A year on the Hill of Corton

In Don McCullin’s footsteps

October last year brought the weekend of Paulée de Chalon-sur-Saône with its vignerons’ parade, the big dinner, the exhibition of photos from my Chalonnaise book in the city’s streets and the opportunity for me and Emmanuel Mere and to play authors signing books. You never know what that will throw up. Well it was more of throwing down than up !

Friday evening’s tastings in Rue Luxembourg went well. I had brought my wife and daughter to enjoy the weekend’s fun and games and it was a great opportunity for them to meet some of the Chalonnaise’s finest. Vignerons not gendarmerie I hasten to add. Sadly the next day dawned damp and just got wetter. Not a book-buying morning and hardly an afternoon to parade through the old town following banners. But it takes more than rain to dampen spirits in Chalon-sur Saône. You’d have to go a long way to find more wet people smiling ! Sadly it was a problematic afternoon for the French TV crew filming for a popular travel programme. The Paulée itself was splendid and we were pleased to be sharing top table with Mr Gilles Platret, the mayor and a party of visitors from the Jura.

Friday and the powers that be in the Chalonnaise vineyards gather for a quick one before the official start of the weekend’s celebrations
No not posed, just lucky ! I found them the year later at the same event to get permission.
A little street entertainment !
Saturday afternoon. The guys from Montagny are glad of their cloaks this year, but are still smiling in true Chalonnais style !
The music goes on.
Rain, camera, action !
Lucky brass does not rust !
Huntsman are always part of the scene here, even in St Vincent’s Cathedral
“A table” at the Paulée
The brilliant winemakers’ choir making their TV debut at the Paulée .

Home 24 hours and then off to Argentina ! Arrive Tuesday, leave Thursday was the plan…… Visiting Catena Zapata I was hoping to get a portrait of the boss Laura Catena but sadly she was elsewhere. Never mind, I got to stay a couple of nights in Mendoza and pick up a Messi football shirt for my grandson as well as enjoying roaming the town for a couple of evenings. I wonder what its like in daylight ! I left before dawn and did not leave the vineyards until sunset.

You get great hospitality in South America and very well looked after.

“Another coffee, Jon ?”

The winery view west.
And find Don McCullen has been here too !
Pretty strong light but little on the vines…
Hitting the road to the Adrianna vineyard at election time.
A hole in the ground, one thing it is good to shoot when the sun is high !
Have a cup of mate while you wait.
Back to cellar.
Back in Mendoza the big match is on tonight, but I’ll be asleep ! Another early morning awaits.
Perhaps another time….
But first supper in the street. Wherever it was and whatever I ate and drank, I went back for more the next day !

Sweeping Mendoza streets with a palm leaf.
Another early morning at the Pyramid

After another good morning I was off at 11am to Weinert in Mendoza for a quick portrait en route for the airport and home.

HubertWeber and boss Iduna Weinert and, yes that says 2004 !
Any way you look at it, I have a long wait.

Iduna kindly dropped me at the Mendoza airport in time to do some lunch…

Yes a freelance does exist but it comes at a price – and its not worth it !
If there’s nowhere to sit in the airport, try the chapel…
The Latam team that found me my hotel !

It came courtesy of LATAM as my flight home had not only been delayed but rerouted. There were problems at Santiago where my flight was starting due to riots. So after a long wait we were flown to Chile for the night to catch a direct BA flight the next morning. So a safe bed at the Holiday Inn.. ( 2 king size doubles actually ) over the road from the airport, ( “don’t worry sir, you are perfectly safe, the army have surrounded the hotel and the CIA are on the floor above…… oh, and the restaurant closes in 30 minutes….” )

No football on the restaurant TV, just riots
Another “free meal” but not the beer that was oh so needed !

The problem was they gave you $30 US and the menu was in Chilean $ pesos… That lead to a slight “discussion” in the morning !

I do wish I’d bought some at Santiago airport as a souvenir of a surreal journey home !

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