A walk in the vineyards of Chignin

walk in the vineyards

Mont Granier seen from the Chignin vineyards

The weather was bright and warm, the vines were budding, the views were magnificent and, of course, the wines were delicious! We had been invited to Savoie to learn more about the walk in the vineyards of Chignin, La Balade Gourmande de Chignin, which will be held over the weekend of 23rd and 24th July 2016.

Three years ago, on a glorious sunny day, we enjoyed the Balade Gourmande in Abymes on the other side of the valley in the lee of Mont Granier.

walk in the vineyardsSt-Anselme tower, one of several ruined towers which are a dramatic feature in the Chignin vineyards

Walk in the vineyardsAnother tower and a handsome house in the vineyards with a backdrop of the  Belledonne mountain range in the south west. In July the vineyards will be verdant green but there may just be some snow on the mountain tops in the distance.

Now in its eighth year this event has always been popular and this year will be held over two days. Each day there will be an eight kilometre walk in the vineyards, punctuated by stops where the hikers can enjoy the local wine as well as Savoie food. It is a lovely way to explore wine country and get the feel of a particular region.

Walk in the vineyardsThe Saturday will be a lower key occasion with simpler food on offer at three stages, whereas on Sunday there will be six stops where more gourmet-style dishes will be accompanied by matching Chignin wines.

Prices: Saturday €25 per person; Sunday €45 per person; on both days €10 for children under 10.

You can learn more on the Balade Gourmande de Chignin Facebook page. You can buy tickets for your walk in the vineyards from 20th May.

Here are my photos of an early spring day in Chignin.

Walk in the vineyardsLooking north west from the Chignin vineyards

The local vignerons will be on hand to pour their wines…

Learn more about the Savoie wine region and its wine styles.
The star wine of Chignin is Chignin-Bergeron:
Using the local synonym Bergeron (interestingly, a variety of apricot particularly grown in the Rhône valley) Roussanne is planted in Savoie only in Chignin and neighbouring communes and in a few IGP (Vin de Pays) areas. Chignin-Bergeron is a cru in its own right and the wines are always 100% Roussanne. When planted on sunny south-facing rocky slopes it produces very ripe grapes and chaptalization is rarely required; there is usually somewhat more acidity than found in the Rhône, but with similar yellow fruit flavours.

Walk in the vineyardsThank you to our hosts Michel Quenard, président du Syndicat des Vins de Savoie, Charles-Henri Gayet, président du Comité Interprofessionnel des Vins de Savoie and their hard working Savoyard colleagues!

 

The Wines of India

Wines of IndiaOn 19th April there was an interesting event at Vintners Hall, London –  a tasting of Indian wines, celebrating the book launch of The Wines of India, a Concise Guide, written by Peter Csizmadia-Honigh MW, winner of the 2014 Geoffrey Roberts Award.

The Geoffrey Roberts Award is an international wine-related bursary of £4,000, given each year to someone who can demonstrate to the judging panel a genuine commitment to New World wines. Peter Csizmadia-Honigh was a worthy winner of the award in 2014, enabling him to publish this interesting book about a country that has started to produce wine as recently as the early 1980s.

Named ‘A Concise Guide’, it is actually a lengthy, but worthy tome, of 452 pages which starts with detailed information about the history of contemporary Indian wine, subtropical winegrowing, grape varieties and wine styles. Modern winemaking began with Indians who had enjoyed wine on their travels abroad, in particular successful entrepreneurs and businessmen. There were already established vineyards in India, but for table grapes, so some realised growing grapes for wine wouldn’t present a problem. Continue reading

Tragedy on the Fourth Plinth

Tragedy on the Fourth PlinthIn 2009 I was lucky to be selected to stand on the Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square in the heart of London as one of 2,400 participants representing every region of the UK who spent an hour alone on the empty plinth in Trafalgar Square during the 100 days and nights of the live artwork by sculptor Antony Gormley, One & Other.

It gave me the opportunity to talk about two things close to my heart: raising awareness of prostate cancer and the enjoyment of wine. I was even more excited when the Prostate UK charity suggested I wear gold pants and gold cape – just the garb to brighten up an early autumn evening up high in the heart of London…
A few years have passed since then until One and Another Beast took the stand, encouraging a selection of animals to stand on the Fourth Plinth.

Unfortunately the tragedy on the Fourth Plinth happened when the Horse replaced the Lion, who took umbrage and allowed no-one to approach the installation, not even to feed the poor beast.

This is the sad result of this unfortunate event:

Tragedy on the Fourth PlinthAt least the brave horse is still standing…

Albion Wine

albion wineFortunately my flight from Geneva was on time and I could use my Oyster card for the speedy train journey to the dramatic new Blackfriars station spanning the River Thames, arriving in good time for an evening of good cheer and Albion wine. Continue reading

The Wine Citizens

Wine CitizensLast month we attended the 20th Percée du Vin Jaune in the Jura. Amongst our group were The Wine Citizens, a young couple who have just embarked on a three year odyssey to travel the world to discover and learn all about wine.

Wine Citizens Continue reading