After spending a night in Champagne which included a stroll down the strikingly
beautiful Avenue des Champagnes in Epernay, along with a bit of sampling of the local
product, I drove along many a scenic byway in order to reach my destination: the Cote
d’Or. I arrived in Volnay at 7:00 p.m. and was cordially greeted by the Lafarge family
with wine and a lovely dinner.
I spent the next few days exploring the area, including a drive to the stunning city
of Dijon with its white limestone plazas and elegant buildings. The Place de Liberty
proved to be an exceptionally beautiful spot for a lunch of escargot, boeuf Bourgignon
and a bottle of Nuit St. Georges Les Dames de Vergy after starting with some Cremant
de Bourgogne. Earlier in the day I had been in Gevrey-Chambertin taking in the glory
of the grand cru vineyards (le Chambertin, Clos de Beze) and helping my UC Davis
colleague settle in at Domaine Arnaud Rousseau.
I also explored Beaune with some classmates and a few new acquaintances and made
a trek the next day through several premier cru vineyards from Volnay to Meursault on
foot. I picked up a couple baguettes from the local boulangerie and a chausson aux
pommes, then did some grocery shopping at the Casino (a grocery store chain). I also
stopped at the boucherie and ordered 300 g of beef, then ducked into a small store for
some fruits, vegetables, and garlic (for which the word escaped me, but luckily another
patron was able to translate). The 3 km return trip seemed a bit longer carrying two
bags of groceries… Later that night I hiked to the top of the hill behind Volnay and
was rewarded with a spectacular view over most of the Cote de Beaune. I thoroughly
enjoyed handfuls of Burgundy blackberries on both the Volnay and Pommard of the
communal border as the sun was setting.