loved. Today we hopped into Italy – Ventimiglia – a super market and an old town not for those with a bad head for heights. Considering the weather forecast, I think that tomorrow I may mainly be typing…

a little dark menton…

By billn on December 16, 2018 #travel pics

We would have had a little more light for arrival on the south-coast, yesterday, but the gillets-jaunes caused more than a few problems on French motorways!

chästeilet, weekend wines (week 40 2018) and some happy producers…

By billn on October 08, 2018 #degustation#travel

#2017burgundyreport week 1

After my first full week of 2017 visits – see the happy, smiling, faces of the producers above – I returned home for a little relaxation: First there was my 10km Saturday morning jog from Lauterbrunnen up to Mürren with 960 vertical metres of climbing! Whilst my finishing time was my best for 3 or 4 years, my iron will cracked after 30 minutes and nearly 400 vertical metres, from here I alternately jogged and walked for 2 minutes at a time – actually, when it’s this steep, ‘marching’ is probably not much slower than jogging! I know it was only my head, because after 25 minutes of this, as I neared the Winteregg station, I, of-course, ran without problem for the remaining 30 minutes – why ‘of-course?’ Well, here were people walking who would have seen that I wasn’t running – so it was clearly all in my head, not my legs!!!

I met my better half in Mürren and a really excellent rösti for lunch was my first recompense – views of the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau in the sunshine from our luncheon-terrace my second!

Post-lunch we walked for a little over an hour to the cable-car at Grütschalp, but en-route, just past Winteregg, we came upon a gathering of a couple of hundred people – forming a human chain and passing cheeses to one another – well, this is Switzerland!

This was the yearly Chästeilet or ‘cheese-sharing!’

Of-course we had to ask what the chästeilet was! Apparently all the farmers that have cows on this alp between May and September regularly bring their milk to this cheesery (käserei) – it is weighed so that at the end of the season the farmers get the equivalent in weight in ‘mountain cheese’, less whatever is the cheesemaker’s commission. This was the day – the first Saturday in October – that the farmers all come to collect their cheese – mainly round cheeses of 10.5 to almost 12 kg, but also some square ones – apparently for the raclette machines!

On this Chästeilete day the casual visitor couldn’t buy any cheese, but I assume every other day of the year you can buy some cheese here.

A cool tradition that we just happened upon…

Then, of-course, there were some wines over the last days:

2015 Coudert, Brouilly
Plenty of colour, yet modest for the vintage. The nose has drive and a little freshness – more than expect for the vintage and place. Yes – lovely – fresh, open yet with line and vivacity and energy to the flavours – a little dried fruit, raisins, in the middle. Open, succulent – nearly juicy – only modest weight but simply delicious wine. Bravo.

2017 Lambrays, Rosé du Clos
The recent 2014, despite its lovely colour, seemed a bit passed its best, so further investigation was required! This nose has certain freshness of fruit – unlike the cheesy-feet of the 2014 – a sweetness of melon and red fruit. In the mouth there’s good volume and a modest density and richness of freshly delivered flavour. Tasty wine – not particularly special for a rosé but a good rosé. Nice wine. It seems that it pays to drink this young – it’s not that badly priced from the wine-shop in Morey St.Denis – €15…

2015 Albert Joly, Puligny-Montrachet Les Charmes
Vines on the border with Meursault, because of that this wine always tastes more like a Meursault to me, particularly in 2015…
Wide, ripe fruit, almost golden in style. Mouth-filling, a hint of steely minerality before the mouth-wateringly ripe fruit starts to take over. Not a wine of tension despite the balance, but certainly something that is very easy to drink indeed. Always delicious, never very Puligny…

2015 Blain Soeur et Frère, Côte de Brouilly Pierre Bleue
Deeply coloured. Beautifully, fully, cherry-berry-fruited with an accent of coal. Mouth-filling volume, a good line of flavour that slowly decays in a mouth-watering style. A good freshness and clarity of fruit in the middle and it holds well in the finish too. Excellent wine, that’s well-textured and delicious.

weekend wine – week 33 2018

By billn on August 21, 2018 #degustation#travel pics

I’ve mainly been catching up on some Mâcon samples for this week’s publication of the July report, but something rouge still managed to slip past our lips…

2014 Sophie & Guillaume Joncy, Côte de Brouilly La Trad’ Nature
Red wax-topped. Plenty of colour. Hmm, a nose of depth, in a faintly lactic, ‘natural,’ style – call it sauvage – but not only is this still a lovely invitation, with extended aeration the nose becomes more pure cherry-fruited. Good volume – round and really mouth-filling – with a fine texture. A bottle that empties at quite a rate – super-tasty wine!

And a little Canton Bern wanderings from the weekend:

Burgundy Report

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