With a constant flow of internet imagery from just about every exotic planetary destination, accessible or otherwise, it could be said that restricting vacation plans to the confines of Europe’s boundaries, is to be found wanting in a sense of adventure. Well, maybe so. However for some of us, a ‘boring’ tag is a price worth paying for the good things our back yard has to offer - at least for the duration of the summer season!
A short hop from Burgundy, are the delights of Lake Annecy - a hidden treasure a stone’s throw from Geneva’s international airport. A recent short stay in the Auberge de Pere Bise at Talloires on the shores of the lake provided an introduction to the deft culinary skills of Jean Sulpice, who took over the reigns from Sophie Bise at the end of last year. The bookings have responded with alacrity to his masterful application of alpine herbs to the freshest of organic and local produce. Swimming with the ducks in the calm and tepid waters of the lake to the all encompassing backdrop of the Alps, is a calming and restorative alternative to battling the traffic past Lyon to the south coast. Cezanne may have had the same idea when he stayed at the Hotel de L’Abbaye in 1896, his fine painting of the chateau on the other side of the lake now hanging in the Courtauld Gallery in London.
And in the hills just behind Nuits St Georges, some fine lateral thinking by the village folk on what to do with their disused quarry. Natural art gallery by day and a scene for that heady combination of music, art and wine in the evening.
In Burgundy, the fun really starts with the Festival of Music and Wine at Chateau Vougeot in the second half of June. A world class event which hardly registers outside of Burgundy and New York. With a magical, but spatially constrained auditorium in the Chateau, it may be preferable it should stay that way!
The thoughts of the winemakers in the audience, recently returned from vacation, will be turning to the forthcoming harvest. The continual threat of thunderstorms and accompanying hail for much of July and early August will have put some years on feint hearted grape growers. Thankfully, the hail did not materialise over the Cote, and after a fine start to the year, the fruit is plentiful, in perfect condition, and a bumper harvest and vintage is rounding the corner with the finish line in sight a couple of weeks or so away.
And taking a summer break from the Blog for the past few weeks, we have introduced some vibrant fresh Burgundian vitality to our wine club for the Autumn season -welcome to The Purple Mustard Club -which will shortly be kicking off with some great offers and a vastly expanded list of the best that Burgundy has to offer.