Tag Archives: France

Cote Chalonnaise: Bourgogne Most Underrated Wines 1: Inroduction

Me standing in a vineyard just behind my father’s home in Givry!

For long wines from the Cote Chalonnaise have been ignored because they were “wampirized” by the big Bourgogne “negociants/dealers” who found very practical to mix them with other wines and sell them as better-quality straight Bourgogne appellation bottles.

But times have changed and especially the new generation of wine growers have rebelled and gone their own way, proving that quality for quality their wines were better value than their “cousins” up north. The term “cousins” is what the the so-called specialists often call Cote Chalonnaise wines when comparing them to the celebrated nectars which have made Bourgogne known all the World. I certainly beg to differ. Cote Chalonnaise wines have simply matured into a variety of their own.

Côte Chalonnaise is a subregion of the Burgundy/Bourgogne wine region of France. Côte Chalonnaise lies to the south of the Côte d’Or continuing the same geology southward. It is still in the main area of Burgundy wine production but it includes no Grand cru vineyards. Like the Côte d’Or, it is at the western edge of the broad valley of the river Saône, on the rising ground overlooking the town of Chalon-sur-Saône which is about six kilometers out into the plain. To the north, across the River Dheune, lies the Côte de Beaune. To the south is the Mâconnais. The grapes of the region are predominantly Pinot Noir and Chardonnay with some Aligoté and Gamay also grown in vineyards spread over a stretch of 25 kilometers long and 7 kilometers wide of undulating land in which vineyards are interspersed with orchards and other forms of farming.

The wine-producing communes of the Côte Chalonnaise are, from the north: Bouzeron, the only communal AOC for Aligoté still wine; Rully, which has 23 premier cru vineyards and is known for its white wines as well as being a center for Crémant sparkling wines production; Mercurey, which with 30 premier cru vineyards is the largest volume producer of the region, its wines being nearly all red; Givry, with 17 premier cru vineyards producing mostly red wines; and Montagny, which produces only white wines in its 49 premier cru vineyards.

Visiting La Maison Des Vins in Chalon sur Saone

La Maison Des Vins in Chalon sur Saone has done invaluable work since 1982 to make the wines of the region better known to the general public and connoisseurs alike.
It offers their own selection twice a year, choosing the best 122 wines of Cote Chalonnaise in one single Wine shop with the help of a blind tasting jury.
The chosen wines will be sold there at the producers’ prices (lower than anywhere else!) for the following 6 months!
The Restaurant de La Maison des Vins on the second floor (equiped with elevator and physically-impaired people facilities) will introduce you to the regional gastronomy served with the wines of the Cote Chalonnaise in a very quiet part of the city near the very wide Saone River.
Both are a must-visit before you venture through the hilly country in search for your unknown nectar!

La Maison Des Vins
Promenade Sainte Marie
711OO Chalon sur Saône
France
Téléphone : (33)03-85-41-64-00
Fax: (33)03-85-41-99-83
HOMEPAGE

The Restaurant de la Maison des Vins
Tel : (33)03-85-41-66-66
Fax : (33)03-85-43-82-25

Amphorae found in the region

The Côte Chalonnaise is named after the town of Chalon-sur-Saône, located on the Saône. Its location made the town an important trading center of the Celts in Gaul and was known as Cabilonum. The region was later used by the Ancient Romans with wine being one of the commodities traded up and down the river. More than 20,000 amphorae stamped with Roman emblems have been found in graves in this area, and 1,000 were discovered at the bottom of the Saone River apparently thrown overboard by a Roman trader who discovered the practicality of Celtic oak casks!

South of the village of Santenay in the Côte de Beaune region is the city of Chagny which begins the Côte Chalonnaise, although the city itself does not produce wine. On the other hand Maranges, although lying in Saone et Loire is not part of Cote Chalonnaise yet. The climate and vineyard soils of the Côte Chalonnaise are very similar to those of the Côte d’Or, though the rainfall is slightly less. However, unlike the Côte d’Or, the vineyards of the Côte Chalonnaise do not run along the slopes of a single escarpment but rather are three isolated on patches of limestone. The first patch of vineyards located northwest of Chalon-sur-Saône includes the villages of Bouzeron, Rully and Mercurey which is separated by only a few kilometers from the second patch of vineyards around the village of Givry. Located due west from Saint-Rémy and southwest of Chalon-sur-Saône this patch is nearly 5 kilometers from the third patch of vineyards that make up the Montagny region.

