Last weekend I had a much needed 4 days off – so 2 weekends in 1. We get those sometimes, because we also work 7 days in a row. My friend Anniek started her weekend on my last day, so we decided to make the best of it. And what would be a better location than the Beaujolais?
We drove off, listening to Dutch music – to get in the mood. A quick stop at the supermarket for some goodies for our lunch and off we went. We didn’t take the highway, to enjoy the surroundings. Some cute villages and plain landscapes later, we finally got there: Anniek saw her first real vineyards!
And they were beautiful. In the late summer sun, fully grown. An amazing, clear green color. When you had the chance to look closer, you could see big bunches of grapes hanging.
It was around lunchtime, so we had to look for a nice lunch spot. The Beaujolais doesn’t seem fully equiped for tourists yet. You just have to know where to go for the best views and spots to sit down. I don’t really know them yet either, so I thought it was a good idea to have our lunch at the top of the mountain ‘Mont Brouilly’. I’m still not used to driving in the mountains, I was pretty scared when driving the small road, with vineyards on one hand, and the steep hill on the other side. Fortunately nobody came from the other side, because I would seriously not know what to do!
While heading to the top, all of a sudden we saw an amazing spot. A plateau made from wood, with a perfect view over the vineyards. We stopped immediately and unloaded our lunch supplies. There was a big pic-nic table, but there was a fence blocking the view. We decided to sit down on the wood, as close as we could to the vineyards.
It was amazing! With the perfect blue sky, the Sun, great temperatures and the green vineyards. And of course our lunch: a quinoa baguette, St. Felicien cheese, sundried tomato spread, houmous, cherry tomatoes and sushi with avocado. Oh yeah, we were in heaven. A bottle of wine would even have made the moment more perfect – but we planned those for later!
After the lunch and a moment of relaxation, we drove further to the top. Walked just a little, the view at our lunch spot was definitely a lot better than here. I have to remind that one!
The drive downhill went a lot easier. We stopped another time to admire the beautiful bunches of grapes hanging in the vineyards. This is the time of the year where all the winegrowers – in the Beaujolais at least – hire students and adventure seekers to harvest the grapes. It’s a spectacle every year, lots of youngsters working hard during the day and having good food and wine at night. Doesn’t sound too bad – does it?
We ended up in St. Lager, where I know this Chateau who has delicious wine. Chateau des Ravatys is only opened on weekdays, so I definitelt wanted to pay them a visit. Oh yes – the wine was good. Beaujolais wine is usually very fruity and light. I like my wine to be somewhat stronger. Ravatys has Brouilly and Côte de Brouilly, both with a fuller taste. I found my favourite right away: the Côte de Brouilly of 2011. It took us a few wines more to find something that fitted Anniek, the Brouilly of 2013. Then the owner thought it was a good idea to taste my favourite again, to be sure that I like it – of course I did. He saw another wine standing there, which he poured us just to taste a wine that has to lay in the cellar for another 5 to 10 years. Okay – enough wine tasting here! We bought a few bottles and went on with our trip.
Next stop: Beaujeu. I’ve found this village when I wanted to go wine tasting, but not buy a lot of bottles. It’s not much appreciated if you visit a wine grower, taste – or just drink – a lot of wines and then leave empty-handed. In Beaujeu there is a caveau where you pay a small price for your wine. It’s also more private, you can sit down as if you are in a bar. So the owner isn’t staring at your face to check if you like the wine he just poured you.
We started with a Cremant the Bourgogne, really my favourite wine! It’s a sparkling wine, a little similar to champagne. Not expensive and delicious. Unfortunately Anniek didn’t like it, so I had to drink hers. Since Anniek likes the fruitier wines, I recommended the rosé and white wine. During her rounds of wine, I went for grape juice. Also very good! And a better idea when you still need to drive. Anniek craved sausage, which you can order for a few euros, so I ordered a goat’s cheese to have something to eat as well. At the end we only had to pay 12,80 euros. Not much at all. So, when you want to visit the Beaujolais and taste the wines, but you aren’t able to buy bottles of wine: I would really recommend you to go here.
In the meantime I got in contact with the owners of a garage we work with, they aren’t situated far from where we were, so they invited us for a drink. A few hours later, we had to call it the day and we returned to Lyon.
Have you ever been to the Beaujolais? Please leave recommendations in the comments!