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Day 3 Sailing the Rhone with Natalie.

Day 3

So today I am very excited, last night around 23:30 we arrived in Belleville which is on the Saone river and it means that today we are going to tour the Beaujolais Wine region 🙂

After another filling breakfast, we set off by coach at 09:00 for our Beaujolais excursion. We had a local guide who was very informative, knowledgeable and was as excited as we were to learn more about the regional wines and producing. Our careful driver navigated the winding country roads where the scenery and views were just outstanding. There were miles of lush green rolling hillsides, we travelled through small villages that looked like they were taken from a film set. We were enroute to a small medieval town – Oingt which is 30kms from Lyon and perched on a hill surrounded by the Beaujolais vineyards. It is the only village in the county to be awarded the French accolade ‘Most Beautiful Village’. It took us around 50 minutes to get there and it was well worth the journey…..The village was simply stunning. As you walk into the village you go through an arch and it feels like you are stepping back in time. All of the streets are narrow and cobbled, in the heart of the village, ocre yellow facades houses are homes to craftsmen and artist (photo attached) – what an amazing place to live! We wondered through the streets making our way up a hill to be welcomed by a stunning view of the Beaujolais region (photo attached). We were able to enter the ancient chapel of the castle before having some free time to enjoy the sights and look at the unique shops the village had to offer.

We travelled round to the other side of the hills and made our way onto our next stop……..wine tasting. We were greeted by a wonderful gentleman (Jean Jacques) who took us on a tour of the winery and estate that has been in the family for 16 generations! As we were guided through to the wine cellar where the magic happens, there were examples of how the family business has changed over the years. There were photos displayed alongside equipment that was used decades ago. It really is amazing to see how well preserved the gadgets and tools that were used prior to the modern day. After having the tour it was time to learn how to taste the wine and to understand exactly what you should look for when tasting a wine. Jean Jacques was a complete expert and it was an honour to listen and learn from someone so passionate. (photo attached) So how do you taste a wine……..

You start by looking at the colour – a shiny clear wine is what you are looking for, a sheet of white paper always helps to see the true colour
You then tilt the glass for the first smell
You then swirl the glass for a minimum of 15 seconds to open the wine and let the air in
You then tilt and have the second smell – by now the wine may have changed from the first smell
You then get to put your hard work into tasting the wine……you should keep in your mouth for a few seconds and take a breath
If the taste is with you after 5 seconds of swallowing……you have a good wine

A white chardonnay, a young red and a full bodied red wine later it was time to leave Jean Jacques and make our journey back to the ship. Lunch was served in perfect timing as we arrived back at the ship. Again I chose the lighter option in the main lounge, chicken wraps and a delicious salad.

At 15:00 we were presented with a talk and demonstration on Silk painting and printing by a local producer in the main lounge. It was great to learn more about the historic industry that made Lyon famous throughout Europe. From 16:00 – 17:00 afternoon tea was served and I really did try to resist but was drawn in by the stunning cakes so perfectly presented in the main lounge, note to self – must get to the gym at some point 🙂

At 18:45 John our Cruise Manager gave a talk on what to expect for our next port of call – Vienne. John gave us a great overview of the excursion and advised that the weather is due to get warmer and the sun will be shining! We whisked ourselves down to dinner for yet another superb meal onboard (menu attached). Complete compliments to the chef and the team, I really don’t know how they manage to pull off the 5* service and serve such incredible cuisine time and time again.

Fun and games in the lounge tonight, John hosted a music quiz (photo attached)…..I do enjoy a quiz – it tends to bring out the competitive side of me! We gathered in teams of 6 and had a wonderful fun evening guessing music composers, films and songs. Unfortunately for me I didn’t win the quiz, I came close and missed it by a point! The winning team were awarded champagne. At 22:30, for anyone that could squeeze in anymore food before bed the late night snacks were available…..a wide selection of cold meats and delicacies. I had no room left at all so made my way back to the cabin ready for another peaceful nights sleep onboard…..

To be continued…..




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