Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Weekend in Beajolais Country

Beaujolais is a light bodied red wine produced in the Beaujolais province. The region is located north of Lyon and is composed of miles and miles (kilometers if you prefer) of rolling hills literally covered in grape vines and tiny little town placed here and there among them.
The first people to sew the seeds of the now famous Beaujolais grapes were the Romans. From the 7th century through the Middle Ages, most of the viticulture and winemaking was done by the Benedictine monks. In the 10th century, the region got its name from the town of Beaujeu (which we drove through I think...or we just saw a lot of signs for it, it's the capital of that region), and Rhône (very close by) and was ruled by the Lords of Beaujeu till the 15th century.
The Beaujolais Nouveau - as Alex so aptly described it - is a simple table wine. There is no body - no real lasting flavor at the back of your tongue. It's just there. And frankly...it's just gross. But its the only wine that can be released as young as it is - so for whatever reason they DO release it young, even though in my opinion its not ready to be tasted. There you have it though - a yearly tradition complete with wine tasting, marathons, and fireworks.

We got up around 5 am and I and walked up to Place Jordan where Alex and her room-mate Amandine (she's French and she loves "le catch" (WWF wrestling)) picked Therese and I up. Amandine drove us all the way to Lyon (a 5 or so hour drive) and dropped us off at Part Dieu (the train station in the heart of Lyon). From there we rented a car - thank goodness Alex drives stick! - and proceeded to drive up to the Beaujolais region with me as the navigator.

Therese is on the left and Alex is on the right.

We drove up to Villefranche - drove by it the first time thinking nothing was going on but a marathon - but then headed back after our pizza chef in Belleville told us that's where the action was.

There were about 5 different bands playing (think marching band) which I took videos of- but I thought this little girl was so cute!

Really cute little town - filled to the brim for nasty wine :)

We walked around for a bit sipping on our little plastic cups of wine while Alex explained to Therese and I how she describes the taste of wine and how there are so many different personal ways to do it. I like wine - but I never really got into talking about it - so I had little to add to her wealth of information.

Stumbled upon this guy - and everyone was taking pictures with him. Therese and I posed while Alex took our picture but the joke of it all went right over my head. Remi! Who is this guy and why should I think it's funny?

Really pretty church in the center of town. There were signs for a "pasta party" all over the place and when we got to the church there was a stage set up next to it with semi-drunks singing karaoke and the "pasta party" sign was pointed right at the stage. I was ever so disappointed and confused.

Several cheese stands with little chunks for tasting.

These ones you actually buy this way though.

This cheese was covered in grapes from the wine making process.

These guys were dressed as grapes - which I totally didn't get until Alex told me. I was like..what kinda weird monsters are they trying to be - although - there were a lot of people wearing wigs for no reason so I didn't think it was too strange. Grapes make sense though.

We stayed at this really cute place that was pretty much impossible to find. The "town" was called La Grange du Bois..and so was the bed and breakfast. We were told we would "fall upon it" - more on this expression in another post! dont get me started on "fall upon it" - because literally there was nothing in this town but some houses and the B&B.

view from the window

Turned out to be an amazing huge old house with an incredible view. Our hostess walked around in a floor-length poncho looking friendly and was more than willing to point us in the direction of food when we finally found the place, hungry and tired.

Breakfast in the morning was hearty bread with 3 seemingly homemade jams and butter(which Im told is much better here than at home - i dont eat butter much so I wasn't sure), grape juice, and tea.

Turned out to be a great weekend. We got lost. Therese and I got carsick. We're already making plans to go back to Lyon. There is so much more I could say about this weekend but attention spans are only so long right? Enjoy the pictures!

1 comment:

Tom said...

I think the the guy is Laurent Fabius, a past socialist prime minister.