An education in Pouilly Fuissé, a white Burgundy wine and much more...
Quick View - A Weekend in Beaujolais
Enjoy a weekend in Beaujolais and find yourself surrounded by rolling hills, grape vines as far as the eye can see, pastel stone houses with pantile roofs all within about one hour and 40 minutes of the Haute Savoie and Geneva. The contrast in the countryside is astounding, considering this is so close to the alpine mountainous region of the Haute Savoie. I had the sense I was delving deeper into the heart of real France, into one of the most important wine regions and one of the main things that France is known for. Beaujolais makes up part of the Grand Bourgogne region and how lucky am I to find this wonderful wine region practically on my doorstep!
This was my second visit to this gorgeous region of France and our first stop was a great lunch at the Bistro – Table à Josephine in the delightful village of Saint-Amour-Bellevue. This village boasts the Michelin Starred restaurant, 14 Février which has 2 Michelin stars and is the creation of Les Toques Blanches Lyonnaise chef Masafumi Hamano who originates from Fukuoka, Japan. The Auberge du Paradis restaurant features in the Michelin Guide and has rooms and a gite. The bistro Table à Josephine is next door and part of the Auberge du Paradis too.
Table à Josephine Saint Amour Bellevue
The village of Saint Amour Bellevue is a pretty village in the heart of Beaujolais in the Saone et Loire department. The village of Solutré Pouilly is 6km and Macon is 10km.
I loved the décor at the bistro, with great original funky features including the cork studded ceiling. We sat in the sheltered courtyard and enjoyed a delicious lunch with a lyonnaise influence. The menu offered a few choices and a dish of the day and everything was freshly prepared in the kitchens. The wine menu offering local wines was extensive.
Next Stop Solutré Pouilly
Next stop on our weekend trip to Beaujolais… check in at La Courtille de Solutré. 6km from Saint Amour Bellevue is Solutré Pouilly the centre of Pouilly Fuissé, the home of the Roche de Solutré and the great little ‘restaurant with rooms’ La Courtille de Solutré. I stayed here once before about 5 years ago and still remembered the wonderful dinner I enjoyed on the terrace, so was delighted to be able to go back and share this experience with friends. La Courtille de Solutré has 6 ensuite rooms all with different décor and colour schemes including retro features and various antiques. The rooms have views over the landscape, grape vines, the village and the church opposite (and no the church bells will not wake you up in the morning!)
Pouilly Fuissé Wine Tasting
After having checked in we wandered up to L’Atrium just a few steps from La Courtille for a wine tasting and discovery of the different tastes of the five Pouilly Fuissé wines which come from Solutré Pouilly and 4 other villages within a few kilometres. Pouilly Fuissé is actually a white Burgundy wine made from 100% chardonnay grapes from the Maconnais region of Burgundy. Wines from the Appellation Pouilly Fuisse cannot be bottled before February following the year of harvest and the premier cru cannot be bottled before July following the harvest. The five villages that make up the Appellation Pouilly Fuissé are (from North to South) Vergisson, Solutre, Pouilly, Fuissé and Chaintré and even though these villages are very closer together, the wines that are produced in each village are surprisingly different. This is due to the location, the soil and sunlight.
During the wine tasting and very interesting education about these fine wines we tasted the wine chosen by L’Atrium from each village and then a 6th Premier Cru wine which was chosen and voted for from the best Premier Crus from the 5 villages.
- Vergisson – In this village the grapes are grown on ancient clay soil and the wine is matured in oak barrels for around a year. We tasted a 2020 vintage and this wine was light and velvety.
- Solutré – This was also a 2020 wine we tasted. Grown on a very limestone soil. The wine had a more minerally flavour with citrus notes was soft with a good flavour.
- Pouilly – In Pouilly the grapes are grown on different soils, a clay but limestone dominates giving a smooth, plum and delicate flavour.
- Fuissé – This mid 2020 wine had been aged for a year and had little hints of spice like white pepper and tasted lighter. The vines are grown on soft clay and limestone.
