Burgundian Hospitality

What a way to start 2011!

After being invited to participate in the St Vincent celebrations in the prestigious wine village of St Aubin in the Côte de Beaune, it would have been discourteous to turn it down. All wine villages in Burgundy hold their own private St Vincent celebrations, the week before the St VincentTournante .

Tickets to these celebrations are not available to the general public as it is a traditional occasion similar to the old guild events in days gone by, however we were honoured by the host of this years St Vincent, in St Aubin, André Moingeon et Fils, and were absolutely delighted to accept. St Vincent is the patron saint of winegrowers and the 22nd of January is his official day. Tradition has it that if it is a fine day, the winter is effectively over – or if it is cold, the winter will be a long cold one. A mass is always held, then a procession through the village, to transfer the statue of St Vincent from the home of the previous year’s vigneron to the vigneron who has been chosen to hold him for the following year, thus passing on the blessing of a good year’s harvest. After this wonderful procession, with all the vignerons, the local dignitaries and their families (many children in traditional Burgundian dress) everyone is welcomed in the Salle des Fêtes for the speeches.

So far, very traditional but Monsieur le Maire had some special news – St Aubin has officially applied to host the St Vincent Tournante in 2014, which will bring up to 40,000 visitors to the village for the weekend. This news was welcomed by all the vignerons as it is a great opportunity to present their wines to a greater audience without leaving the region. If Sunday’s hospitality and friendliness is anything to go by, the last weekend in January 2014, is a date to put in your diaries.

It was now time to start the real celebrations, St Aubin Premier Cru, 2009 was served as an aperitif to everyone, along with a warm cakesalé, a mouth watering cross between a loaf and a savoury cake, made from various ingredients such as leek and peppers, lardons and gruyere and a melt in your mouth salmon. Small gougères, a local speciality were also served; these are light, choux pastry balls, delicately flavoured with gruyere cheese and perfect to accompany wine tasting. In days of old, a pig was slaughtered and the families would sit down to a hog roast accompanied by the different wines from the wine makers own vineyards. This year though it had been decided that a more varied menu would be served.

burgundian-hospitality-2Quenelle de Crevettes sur son Pancake de Hommard, Réduction de Corail
Roti de Lotte dit <Lardé>, Crémeux de Pois Chiches, Dome de Butternut
Magret d’Oie légerèment Fumé, Cuisson à l’Unilatéral, Jus Réduit, Tube de Légumes Oubliés******
Beignet de Citeaux et Petite Mache à l’Huile de Noisettes Grillées
Sablé Breton et sa Mousse de Lait, Brunoise de Poires au Caramel de Beurre Salé
‘Le tout arrosé des meilleurs crus de nos caves’

As the waiters started serving the meal, bottles of wine appeared from everywhere and I mean everywhere, everyone was so keen for their wine to be opened first! Everyone, insisted that ‘you just try a drop’, great hilarity ensued when the first wine was – UNSCREWED! As part of the host family, Nadine opened the first bottle – a Chenin Blanc from South Africa – everyone tried a little and commented nicely, then Nadine revealed she had bought it from Lidl, for the princely sum of 1.99€. The atmosphere was set for the afternoon, everyone started opening their best bottles and it was hard to keep track of them all, 17 white wines and 14 red wines, not forgetting the Crémant de Bourgogne at the end (for those who are interested, I have listed the wines at the bottom of the page).

The menu was delicious, the wines elegant and the conviviality was exceptional. It was a privilege and an honour to be allowed to share in a moment when deep seated Burgundian hospitality, was shown at it’s best. It was an afternoon to relish and feel the passion that these illustrious winemakers and their families have for their wines. The overall feeling being that although it may be a business, above all they are foremost vignerons, a ‘metier’, a profession that has been handed down from generation to generation. To understand the Burgundian way of life is not easy but this was an impressive welcome that is not often extended to incomers of any nationality, not even the French.

burgundian-hospitalityI would like to extend my heartfelt thanks to M. et Mme Michel Moingeon and the winemakers of St Aubin and wish the village, all the best for the StVincent Tournante in 2014, which will be a great success.

The wines tasted included:-

Chenin Blanc Amarosa 2009 – Oliphants River, South Africa
St Aubin 1er Cru Chatenaire 2009 – J Lamonthe
St Aubin 2006 – Domaine Larue
St Aubin 1er Cru Les Friandes 2000 – Domaine Moingeon
St Aubin 1er Cru Chatenaire 2005 – Henri Prudhon
St Abuin sous Roches 2008 – 2008 – Gerard Thomas
St Aubin 1er Cru Merger de Dents du Chien 2005 – Gerard Thomas
Puligny Montrachet 1999 – Andre Moingeon
St Romain 2009 – Gerard Thomas
Meursault 1er Cru Clos des Porusots 1996 –
Roux Chassagne Montrachet 1er Cru Le Vide Bourse 2007 – M Colin
Meursault Blagny Les Ravelles 2008 – Michel Lamanthe
St Véran 2008 – Perrand Earl
St Aubin 1er Cru En Montceau 2006 – M Colin
Puligny Montrachet 1er Cru La Garenne 2003 – M Colin
St Aubin 1er Cru Mergers du Dents du Chien 2005 – Domaine Larue
Bergerac 2001 – Chateua Peroudin
St Aubin 1er Cru En Créot 2003 – Moingeon
St Aubin 2000 St Aubin 1er Cru Les Frionnes 1999 – Henri Prudhon
St Aubin 1er Cru 2007 – Lamanthe
St Aubin 1er Cru Derrièrre Chez Edouard 2005 – Hubert Lamy
St Joseph 2008
Gevrey Chambertin 2007 – Guillon
Chambolle Musigny 2004 – Thiery Mortet
Chassagne Montrachet La Budriotte 2005 – Jean Claude Bachelet
Volnay 1er Cru Les Santenots 2002 – Domaine Roux
Chassagne Montrachet La Boudriotte – Domaine Laroux
Pommerol – Château de Bel Air 2001