Our Barge, Odysseus

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Auxerre to Clamecy July 23-27

Our first stop out of Auxerre was the village of Bailly. What nice people! They helpfully put their tieup spot directly below the 10 acres of the Bailly Lapierre Wine Cellars where they give guided tours and tastings! The cellars are the home of about 70 winemakers responsible for "Cremant de Bourgogne," the burgundian sparkling wine. Made by blending pinot noir, gamay, chardonnay and aligote grapes, the wine is made using the "methode champenoise," where the fermentation creating the bubbles takes place in the bottles. The rules for producing the wine are very strict The grapes must be harvested by hand and transported in open crates. No more than 100 litres of juice can be extracted from 150 kilos of grapes. The juice is then stored in giant stainless steel tanks to make the "still" wines that will be blended into the cremant. After filtering and bottling, a temporary cap is placed on the bottle and its laid to rest for between 18 and 24 months. The bottles are then put on revolving racks that turn the bottle 1/8 turn every 6 hours while progressively tilting the bottle to move the sediment into the temporary cap. After freezing the neck of the bottle, the cap with the sediment is removed, the "dosage" is added to create the type of cremant (dry, brut, etc.), the bottle is corked, labeled and ready for sale.
We took the tour through the 7 million bottles stored in the cellar but the vastness of the old quarry sucks up the light from the flash. I did get some shots to come out.

Tough job moving these racks around with a fork lift all day. No tasting!

Half-bottles almost ready for a store near you!

We sat through some really loud thunderstorms late that afternoon and evening but we were off the next morning for the village of Accolay.


joanne said...

So, where are you headed? Southeast, south or southwest? Do you have a masterplan or pick and choose along the way?

I'm enjoying following you on the map. Sounds like you've had some nice times.


Don and Cathy Jo said...

We'll be headed south until we get to Digoin and then back northeast to end up near the village of St. Jean de Losne in Burgundy. To follow along on your map of the French canals that's down the Nivernais Canal to the Canal Lateral de la Loire, the Canal du Centre and the Saone River.

We're having a great year!