Drinking in Lyon: Bugey Pinot Noir and Jura Chardonnay

This Monday finds us 126 days deep into our EU Austerity Drinking Tour: our post-WSET Advanced attempt to (cheaply) drink our way through Europe’s great vineyards, breweries and distilleries.

Last Monday’s post visited Lyon’s Roman ruins, a Crozes-Hermitage under $10, and big, pretty churches.  Today, we wake to omelets and cappuccino in our home stay.  The Metro then slingshots us to the Lumiere estate.  Apartments have mostly replaced their photo factory, but one vestige remains:

Lumiere HangarAuguste and Louis shot 46 seconds of their workers walking out of this hanger on March 19, 1895.  Thus, the first commercial film began with labor leaving for its evening of freedom.

Next door, the Lumiere brothers lived in a splendid, Art Nouveau mansion (with their wives…awkward?).

Lumiere estate lightWe tour it .  The audio guide just translates placards (total ripoff!).  After two hours of rooms, films, and historic cameras, we walk home exhausted.

T and A Lumiere First CameraLuckily, we buy pastries, make pasta, and find this:

Duport Bugey Pinot NoirNow Bugey is not at the top of any wine list (except maybe in Bugey), but that’s why we travel.  Just East of Lyon, before Geneva, Switzerland are wedge valleys hung with vineyards gasping for sun.

Bugey Wine RegionsYves Duport, makes “Bugey Tradition” from Pinot Noir.  This 2010 costs a mere € 8.20.  So how does this daily red of central, eastern France fair?

Appearance: Like most pinot, it looks a pale ruby, purple with a fading clear rim. Aromas: Young, mild hintings of candied raspberry and green tea seem, well, a bit hidden. Palate: it feels dry, snapping with acidity, mellowed by supple medium tannins, medium 12% alcohol, and a surprisingly fullish, round body. Flavors: like the body, extra flavors of raspberry tart, crust and all, a slight clove, bell pepper, finish in an array of minerals that last for a medium plus length.

Duport’s Bugey Tradition 2010 Pinot is unexpectedly round, ripe, yet bright.  It recalls Alsatian pinot noir.  If the only the aromas were more persuasive and complex. Still, for under 10 EU this is Good (3 of 5).

We sleep until 10:30.

Lyon StreetA lazy climb takes us to Lyon’s silk merchants.  We learn all we care to know about silk (mainly that the silk moth is the most adorable bug on earth):

Lyon Silk MothWe miss the silk tour (damn!) and instead grab a fabulous lunch at an ancient bakery which we take to a nearby park bench.

T and bread pizza lyon(No, I don’t carry a cardboard-cutout Tracy for all my photos…she just likes adorable moths and pastries).

We then find Lyon’s Colosseum, from which one can see their cropped Eiffel Tower, Basilica, and even the Alps beyond:

A Lyon AmpitheaterOver-cultured, we Metro to the Botanical Gardens and Zoo, which, thanks to winter and socialism, are free:

Lyon Lion(Yes, a lion in Lyon, a very lazy, French lion at that).  After shopping at a Christmas store, we find an all natural grocery and come home with organic pumpkin seeds and this:

Domaine Pignier Cellier de Lacuzon ChardonnayThese not only organic but biodynamic Chardonnay grapes grow just North of yesterday’s Bugey, in the Côtes du Jura: a region famed for cold climate, wild wines, that often see extended cellaring.

Somehow, Domaine Pignier, Cellier de Lacuzon grew this 2008 Chardonnay, aged it, and only charges €8.30. But is it junk?

Appearance:  Glasses fill gold that shows a slight bubble. Aromas: Young, medium intense roasted nuts, tart golden apple, and honey make for a butter-less chardonnay. Palate: It feels dry, with racy, extra acidity, medium alcohol (13%), and a normal body. Flavors: delicious, golden apple, a typical, not overdone oxidized nutty almond, hazelnut core, lime, chalk, and salt finish make for a lengthy, very good white (4 of 5 points).  Honestly delightful, mouthwatering wine.

We crash. Sprawling, grey, urban, modern Lyon was good to us.  Tomorrow bags will pack for Beaune in the heart of Burgundy.  Check back next Monday for that! Until then, be still my heart.


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2 Responses to Drinking in Lyon: Bugey Pinot Noir and Jura Chardonnay

  1. sand110 says:

    That comes off as one interesting Chardonnay for one who dislikes most, Now I understand that the silk moth is the basis for many Japanese anime characters.

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