- Chaintré – The Pouilly Fuisse wine from Chaintré we tasted was a 2019. The vines are on a clay soil and this wine was aged for 6 months in an oak barrel. The wine flavours were a light floral and honeysuckle with a slight acid after taste
- Éclat de Roches – This was L’Atrium chosen premier cru from Pouilly – It was chosen from all the Premier crus from all 5 of the villages. This Pouilly Fuisse had been aged around 14 months. The grapes grown on challoux/marl -which is a mixture of limestone and clay. This wine was very good and smooth with no acid after taste. There were honey and apricot flavours and I could taste it was a higher quality wine.
La Courtille de Solutré for apero and dinner!
Back to The Courtille de Solutre just in time for an apero and dinner!
This is a gorgeous small family run boutique hotel or could be described as a delicious restaurant with rooms. Set in the centre of the wonderful village of Solutre Pouilly.
Dinner on the terrace at Courtille de Solutre – we enjoyed a really good dinner. Below is a selection of what we ate, as you can see, beautifully presented and all delicious.
Sunday morning visit to La Roche de Solutré
Solutre is home to the famous Le Roche de Solutre, which stands at 495 metres in the centre of a “Grand Site of France”. Francois Mitterrand (President of France from 1981 – 1995) used to climb this rock every year on the Monday of Pentecost until towards the end of his life.
Wine Tasting at La Robe Rouge Villié Morgon
By Michel Guignier and family
Next stop – a tasting of the Beaujolais wines of Michel Guignier at the cave of La Robe Rouge.
Michel Guignier has been here for more than 30 years and comes from 4 generations of vignerons. His son Thomas is the chef de cuisine at La Robe Rouge and his daughter Pernelle runs the restaurant.
The cave is an ancient four à Chaux (lime kiln) Michel Guignier selects all of the wines at La Robe Rouge, from his own production but also a selection of wines from other regions that demonstrate their terroir, most of the selected wines are certified Organic Agriculture.
Michel Guignier stated “I work my vines in organic culture by choice and personal conviction. My wish is to offer you a natural wine without chemicals.
In this aspiration inspired by Biodynamics I have come into contact with a new sensitivity to the life of the soil of the vine and the wine and thus to rediscover the nobility of my profession.”
We tasted 5 wines
- A 2019 Beaujolais Blanc – Chardonnay grape grown uniquely on limestone/chalk. A fresh and fruity wine giving notes of pear and blossom.
- Chiroubles – 100% Gamay grape. A 2018 wine that had not been aged in barrels. This is a fairly dry light but elegant red wine
- A 2019 Fleurie – that had been aged for 4 months in barrels. This is one of the better known Beaujolais wines made from 100% Gamay grapes – sometimes known as The Queen of Beaujolais. A light, silky red wine with aromas of blueberries and red fruits.
- Régnie – a red wine from Gamay – this is a delicate light red wine – the vines are grown in granite. We tasted a young 2021 wine that had been aged for ¾ months.
- A 2021 Morgon – The signature wine of Michel Guignier. This wine can be drunk now or kept for around 8 years. Morgon is the largest of the Beaujolais Crus. This is a more full bodied Beaujolais with aromas of cherry and kirsch.
Time for lunch at La Robe Rouge in Villié Morgon
As it was a glorious day, our table was outside on the covered terrace overlooking the vines. We chose the 3-course inspiration du Chef menu. Our main dish was not quite what we expected, paupiette de veau, I was expecting a rolled escalope of veal, but then we were quite close to Lyon where the use of offal is prolific. This was our error! There was an a la carte menu with a good choice of dishes too. We enjoyed good service and there was a convivial atmosphere on the terrace.
This rounded off a great weekend in Beaujolais, tasting good wines, eating delicious food and enjoying the wonderful scenery. There are still many places to see in this region and different wines to taste! So until next time…
À bientôt Beaujolais