Sunday, 9 May 2010

Reconnaisance in Beaujolais

One of the offerings from the really big dream company is Burgundy Bike Breaks, guided motorbike tours of this wonderful region of ours. Through our endeavours to promote this we have met a number of smashing people (no pun intended), two of whom, Pete and Chrissy who run Bikiers lot, are spending a couple of days with us. We're planning to offer twin centre holidays so, after our trip down to the Lot region (finally visited the magnificent Millau Bridge) Pete and Chris have come to see what we have to offer at this end. The roads in the Beaujolais area, just to the south of where we live, are great for bikers: hills, bends, good surfaces, stopping points for photo opportunities, not much traffic and plenty of places for a coffee or comfort break. As luck would have it, we woke to dense fog the day we were due to go on our grand tour and were obliged to take the car. However, we were still able to use our time to plan routes and see what was out there for the discerning tourist. Fleurie has long been my favourite red wine and one of my favourite wine villages too. I hadn't been there for a while and was surprised as we turned into the place to find a new resident - Father Christmas! I suppose everybody likes a change of scenery once in a while and Fleurie is a beautiful place but to move your centre of operations (and Christmas is a BIG operation) to a small village in France seems a little odd. I took a sneaky photo then turned my attention to another operation - wine tasting. The wine producers of Fleurie have come up with a great idea. They have a large salle (room) where all of their wines are represented and take it in turns to man the place. A lovely lady, Mme Lardy (who was anything but lardy) was at the helm and we sampled her wine along with that of three other vignerons. Bottles in bags, the urge to purchase was upon us and we dipped into the local shop to seek out more quality buys. Chris found a candle in a wine glass that she just had to have and we spotted some beautifully painted wine bottles. Not bad value at 44 euros each (about £40) until Mark pointed out that they were empty!! We stopped at the lovely Roses hotel in Julienas for coffee and cake and then later visited the old station at Romaneche Thorins which has been turned into a restaurant and entrance to the Georges Duboeuf world of wine. We'll come back for a full tour another day but on this coldish and damp afternoon, we comforted ourselves with the most delicious hot chocolate - blocks of belgian chocolate on a lolly stick that you stirred into steaming milk. Perfection.