For me chateaux evokes visions of the Val de Loire-Chenonceau, Chambord and the grand crus of Bordeaux-Chateau Mouton Roschild, Chateau Haut-Brion, to name but a few.
I can now add Burgundy to the memories triggered by the word. On this trip I discovered the Chateau de Germolles and the Chateau Couches, both of which are in loving, private hands.
In 1380 the Duke of Burgundy, Philip the Bold, presented his wife Marguerite de Flandres the chateau at Germolles that she transformed into a luxurious residence to receive guests and her retinue of over 100 persons.
For the last 150 years it has been owned by the Pinette family and under the personal care and supervision of Matthieu Pinette and his colleague Christian Degrigny, it is in a constant state of restoration. The garden provides a superb summer concert venue and romantic setting for a wedding.
The initials of Philip and Marguerite on the original wall covering
And if you were wondering what went on during tghe war–carved into a chapel wall
Matthieu Pinette is one of the owners. As a curator, he has been the director of several Fine Art museums in Autun, Besançon and Amiens. A few years ago he has decided to give up his career to dedicate his time to the management and development of Château de Germolles t. Matthieu Pinette is in charge of guided tours- I found it to be superb and Matthieu extremely engaging– and is one of the lecturers during the cultural season of the château.
Christian Degrigny is a research engineer specializing in the conservation of cultural heritage. After a career that started in France but continued in Finland or Malta, he has decided to join forces with Matthieu Pinette to develop the cultural and scientific project of Château de Germolles and contribute to its daily management, including guided tours.
It was a quiet Sunday afternoon in the village of Mercurey but the dining room at the Hotellerie du Val d’Or was packed with locals, savvy eaters and the lucky few who stumbled upon this charming little 12 room inn whose exterior in no way suggested the culinary delights that awaited us.
Chef Pascal Charreyras began by awakening our taste buds with a mousse of brochet followed by a white wine variation on oeufs meuritte served with a Mercurey 1er cru rouge from La Caillout.
His next creation was a fricassé of local snails lightly redolent of garlic.
After cleansing our palates with a granité au marc de bourgogne we anxiously anticipated the main course.
La Volaille de Bresse rôtie, Espuma d’Epoisses was made for sopping with bread and the very light foam of the creamy époisses cheese from the region added just the right soupçon of salt and gave me my fromage fix.
Dessert was a soufflé glacé au Marc de Bourgogne, et son Coulis de Cassis. The final touch on a delightful meal at 48 euros including a cheese selection (wine additional.)
Le Val d’Or is just the kind of place you imagined when you fantasized about finding a warm, welcoming, romantic spot in the country at the confluence of hunger and serendipity.
140 Grande Rue, Mercurey 71640
Tel: 03 8545 1370
Patricia and Olivier went looking for a house but found the Chateau de Couches where they grow grapes and serve wine and the rich history and architectural legacy of the Bourgogne.
A diverse range of architectural styles dating from the eleventh to nineteenth centuries make a visit a rich experience.
Patricia and Olivier live on the property and continually invest in the restoration of the chateau. Guided tours, wine sales, festivals and private functions contribute to the pot.
And coming soon les chambres d’hotes!
71490 Couches, France
Tel: 03 85 45 57 99
|As featured in Travels in France with Terrance|