Cote Chalonnaise Country

The landscape of the region is much more agrarian than other parts of Burgundy with pastures and orchards interspersed among vineyards. The soft rolling hills of the area reach altitudes between 750-1,050 feet (230-320 meters). These hills provide some protection from frost and hail damage. The soil is predominately limestone mixed with sand and clay and the occasional iron deposit. Around the city of Mercurey, the soil has a high concentration of iron-enriched marl. The diversity in slopes and soils creates a myriad of microclimates that can greatly influence the varying quality of wine from the Côte Chalonnaise, even among vineyards labeled as premier cru.

All wine produced in the Côte Chalonnaise qualifies for the Appellation d’origine contrôlée (AOC) Bourgogne Côte Chalonnaise though it is more often declassified to the generic Bourgogne AOC because of the higher name recognition of the later. Sparkling wine made from the region is usually labeled as Crémant de Bourgogne. The Côte Chalonnaise has five village-level AOCs. They are, from north to south: Bouzeron, the only communal AOC for Aligoté still wine; Rully, which has 23 premier cru vineyards and is known for its white wines as well as being a center for Crémant sparkling wines production; Mercurey, which with 30 premier cru vineyards is the largest volume producer of the region, its production being nearly all red; Givry, whose 17 premier cru vineyards also produce mostly red wines; and Montagny which produces only white wines and has 49 premier cru vineyards. There is currently no Grand Cru classed vineyards in the Côte Chalonnaise.

I will start introducing the wines of each appelation from the next article with the qualified help of my friends at La Maison des Vins!

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES:
-Sake: Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Jefferson’s Table, Wheeling Gourmet, 5 Star Foodie, Frank Fariello, Oyster Culture, Comestilblog
-Beer: Good Beer & Country Boys, Another Pint, Please!
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery
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French Gastronomy on Stamps (29): Traditional Ingredients & Dishes

TIMBRES-GASTRONOMIE-1

France has issued many stamps on food (not foodstamps!) on her own gastronomy for quite some time including the new series will be issued on April 25th and wil be printed in the form of mini-sheets dedicated to a particular region with stamps, pics and explanations.
As for stamps issued since the first stamp in 1849, a number of them were issued with Traditional Ingredients and Dishes as a theme:

TIMBRES-BEURRE
BEURRE/butter
Someone said that France is a muntain of butter in the middle of a lake of milk, a statement hotly disputed by Denmark!

TIMBRES-CREPE
CREPE
The word crepe apllies only for the sweet whet flour pancake. Its original meaning is “lace” as of a lace veil.
The buckwheat pancake is called “galette”.

TIMBRES-GASTRONOMIE-BOUILLABAISSE
BOUILLABAISSE
Oriinally a poor man/fisherman’s soup eaten with toasted bread has beome an extravagant “national” dish almost unrelated with the real one.

TIMBRES-GASTRONOMIE-CALISSON
CALISSON
A traditional sweet from south France.

TIMBRES-GASTRONOMIE-CASSOULET
CASSOULET
Created with beans originally from India. It takes four hours to cook it with beans, tomatoes and meat (pork, duck or goose) before being gratineed in an oven for at leat an hour.

TIMBRES-GASTRONOMIE-FOIEGRAS
FOIE GRAS
Made in different regions of France. originally mad with goose liver. I, for myself prefer duck foie gras!

TIMBRES-GASTRONOMIE-HUITRES
HUITRES/Oysters
Did you know that all oysters in France, except for the Belon variety either came from Great Britain or Japan?

TIMBRES-GASTRONOMIE-MOUTARDE
MOUTARDE/Mustard
Originally from the Middle East, it is mainly prepared in Dijon, my birthplace!

TIMBRES-GASTRONOMIE-PAIN
PAIN/Bread
Baguette is not French by the way. It was introduced by the Austrian Queen, marie-Antoinette!

