St Vincent’s Day is a long day
It turns out that January to March is a quiet time in the tonnellerie world so my visit to Cadus in Ladoix-Serrigny had to be on a Wednesday, St Vincent’s day and they start toasting at 7 a.m.
This session was followed by a change of clothes and a dash to cassecroute at Domaine Marey around 9.00 with those of Pernand going to the Mass at Echevronne at 10.30 where their statue of St Vincent, along with those of Aloxe, Pernand and Ladoix are blessed. Aperatifs at 12.30 at Domaine Rollin, the new guardians of the Pernand statue. Banquet then at the Salle des Fêtes in Aloxe around 1.30 until 7.00 ( yes really ), finishing off with a Soirée Dansant at Domaine Maratray-Dubreuil, new guardians of the statue in Ladoix, laid on in their cuverie beginning at 8.15.
The earliest departure there was 1 a.m.
is another unheralded skill the winemaker must have. If you ever in wine country there is probably a cooperage not far away, in deed some establishments make or maintain their own barrels and its well worth a visit if you can a winemaker to request one for you. Just be ready for the noise ! Its all very elemental, lots of water, fire and steam and hammering.
Of course I arrived in Pernand a little late due to the repositioning of large holes in the road in Aloxe. I knew where to go but there was no sign of activity until you stop and listen outside the right door ! The people you know are friendly but those who don’t know you are a little curious at the arrival of a professional camera at proceedings and its difficult to achieve an air of normality. But Domaine Marey’s wine and chevreuil pâté are a treat and its so warm with so many bodies crammed in that the camera lens has steamed up anyway!
Its a brief stay as I must get to the church of St Andoche in Echevronne before the crowds in order to see Father Jean-Paul who has a seat set aside for me.
In front of the altar is the Christmas crib still and in front of that is a Burgundy basket that is being filled with bottles from the winemakers as they arrive. Something to sustain the priest through the year ahead!
The church fills as the statues are brought in and I am surrounded by winemakers squeezed into this little 12c church to celebrate the biggest day in their calendar. Not a tourist, client or importer in sight and I’m trying to make myself as small as possible ! But I don’t need to worry, they know why I am there and are happy to see me.
After mass everyone crowds into the street to greet those from the other villages so there is not much room to work and the competition from everyone with a phone camera or a point-and-shoot is intense. But its their day, not mine.
A similar crowd awaits at Domaine Rollin who will host the statue next and are providing the aperatif before the village banquet.
The next destination is the banquet at Aloxe where I am greeted enthusiastically by Mayor Maurice Chapuis and another winemaker Bruno Colin (no relation to the Colins in Chassagne and Gamay )
Soon the plates and wines are arriving but everything proceeds at a gentle pace and the time flies past with songs that might just be occasionally bawdy followed by stand up comedy by the Mayor’s wife . How I wish my French was better !
Its been a privilege to be there. Burgundy never ceases to provide new experiences.
Time for a lie down before seeing what is going on at Domaine Maratray-Dureuil, new guardians of Ladoix’s statue
Its a younger and boisterous crowd here but then they have already done a few hours celebrating and look as if they are ready to start all over again!
Trouble is I could not force down another mouthful and I settle for Evian after the Ladoix blanc that greets me.
Without eating and drinking its difficult to join in so I shoot what I want and leave everyone to let their hair down in privacy. Its been a long day…