Burgundy is a gorgeous place. Both culture and countryside charm exist in abundance, giving tourists plenty of opportunities to take in the wine, scenery, and food. But what’s the best way to go about your Burgundy travels? According to the Seattle Times and Rick Steves’ Europe, the answer may be something as simple as a bicycle.
There is something special about cycling through the bucolic French countryside, taking in the sights at two-wheel speed instead of whizzing by in a car. You see more, smell more, experience more – and that’s exactly the point Steves is making – albeit with a definitely wine-tinged POV:
I like to cycle from domaine to domaine, sampling wines as I go. When I make my wine pilgrimage, I look for smaller, lesser-known wineries with the most passionate and personable vendors. Signs make it clear where visitors are welcome to drop in, enjoy a little tasting and pick up a bottle or two. Although you can drop in unannounced at most wineries (“comme un cheveux sur la soupe” — “like a hair on the soup”), you’ll get better service by calling ahead and letting them know you’re coming.
Worried about PWI (peddling while intoxicated)? Steves addresses that, too:
In my tasting experience, the vintner pours a small amount of wine into a glass. Before tasting, I’m told to raise my glass to the light and admire the wine’s rich color. I stick my nose in to get a sense of its bouquet, then aerate by swirling to release the undertones. I sniff again and appreciate the contrast. And then I take a sip and chew the wine to enjoy every note. Finally, the vintner instructs me to spit it out into a receptacle, because “the stomach does not taste.” If you’re envisioning a progressively more wobbly pedal, remember that the most serious wine tasters make a point to use the spittoon so they can taste all day without their judgment becoming clouded. You can do the same to ensure you stay safely on the road.
If this is enough to pique your interest – and it truly should be – you’ll want to read the rest of the piece. Steves (or his team, rather) offers up a winning itinerary plus suggestions regarding travel, accommodations, and the best places to eat. Get all the juicy details on bike-based wine travel in Burgundy over at the Seattle Times.