Friday, June 26, 2009

June 2009

Ah oui, another month has almost passed. Our wedding anniversary is the 27th of June. It has been 39 years, and we are still married. Keith takes off for the Loire Valley on Saturday the 27th for another guiding trip, so he will not be here (there will be 12 clients, the biggest group for him so far).

We went out to dinner on Thursday evening to celebrate, to a little restaurant we like in Fixin, the Clos Napoleon. We found that it had changed owners, chef and menus, but it was still very good.

I will go back and start at the beginning of the month. Our friend Chris from London came for a week, the first week of June. The weather was fantastic the whole week. We toured and tasted wine. On Tuesday we went down to the wine region just west of Macon. On the way, we stopped at Cluny and had lunch. Cluny was, at one time, the largest church in the world. Unfortunately, most of it has been destroyed (many houses in the city are built with stone from the church). We took a brief tour after lunch to see some of the remnants of the church. Cluny was started by the Benedictines, 910 AD. Cluny even owned the chateau here in Gevrey for a period of time.

Cluny Tower
pillar ruins
Floor plan -from Wikipedia

[More information at website : ]

After lunch we meandered along with hilly roads. The country side is beautiful. I had not visited this area before, Keith had with his bike and last year when he was guiding tours.

Stopped to take a photo of a menhir. What is a menhir, glad you asked. They are tall massive stones that are standing upright (size varies, this one..hmm 15-20 feet). There are many in France and also Germany and of course Britian, and there is no conclusive answer on the origin. Maybe part of the religion of the druids?; territory markers?; part of a calendar?; who knows. Some found alone like this one, others found in groups. Interesting though and it makes one ponder "how did they get it upright"? The cross on the top was added many hundreds of years (well actually thousands of years) after this stone was erected.

A little further on, near the village of Pouilly we stopped at Solutre (village and bluff have the same name). This is a famous bluff here in France (Burgundy) because of all the fossils that have been found. Massive amount of bones are at the base of the bluff.

Solutre from a distance
Another View


The discoverer and first investigator of the site, Adrien Arcelin, tried to explain the mass of horse bones revealed during the 19th century excavations by describing hunters driving herds of up to 600 animals at a time over the edge of the rock. This concept of Solutre as a ‘horse-jump’ site found favour in the late 1800s and was upheld even as late as the 1950s. However, in 1956 Jean Combier re-interpreted Solutre as a place to which hunters periodically returned to kill horses which were passing through the valley during their seasonal migrations.

More information at :

Finding a place to stay was another thing all together. We had not made any reservations ahead of time, thinking it would be easy to find a place. We had struck out at 4 places (no one home/place closed up). Finally we were in Fuissé (the B&B there did not answer when we rang the bell) and I saw a sign for degustation (wine tasting). It was hot and late in the afternoon and I said we were stopping there to taste some wine (that was one of the reasons for going to this area).

All is well that ends well.


Not only did we have a nice tasting, the woman knew the owner of the B&B and called her on her cell phone. We had a rooms for the night. Yeah!

It was a lovely B&B, Bergerie de Fuissé. Out in front there is a huge garden with chairs to sit on and enjoy the view of the vineyards. The place is large..a list of common rooms for the Bread and Breakfast include; a large game room with fire place, a small TV room, a reading room with fireplace, and a kitchenette area with a stocked refrigerator. In addition to all these inside rooms there is a large courtyard, part of it covered. When we came back from dinner, the owner had candles lit all around the courtyard. It was very pretty, and a beautiful warm evening. So we sat down and enjoyed the rest of the evening.

Breakfast was served in a glass room that looked out on the chicken yard. We had a great time that morning having our breakfast and watching the chickens. She even served a glass of Cremant for breakfast. Chris and I indulged, Keith our trusty driver did not. I did get some chicken photos though.

Mr Rooster
Handsome Dude

On the way back, in a nearby village we stopped at a small goat cheese farm that Keith had visited last year when he was guiding for the barge tours. Of course we bought some great cheese.

That afternoon we stopped in Cormartin. Here we visited the Chateau de Cormartin. The existing building was started in 1605. It used the foundations of a fortified castle built by Henri du Ble in 1280. It is a very ornate chateau and there are some beautiful gardens.

Keith going to visit Cormatin

Friday Chirs and I went to Vezelay. It is a long drive (almost 2 hours), but a nice little village built on top of a hill. It is known for its’ church, St Mary Magdalene. It is said that the relics of Mary Magdalene are at the church and therefore it is one of the churches visited by the pilgrims on the way to St Jacques de Compostello. St. Bernard of Clairvaux preached the Second Crusade at Vézelay in 1146. (St Benard is highly regarded here in Burgundy, since he was born in a village that is now a suburb of Dijon (Fontaine les Dijon). He also established the Abbey de Fontaney.

