Our mornings are started by having coffee with us all wrapped in our luxurious bath robes and then a leisurely breakfast of fresh fruit and fresh pastries from the local boulangerie near where we are docked. This morning after our usual we decided to take advantage of the break in the weather (a little sun attempting to break through) and walk along the canal. Most of the locks are approximately one mile apart, as the barge is in the lock and starting to descend to a lower level it is quite easy to step off the barge and walk along the foot/bike path and then step back on the barge at the next lock or further if one chooses. We walked approximately 3 miles enjoying the local fauna, the ducks on the canal, the mistletoe in the trees and the lock keepers riding by on small motorcycles to get to the next lock before the barge arrived.
We docked in the village of Fleurey where Maggie and the van were waiting to take us wine tasting!
Bourgogne (Burgundy) has five wine-producing regions, an area of 230 km from north to south, 28,841 hectares of production vineyards, around 187 million bottles are produced each year which is only 0.5% of the world's total wine production! There is written evidence that Bourgogne vineyards have existed since 312 almost 2000 years! The wines are usually made up from one single grape variety - grape varieties are 48% Chardonnay, 34% Pinot noir, 10% Gamay, 6% Aligote and 2% other! All Bourgogne wines are AOC (Appellations d'Origine Controlee) - today there are a total of 100 - 4 appellations (Grand Cru, Premier Cru, Villages and Regionales). Grand Cru and Premier Cru wines are always one grape variety and from a specific plot, there is no blending! Grand Cru is the highest appellation and once attained can never be lost; thus sometimes the lesser appellations may be more favorable as the winemaker is always wanting to attain a higher appellation!
We stopped at Domaine Rion, a five generation family owned business since 1896 for our wine tasting. We had a tour of the facility with hundreds and hundreds of bottles of wine and culminated in a tasting of five wines all of course from the Bourgogne region - 1 Aligote, 2 Village, 1 Premier Cru and 1 Grand Cru. After wine tasting Maggie toured us through the vineyards explaining the advantage to the location of the vineyards, the ones on the slopes being preferred for better sun, better drainage, etc. We stopped to look at a plot that produces Grand Cru wines with bottles going for €15,000 per bottle!
We then returned to the Magnolia where we rested and enjoyed being indoors during the rain storm; and later went out to dinner at a local Pizzeria for salads and a pizza! Then time to turn in for evening! Another fantastic day of barging!! JC