Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Vineyard Tour in Bourgogne (Burgundy) Region

Firstly I must write about the name Bourgogne, it has to be pronounced as Burgundy. Guide mimicked about how english speaking people tried prounce the Bourgogne with a weird funny pronounce as usual we all do to read any french word.

As we started off from the tourism office for the wine tour they sky was getting more clear as per the weather report it was suppose to be cloudy and brief showers were expected. So, our guide Lu-Lu (this is his nickname) was very happy about the weather and was saying many thanks to nature for bring out the bright sky. He took us at the outside road of rampart around the town. He explained about the ancient buildings on the way.

As we moved out of the town and reached the outskirts all that could be seen were vineyard that was filled up with the roots of grape plants. He explained many interesting theories about the farm fields as we stopped at one place. Depends on the size of the stem the age of the plant can be gauged it seems. There were many samples shown ranging from 10 years till 100 years. If some are dead they are replaced by a new plant but a better protection is needed till it grows well as they are better feast for rabbits as I heard. So, they have protected it with a polythene cover.

Normally the grape farm plants that I have seen in India were grown high taller and makes easier to cut from the standing position, but here they are all cut at the level of our knee. This is to get the better juice out from the grape it seems. So, it is very demanding physically during the harvesting process and this harvesting must be done in a shortest time span just at the ripe condition even few days delay could cause grape become unusable to produce better quality of wine. I also heard from him on my way back that during such harvesting time they are suppose to produce the number of workers in the fields and seems like head count was being monitored from the helicopters. In case of any excessive count they go and catch the owners for illegal employment it seems.

During the plant growth process to apply fertilizer they use copter for spraying pesticides it seems, in order not to touch the ground level they have markings done by the tall stick tied up with the polythene bags on the top of it.

When I visited that was the beginning of the growing grape plant season. He told that this is the period I can show you how the farm lands are split between owners. He showed us the shade in the ground as you can see in the picture different colour of soil means different owner it seems unlike our place we have dividers (vaaikkaal) between each one of our paddy field. Also one owner might have different piece of land at different slopes to produce varieties of wine as the soil condition and weather conditions differs depends on the location.

He showed a wall built between two vineyard regions and told us that this is the end of Beaune and starting of Pommard>. He told us that normally the names of the wine brands are nothing but the names of the wine villages and the place located. He was telling another interesting fact that the quality of wine produced between two different vineyards at the very exact border still differs though it has same amount of slope for better exposure of Sun and used same method of cultivation and same ages for the root. He said that’s how the taste differs.

Important factor for getting better grape to produce wine is the slope land. It cannot be too high or too low (leveled ground). This is mainly because of the right exposure to Sun light and the right Weather condition and the right soil moisture things like that can get good quality of grape for good quality of wine it seems. As we entered the Pommard town he showed us the château of Pommard. He said every village had one Château during those days and was controlled by family from that Château.

There were two examples he mentioned about the design concept of the RC and CSI Churches until that day I didn’t know about how to differentiate the churches of RC & CSI. Its nothing but the cathedrals of RC are built with tall rocket shaped towers and rich in architecture but CSI churches were having square type of towers that were mostly built by huge square blocks stones and were much simple in design. We also passed by the vineyards around this region like Meursault AOC there are some Premier Cru vineyards, Volnay to reach back DE SAVIGNY LES.

On our way back he explained the fact that every house in the villages has their own wine cellar and making their own money. There was one street on the both side that he showed every single house had wine cellars of their own. He was saying though these people live in ordinary houses like the one in the picture they make real good profit out of this business. There were name boards outside the gates of those houses containing their brand names.

At one point after this village on our way he stopped the vehicle at one strange up hill and freed the gear at one upward slope, (don’t know how the law of force works) the vehicle was supposed go downwards as it was uphill but the vehicle was moving upward and he told us that he always why it happens only at that place. You can see that slope as in the attached image. We were also passing by another wine village called Bouze Les- Beaune. First name sounds quite familiar isn’t it? Huh haa, the actual meaning is cow dung it seems.

This posting is becoming bit longer and its getting late for me to get back to bed, So, I leave you guys with a happy reading till now and let me write about the wine making process at the wine cellar in my next post.

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