TIMBRES-GASTRONOMIE-POTAUFEU
POT AU Feu/Pot on the Fire
Has become universal!

TIMBRES-GASTRONOMIE-QUICHE
QUICHE LORRAINE
The original one, cooked with fresh cream, eggs and bacon only!

TIMBRES-GASTRONOMIE-RILLETTES
RILLETTES
made with lean pork and lard. Great, but careful with those calories!

TIMBRES-LECAFE

CAFES, the symbol of a lifestyle originally came from Austria!

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French Gastronomy on Stamps (28): River Fish

TIMBRES-GASTRONOMIE-1

France has issued many stamps on food (not foodstamps!) on her own gastronomy for quite some time including the new series will be issued on April 25th and wil be printed in the form of mini-sheets dedicated to a particular region with stamps, pics and explanations.
As for stamps issued since the first stamp in 1849, a number of them were issued with River Fish as a theme:

TIMBRES-GASTRONOMIE-POISSON-Saumon

SAUMON/Salmon

Of course most varieties of Salmo both live in the sea and in rivers.
In France, salmon fishing regulations are very strict and define the season when one can catch the fish, its minimum size and fishing area.
The French probably appreciate it most poached, and served cold with a jelly coating and mayonnaise either served whole or in medaillons/thick slices.

TIMBRES-GASTRONOMIE-POISSONS-Brochet

BROCHET/Pike

Both caled the “King of Rivers” and the “River Shark”, its catches are also strictly regulated.
Most apprecated either poached and cold like salmon, or as quenelles/dumplings served hot in a gratineed bechamel sauce as made in Lyon!

TIMBRES-GASTRONOMIE-POISSONS-Gardon

GARDON/Common Roach

Found in big schools in quiet rivers, it is a small cousin of the carp.
The French mostly appreciate it in small size, emptied, rolled into flour and deep-fried, served with lemon and a good glass of white wine or beer.

TIMBRES-GASTRONOMIE-POISSONS-Perche

PERCHE/Perch=River Bass

here is a fish whose catching, except for the season, is practically not regulated as it tends to overpopulate rivers and lakes to the detriment of other fish.
Best appreciated as deep-fried filets served with lemon or tartatr sauce! Great with a solid beer!

Look forward to the next postings! There are plenty more!

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French Gastronomy on Stamps (27): Fruits, Vegetables, Herbs

timbres-gastronomie-2

France has issued many stamps on food (not foodstamps!) on her own gastronomy for quite some time including the new series will be issued on April 25th and wil be printed in the form of mini-sheets dedicated to a particular region with stamps, pics and explanations.
As for stamps issued since the first stamp in 1849, a great number of them were issued with edible Fruits, Vegetables and Herbs as a theme:

TIMBRES=GASTRONOMIE-CANNEASUCRE

CANNE A SUCRE/Sugarcane
France produces a lot of its brown sugar from sugarcanes grown in the West French Indies and African Islands in the Indian Ocean.

TIMBRES=GASTRONOMIE-POMMEDETERRE

POMME DE TERRE/Potatoes.
France was comparatively late in Europe adopting this particular vegetable.

TIMBRES=GASTRONOMIE-THYME

THYM/Thyme
What would the French do witout it?

TIMBRES-GASTRONOMIE-AWARA

AWARA
Exclusively grown in French Guyana/Guyanne.

TIMBRES-GASTRONOMIE-CASSIS

CASSIS
Cassis is mainly grown and poduced in Dijon, my birthplace!

TIMBRES-GASTRONOMIE-CHATAIGNE TIMBRES-GASTRONOMIE-CHATAIGNE-b

CHATAIGNE/Chestnuts
For a long time, in many rural areas of France, chestnuts provided the flour for bread!

TIMBRES-GASTRONOMIE-LENTILS

LENTILLES/Lentils
Originally coming from Indian, the green small ones are the best!

TIMBRES-GASTRONOMIE-MIRABELLE TIMBRES-MIRABELLE

MIRABELLES
At one time almost extinct, they are evrywhere to be found in early Autumn!

TIMBRES-GASTRONOMIE-MYRTILLE

MYRTILLE/Blueberry
Used in making jams and also spirits!

