We knew that we were going to be doing a fair bit of wine tasting today so thought that we’d better get a swim in before breakfast!
We’d already tee’d up a visit to our friends Andrew and Emma Nielsen at Le Grappin in Beaune at 11am, I also wanted to get in a visit to one of my favourite wine stores, Vinoboam, in Beaune. I called up Sebastien Magnien in Meursault following up on Samuel Arsac’s recommendation but had to leave a message ( in French) on the answerphone. I did realise that it was holiday time and put that one down for the next trip not expecting to hear back.
We strolled up to le boulangerie after taking in the spectacular views of our hotel standing proud amongst the surrounding vines in the morning sun!
Next to the boulangerie we found the local Tourist Information Office where the helpful lady gave us a map for the Cycle Vineyard Trail. By a stroke of luck there was a B&B that did cycle hire near our hotel so after breakfast and on our way into Beaune we booked 2 bikes for the afternoon at the bargain price of 7 Euros per person.
This is their Gite website: Bike Hire- Meursault . But you can use this to contact them and book bikes if you need to.
With our afternoon expedition mapped out we parked up in Beaune in one of the free parking areas just outside the city walls, our favourite is by Le Jardin Anglais, near where the Rue du Faubourg meets the D974 Ringroad.
We arrived at Le Grappin a few minutes late with Emma busily working away clearing space for the new harvest that would be coming in shortly. I was first introduced to Le Grappin just over a year ago by a slightly convoluted route. My wife knew Andrew’s cousin from the gym and mentioned that were going to Burgundy and she suggested contacting him for a visit. I sourced a bottle of their Savigny les Beaunes that day and became a fan instantly! My affection for Andrew and Emma grew the more I got to know about them and their ethos. This is an extract from their web page, which I urge you to read if you’d like to know more.
Andrew Nielsen says “One thing I learned along the way was that special parcels, produce special wine. These parcels don’t have to be famous, they just need to have something to say, and with care and attention in the vineyard and the winery, my job is to let them share their voice.”
Emma took us down to their cellars where we had the privilege of tasting their exciting new wine, a 2014 St.Aubin, another village wine joining their existing stable of Savigny Les Beaune, A Santenay Premier Cru Les Gravieres and a Côte de Beaunes Premier Cru.
The St. Aubin has a taste of toasted hazelnuts, I felt really privileged to try this from the barrel and will be definitely be ordering en primeur when released later this year after bottling!
You don’t have to go all the way to Beaune to sample their delicious wines. Here is a list of where you can access their different wines:
Bagnums ( 1.5L of wine in a sealed bag with a tap that ensures they last for several weeks) are on sale at:
Prohibition Wines http://www.prohibitionwines.com
Harringay Local Store http://www.harringaylocalstore.co.uk
General Store http://www.generalsto.re
Hop Burns and Black http://www.hopburnsblack.co.uk
Park and Bridge http://www.parkandbridge.com
Market Row Wines http://www.marketrowwines.co.uk
Wrights Food Emporium http://www.wrightsfood.co.uk
St Andrews Wine Company http://www.standrewswinecompany.com
Friends of Ham http://www.friendsofham.com
Brassica Restaurant http://www.brassicarestaurant.co.uk
Restaurants don’t use Bagnums but several stock these wines in 5L Bag-in-Box which is even more eco-friendly and is excellent for service of by glass or carafe; less storage, wastage and cheaper than bottles. Examples of where you can taste their wines like this are:
Peckham Refreshment Rooms http://www.peckhamrefreshment.com
Sager & Wilde
They also sell Bagnums and refill bottles from 20L KeyKegs at markets in London although they don’t trade over the harvest period.
Weekly at Brockley Market (www.brockleymarket.com) and Herne Hill Market (except 29 August – 20 September)
Also at these markets (except 29 August – 22 November). Check their Facebook page for schedule: Crystal Palace Food Market, Horniman Farmer’s Market, Alexandra Palace Farmer’s Market, Oval Farmer’s Market and Woolwich Arsenal Market.
Unfortunately their website and blog are very out-dated but they regularly share updates by Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
With a Bagnum of their 100% Gamay Rose under my arm for our picnic later on we bid farewell to Emma and wished her and Andrew “Bon courage” for the harvest!
Next it was off to my favourite Beaune wine merchants , Vinoboam
Where the proprietor, Gerémy Gateau, took my through a tasting of 6 amazing white Burgundies.
2014 St Veran, by David Bienfait
2013 Auxey-Duresse, Benjamin Leroux
2010 Meursault Genevrières, Maison Roche Bellene
Loaded up with a mix of six bottles rom the above, we headed back up the Rue Carnot to the car to embark on Part 2 of our Burgundian Adventure.
Coming up in Part 2: The Véloroute; Beaune – Santenay and Another Picnic!