At the alter of Mary Magdalene.

On Sunday we (Chris and I, Keith was off to work another tour) went over and watched Ohtar (Marie Therese’s horse) do a cross-country run. Marie Therese has moved Ohtar to a different stable in Seurre. Although she liked Clemancey, Christophe was going more for dressage, no cross country and little jumping. Ohtar loves jumping and cross country. Tough decision, but she finally moved Ohtar in May. Ohtar did well on Sunday,and placed. All were very pleased.

On the 13th and 14th of the month, winegrowers from the Cote D’Or who belong to an organization called Independent Vignerons had “Portes Ouvert” (Open House) for tasting their wines. I take pottery from Christine and her husband is a winegrower. So she had a pottery display (with students pottery too), and her husband had a table for wine tasting. I help set up on Friday, but forgot to take a photo!!

I went over on Saturday and threw some pots as a demonstration. What fun.

On Sunday, Marie Therese, Keith and I set out and tasted some wine at some of the other places (there were 25 vignerons on the list). Keith found a real nice place in the Haute Cote. Some very nice wine. Also tried a place in Marsannay-la-Côte, looking for some Rosé from Marsannay (first AOC for Rosé). And we found some, a very Rosé nice too.

Not all wine is great though. We did stop at another place. First of all there was a brochure that speaks to the wine tasting along with the list of wines to taste at each vignerons place.

We arrive and the woman says they do not do wine tastings on Sundays!!?!?! Marie Therese or Keith stated they thought that we were going to be able to taste wine! Oh, she considered, maybe she has some open bottles in the other room. She disappears and returns with a few bottles. We did taste, but were not at all impressed with the wine. Maybe her attitude carries over into the wine. Didn't she even read her own advertising?

Speaking of wine, Keith has found another vignerons in Savigny les Beaunes. They make Sparkling Red Burgundy. Keith said he remembers this 40 years ago. So he bought some.

We had the photoclub picnic also this month. Last 2 years it has rained. This year it was nice. We had the picnic in Chambouef (just up the hill from Gevrey).

The Genealogy club also had two outings this month. One on the geology of Gevrey-Chambertin and the other to the Dijon Library. For the geology tour we walked though some of the vines looking at the rock formations and the difference from one location to another. [ Note website for Genealogy, Histoire et Patrimoine Gevrey Chambertin , it is in french: ]

At the library we got to see a collection that is not open to the public. These are books from the 11th and 12th century. The books from the Abbey de Citeaux had some wonderful drawings. She said a scribe could copy a page every 20 minutes. This of course did not include the embelishments, that was done by a different monk.

Renovated Room
Illustrated OLD Book

As always, the 21st of June is the national night for music. I went to a concert on Saturday night, the 20th however. It was the chorale group from Gevrey (Albasso) and my old chorale group from Epernay singing in the old church at Couchey. It was really a good concert and I got to see a lot of friends from Epernay after the concert (always a glass of wine after).

I think, all in all, it has been a very informative month. I loaded you down with information on historical sites, hope you enjoyed some of the information.

And of course there are a few more days. On Tuesday night the 30th, Christine is having a BBQ for all her pottery students and families. Keith will not be here, but she expects 20+ persons. Should be a fun night.

UPCOMING FOR JULY...Check out 4-14 Fete Dijon

and a trip to Normandy to see a good friend.


Rice Salad

This is an easy recipe that I threw together one evening.


  • 1 package Uncle Ben's Express Lemon and Rosemary Rice
  • 1/2 cup zucchini -diced
  • 1/3 cup carrots -diced
  • 1/4 Red Bell Pepper -diced
  • 1/2 Red Onion - chopped
  • Salt and Pepper to taste


  • 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 2 full teaspoons lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon Mustard


    1. Put rice packet into the microwave as directed on the package

    2. When done, add the rice to a bowl

    3. Toss with a fork to separate all the rice

    4. Mix vinaigrette and add to rice

    5. Add all of the diced vegetables

    6. Add salt and pepper

    7. Put into the refrigerator for about 1 hour to let flavors blend

Just before serving, do a taste check for salt and pepper. Also if a little dry (rice has absorbed all of the vinaigrette) add a dash of olive oil and mix.

Add a few sprigs of parsley on top to finish

Add other veggies that you like, peas maybe or cucumber? Try it.

As always, if you try the recipe, give me comments -good or bad. I cook by taste, and sometimes hard to list exact amounts!!

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