Grape Rentals

The Grape News

Volume II – Late Winter 1999 – Mar 1, 1999

Dear all,

This is the second installment of our newsletter for La Maison des Deux Clochers. I think we can consider the first edition a success judging from all the positive feedback we have had. Without further ado, here are the latest scoops from France.

  1. Guided Bike Tours
  2. For those of you who are interested in some guidance as far as biking goes, we have been put in contact with Claude Lahoussine, who runs his own company as a bike guide. We met with Claude and we were very impressed. Not only is he very personable, but he has all the required state qualifications and then some (including First Aid, CPR, etc.). To top it off, he is also the world record-holder for the 3X8 hour triathlon (8 hours of swimming, 8 hours of running, 8 hours of cycling…..gasp!).

    We have asked Claude to put together two day-long bike trips for interested guests - one in the Côte de Beaune and one in the Côte de Nuits. Both trips will include a restaurant stop for lunch, and a winetasting at a local vinters. Claude has very good connections with several winemakers, and so has somewhat privileged access to places you may not have the possibility to winetaste at otherwise. He also has a van and can provide bikes…so can pick you up to take you to the starting point and then drop you off at the end of the day. I found his prices extremely reasonable at about an estimated 200 FF per person for the day (excluding the price of the restaurant and winetasting, but including the supply of bikes, and van pick-up and drop-off). However, the price goes up a bit on weekends. If you are interested in a different route - Claude is open to suggestions and can create an outing tailored to where you want to go. However, the three of us thought that the two routes proposed below would be a great introduction to the area.

    • Côte de Nuits (35 km)
    • Vosne Romanée - Vougeot - visit of Chateau de Clos Vougeot - Chambolle Musigny - Morey St Denis - Gevrey Chambertin - Brochon - Fixin (winetasting in Fixin) - Nuits St Georges.

      2 restaurant possibilities: rustic Burgundian restaurant or more expensive, higher end restaurant in Gevrey Chambertin.

      This route is almost exclusively on calm vineyard roads and passes through some of the most prestigious crus in the world (i.e.Romanée-Conti, Clos de la Tache, etc.)

    • Côte de Beaune (33 km but a bit hillier than Côte de Nuits - possibility of shortening to 22 km)
    • Montagne de Beaune - Pommard - Montagne St-Desire - Montagne de La Chaume - Meloisey - Nantoux - Bouze les Beaune

      Possible lunch stop at a winemakers for winetasting and rustic regional meal.

      This route allows you to discover prestigious vineyards, as well as the beautiful backcountry behind the vineyards. Again, you would only be riding on calm country roads.

    I was a tad intimidated at Claude's sporty background, but he assured me that the large majority of his clients aren't triatheletes, but are just normal travellers who want to get a taste of leisurely biking in the region. We thought a guided day or two may be a nice compliment to renting bikes and exploring independently. We will leave Claude's brochures and details of the proposed routes at the for anyone who is interested in making a reservation for a day or two. However, he is very busy and his calendar is likely to fill up quickly, so if you want to be sure to secure a particular date, it would be preferable to make reservations ASAP. If you email me I can supply you with the necessary info to do so. Claude prefers weekdays (excluding Wednesdays), as weekends are his busiest time and his price goes up accordingly. Franck and I are going for a test ride of one of the routes with Claude soon, so I will have an update with more details in the next newsletter. In the meantime, we would be very interested to hear what you think.

  3. Restaurants
  4. Franck and I have taken on a very onerous task for ourselves in the last month. We have decided to devote every Sunday to testing local restaurants so that we can leave our guests lots of ideas as to where to go. Life is so tough…..at least for our waistlines! Last Sunday we tried a hidden little restaurant called Chez Losset in the neighbouring village of Flagey-Échezeaux, about 10-15 minutes away by car - just on the other side of Nuits-Saint-Georges. We wanted to go there because we have been hearing lots of murmurings about it locally. However, we could never get the full scoop via the grapevine as people are rather discrete about their favorite spots. They still want to be able to get a table after all! The divine meal ended up surpassing all our expectations - you would never have expected it from the unassuming exterior of the restaurant. The price was incredibly reasonable for the quality of the food and wine, not to mention the gracious service. I have written up the details in the binder that I am leaving at the house - so if you want to have a really superb French meal - look up Chez Losset when you're here.

  5. Winetasting - Domaine Naudin - Ferrand
  6. Since we have moved to Magny we have taken to frequenting a local winemaker to buy most of our wine. It is just up the street from the house, hence very easy to walk up there and buy a couple of bottles to replenish our ever-depleting stock. Interestingly enough, this wine house has been getting a lot of local press lately. It is unique in that it is run by three women, extremely rare in a traditionally male-dominated industry. Franck went to school with Claire Naudin, who after completing brilliant studies at l'école viticole, went on to take over all the winemaking and vinification responsibilities from her father. Her sister Anne does all the office work and takes care of most of the winetastings, along with another female employee. Claire has gained the respect of her peers due to her expertise and professionalism, and is currently elected president of the local winemakers society. Domaine Naudin-Ferrand is favorably written up in numerous guides. Have a look for it if you are using a guide (probably classed under wines from the Hautes-Côtes). Claire's wines are always of consistent and excellent quality. If you have the chance, don't hesitate to drop by when you are staying at the house.

  7. Saint-Vincent Wine Festival
  8. In the last newsletter I mentioned that we were planning on going to the Saint Vincent wine festival in Chablis. Two of our close friends from England came and joined in the fun. We started off the day in the room with all the winemakers, hundreds of carved wooden statues of Saint Vincent that had been brought to Chablis by each participating village lined the walls and overlooked the festivities. Unlimited quantities of chilled Chablis started flowing at around 8:00 am. Hundreds and hundreds of glasses were put out on huge treacle tables - all we had to do was exchange our empty glasses for a full ones (which we did on several occasions). The village was transformed by colourful decorations. We followed the parade for most of its route - and even took part for a while walking beside Claire Naudin and Magny-les-Villers' statue of Saint Vincent!

  9. Availability
  10. Renting is still proving to be a seasonal affair. From May 1st - October 12th only two weeks in June are still available, from June 7th - June 20th. We have received many, many requests from people asking for weeks which are already booked during the May-October period. So, if you have any friends wishing to book between May and October, don't forget to remind them to book well in advance so as not to be disappointed. However, for the rest of the year there shouldn't be a problem in finding availability.

  11. Questions?
  12. Once again, Franck and I can be emailed at laura@graperentals.com or faxed at (250) 383-7500 with any queries. We would be more than happy to help you.

À Bientôt!

Laura & Franck