Vacations that Broaden our Horizons Part 2

After Paris we reserved a space on another train to take us to the capital of Burgundy, Dijon. Over the course of my short life, the Burgundy region of France was another must see to check off the bucket list. You see, in my humble opinion, the Burgundian wines are some of the most delicious in the entire world. Primarily I’m talking about Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.

Well, we arrived and had lunch at this wonderful French restaurant, Brasserie Des Beaux- Arts. The lentil stew with bacon, cheddar cheese and fresh herbs was fantastic served with an AOC Rhone wine, Chateauneuf -du- Pape. This rich Rhone wine is made with Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvedre.

After lunch it was off to our hotel, Hostellerie du Chapeau Rouge. Located in the heart of Dijon, close to statues, fountains, and ornate stone buildings, this was the perfect location. That night we went to the Darcy Hotel and had a very special dinner which included for me, escargot. Nancy was a little put off by the snails being so close to her on our dinner table, but she quickly forgot about that after the second glass of wine. Nancy had the best steak I’ve tasted in years cooked a perfect medium rare.

The next day would be one of the highlights of the trip, a tour through the Burgundy region of France. This, as I mentioned was on my bucket list. The tour started near the square in Dijon. Driving past the legendary vineyards of Gevrey Chambertin, Clos de Beze, La Tache, Batard Montrachet, and Nuit Saint George really put my vision of what this would look like to the substance of actually being there.

In the early 70’s my first introduction to Burgundian wines was a taste of Chateau Corton. I fell in love with Burgundian wine from that first sip. That is when I declared my allegiance to the Burgundy region of France.

As fate would have it, this would be the first vineyard we went to. We tasted the 2018 Corton estate wines. This was epic as 2018 is going to be (based upon weather and yield), one of the vintages of the century.

We then experienced a wonderful lunch in Beaune. Beaune is a walled town at the center of Burgundy surrounded by the Cote ‘d’Or, famous for its pinot noir. After lunch and a bottle of 2020 Gevrey Chambertin we went to a tasting room that also acted as a facilitator for the most famous wines of the region. 

In an adjoining room to the tasting room were the fermentation tanks of some of the world famous pinot noirs. I spotted a steel fermentation tank holding what we had just enjoyed, only a later vintage of Gevrey Chambertin.  There was a hose attached leading down to a century old cellar that housed 60 gallon barrels of this wonderful wine. We witnessed the topping off of the barrels containing this luscious wine. This was certainly a fantastic view into another aspect of the wine making process. 

After our all day tour we had an excellent dinner in the square of Dijon. Next I rented a car and Nancy and I were off to our first of three stops in Switzerland. Our destination in Switzerland was Nyon.

Nyon is a town I hadn’t heard any of my friends venturing to. The quaint little town is located on the Switzerland side of Lake Geneva. I secured a reservation at the Ambassador Hotel which is located near the center of the village of Nyon.

We had a nice leisurely drive to a small diner located on the outskirts of Nyon. The diner/Pizzeria/Grill called “Le Col” was a combination of Bar, Restaurant, and Brasserie. We had to try the Fondue as that was one of the most famous dishes in Switzerland. They used a Fontina cheese with sourdough bread, vegetables, and dried cured meats. Of course I had to order a bottle of Sancerre (a sauvignon blanc) to compliment the flavors of this wonderful cheese entree.

When we arrived it was pouring rain and there was only one other table occupied in the restaurant. This always makes you a little nervous, however we did arrive early, around 11am. We were seated in a timely fashion and served quite promptly. The servers did not speak very much English but certainly more than the French or German I spoke. Amazingly they got the order correct.

Soon after we began eating the restaurant filled up with local patrons and workers enjoying their lunch break at apparently the best restaurant in town. We could confirm that both the service and food were exceptional. This was the perfect culinary introduction to Switzerland.

Navigating the many roundabouts and the 42 letters in every sign we managed to find our hotel. The concierge/ manager was quite helpful and accommodating. I had requested a view with a balcony and he gave us one of the best rooms in the hotel, room 318. I was blown away by the view!

The famous castle of Nyon on the right, Lake Geneva straight ahead, and the village of Yvoire in the background. This was a breathtaking introduction to Switzerland. I thanked the manager profusely for giving us such a beautiful room for our anniversary.

We unpacked, bundled up, and drank a bottle of Meursault on the balcony, literally drinking in the panoramic view. That night we had an amazing dinner at the “Clef D’ Or” restaurant in the town of Bursinel located about thirty minutes from Nyon.

The menu was a hunting menu which reflected some unusual choices. I had the Sweet Breads (a gland in a cows throat) which were like the most delicate veal you’ve ever tasted. Nancy had the chicken supreme which was equally well prepared. We enjoyed a bottle of Croze Hermitage 2016 with the primary varietal being Syrah. Delicious!

The next day we were off to the village of Yvoire which I had discovered in my research. This was a little village across Lake Geneva in France. We boarded the ferry boat and were treated to a spectacular view as we were launched to our destination and the cove of Yvoire.

The village of Yvoire is considered one of the most beautiful villages in all of France. Most of the buildings are made of stone dating back to the 1500’s. The three hundred inhabitants are blessed to live in this village with most of the buildings encased in different varieties of beautiful flowers. Restaurants, pubs, gift shops, and residences dot the landscape.

We had lunch at La Creperie d’Yvoire. This was the best Crepe experience Nancy and I ever had. We had a spinach, Gruyere cheese, mushrooms, and a very light beurre blanc sauce that finished the dish perfectly. I had a Stella beer and Nancy had a chardonnay. After spending the afternoon in Yvoire we ventured back to the ferry and then to our room.

That night I drove to the town of Geneva (in a driving rain storm) for dinner at the Hotel d’Angleterre, a five star hotel. Our dinner reservation was at their flagship restaurant,  “Windows”. Suffice it to say… don’t always believe the hype. The dinner sucked!

Anyway, next stop Luzern.