TIMBRES-GASTRONOMIE-OLIVE TIMBRES-OLIVEOIL

OLIVES-HUILE D’OLIVE/Olives and Olive Oil
Grown in Provence mainly!

TIMBRES-GASTRONOMIE-POMME

POMMES/Apples
Make for great Cider and Pommeau! (and cakes!)

TIMBRES-GASTRONOMIE-QUETSCHE

QUETSCHE/Plums
What I would give for a tart of them!

TIMBRES-GASTRONOMIE-SALICORNE

SALICORNE
A very rare vegetable/plant growing in salted waters!
Great as pickles!

Look forward to the next postings! There are plenty more!

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French Gastronomy on Stamps (26): Mushrooms

timbres-gastronomie-2

France has issued many stamps on food (not foodstamps!) on her own gastronomy for quite some time including the new series will be issued on April 25th and wil be printed in the form of mini-sheets dedicated to a particular region with stamps, pics and explanations.
As for stamps issued since the first stamp in 1849, a great number of them were issued with edible mushrooms as a theme:

timbres-gastonomie-champignons-pleurote
PLEUROTE

timbres-gastronomie-cepes
CEPES/Porcini

timbres-gastronomie-champignons-chanterelle
CHANTERELLE VIOLETTE/Violet Chanterelle

timbres-gastronomie-champignons-clavaire
CLAVAIRE

timbres-gastronomie-champignons-indigotier
INDIGOTIER

timbres-gastronomie-champignonsmorille
MORILLE/Morel

timbres-gastronomie-champignons-oronge
ORONGE/Amanita Caesara: The Mushroom of the Cesars!

timbres-gastronomie-champignons-palomet
PALOMET

timbres-gastronomie-champignons-trompette
TROMPETTES DE LA MORT/Black Trumpets

Look forward to the next postings! There are plenty more!

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French Gastronomy on Stamps (25): Cheeses

timbres-gastronomie-1

France has issued many stamps on food (not foodstamps!) on her own gastronomy for quite some time including the new series will be issued on April 25th and wil be printed in the form of mini-sheets dedicated to a particular region with stamps, pics and explanations.
As for stamps issued since the first stamp in 1849, quite a few were issued with cheese as a theme:
CAMEMBERT
timbres-camembert

Probably the most famous and most copied French cheese!
Made from cow’s milk, the best are created with raw milk in the city of Camembert, Normandie!

REBLOCHON
timbres-gastronomie-reblochon

Reblochon, a semi-hard washed type of cheese made in the French Alps, it is very versatile as it can be eaten as it is, inside a pie, or in Fondue! Very soft taste.

ROQUEFORT
timbres-roquefort

The King of all Blue Cheese, but not the oldest one. Copied all over the World, it is exclusively made with ewe’s milk and matured inside natural caves. Great with a Port or Banyuls wine any time of the day!

Next I will introduce some great traditional dishes and ingredients!

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French Gastronomy on Stamps (24): Wines

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Vineyards in Givry, Cote Chalonnaise, Bourgogne

France has issued many stamps on food (not foodstamps!) on her own gastronomy for quite some time including the new series will be issued on April 25th and wil be printed in the form of mini-sheets dedicated to a particular region with stamps, pics and explanations.
As for stamps issued since the firts stamp in 1849, quite a few were issued with wine as a theme:

timbres-gastronomie-closvougeot

Clos Vougeot in Bourgogne, probably the most famous wine of Bourgogne. They also have shares in the glorious Romanee Conti!

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Vignobles de Champagne/Champagne Vineyards
Do I have to introduce the bubbly wines of Champagne? LOL

timbres-gastronomie-vignoblesbeaujolais

Vignobles du Beaujolais/Beaujolais Vineyards
Beaujolais is both famous for 10 great vintages and notorious for Beaujolais Nouveau, a crass success story, if there is one (don’t start shooting!)!

timbres-vendanges

Vendanges/Grapes Harvest!

The next posting will be about cheese!

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Must-see tasting websites:
-Sake: Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen
-Beer: Good Beer & Country Boys, Another Pint, Please!
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

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