Saturday March 17th Day 4
Saturday morning was a free day for everyone. Some of us decided to sleep in but many of our members enjoyed the world-famous Beaune market and lunched at an outdoor café; warmed with heat lamps. I could easily get used to this pace of life.
Cyndi, Lesle and Fred took the afternoon to put all the wines together for our evening at Chateau Meursault. Making sure that the Jeroboam of champagne was chilled among all the other beautiful wines that they chose for this very special occasion.
At 5:30 pm we all met at La Terre D’Or where we enjoyed a sparking reception and a piano recital from Vincent’s son and niece before we went to the Banée. What a nice way to start the evening.
Our convoy of vans arrived at Chateau Meursault; it looked majestic, lit in the dark! We were greeted by, police, and security guards to insure that we were invited guests. How special it is for us to attend this private and exclusive event.
After the wine reception we were guided through the cellars of Chateau Meursault, ducking under stone arches and through dark tunnels. The ladies had to be very careful in their high heals. How mysterious this was to us! What are we in for? And, where are we going?
Eventually, we walked up a small flight of tight stairs and entered the dining room. 3 long tables with about 12 small ones coming out from the side wall. It was breath taking. Keep in mind, an 8-course meal and that there is no kitchen on site! The room would hold about 500 lucky attendees, us being the minority English speaking. No one cared; in fact, The Mellecey Wine Group is a popular attendee every year because of their commitment to Burgundy and the wines they promote. I kind of think it might also be from the Niagara ice wine they share with these people. It is a big treat for them.
Each winemaker (and guests) would bring along a few choice bottles and, with music, dancing and speeches sounding the proper notes of civic pride, the dinner would become fittingly bacchanalian. This year the award goes to a promising top chef, and to our excitement it was the chef from our dinner the pervious night. Eric Pras, starred chef at the Lameloise restaurant! A big cheer from our table; since, we are still dreaming of that meal.
For all the worldwide attention, Banée de Meursault maintains a warm, neighbourly feel. From a stage in front of rows of narrow tables, the Mayor of Meursault makes a speech and a local male chorus, outfitted in cellar aprons, regales the crowd with folk songs, peppered with choruses of “Le Bon Bourguignon,’’ a popular drinking song.
From the moment you sit down, wine is poured. It’s great fun to see world-famous winemakers like Caroline Darlot of Drouhin-Laroze and Marc Olivier of Domaine Buffet walking around filling glasses, and it’s even more fun if they fill your own. We were squeezed in among a crowd of crazy Swiss importers that loved to share their wines. Across the narrow table from us were many of the winemakers we had visited earlier in the week. We were blessed, by someone or something to be in this intimate venue witnessing these Burgundians let their hair down and celebrate the new vintage to come. And with all the heartache they have had over the past few years, we were celebrating with them.
A night to remember!
And as one London Club member mentioned, “I think I have seen 3 months of Burgundy in 3 days” and a few others have said “Where and When is the next trip”
The Adventure, to be continued.