• By Allen Dale "Ole" Olson   |   Friday, December 28, 2012 at 6:52 pm   |     |   Print   |   Permalink

With the approach of another year, I start planning for my annual wine pilgrimage. Today I am looking forward to the harvest in Beaujolais, where I shall spend a couple of days, starting in the village cooperative of St-Julien, housed in a desanctified parish church. There some years ago, sipping fruity, fresh village Beaujolais, the parish priest (stopping by on his way home from the new church) explained to me that Beaujolais is a gift of God that makes better all foods and can be enjoyed with just about everything — everything except water, he said. Just down the street is the birthplace of the great medical pioneer Claude Bernard, who they say, never stopped loving his beloved St-Julien.

In vain once again, I shall look for the long lost treasure of the Knights Templar, supposedly buried in the grounds of Chateau d’Arginy, and enjoy hospitality at the 105-meter-long cellar of Chateau de la Chaize, named for the family who gave Louis XIV his Confessor and for whom the famous cemetery in Paris is named. I shall call in at Chateau de Corcelles for another look at the plaster- of -paris skeletons placed in the 13th-century dungeon to amuse the tourists and to re-visit the modernized cellar to taste some of the best Beaujolais in the region.

In Romaneche-Thorins I shall stop at the house of Benoit Raclet who in the 1830s watered all his vines in 90-degree water to kill the pyralis worm before it killed his vines. It worked, and the villagers have been grateful since, turning his home into a pleasant sojurn for visitors curious about life in an early 19th century country house. Another stop is the Hameau de Beaujolais, an amusing, enjoyable, animated museum about wine production, developed by Georges Duboeuf with help from  animators from Disneyland

Yes, there’s much to do and see in the land  of Beaujolais, so we begin planning early. (There are also plans to be made for Burgundy and Alsace.)  Oh, and did I mention the wines? These wines — even the Grand Crus do not need a lot of planning. Beaujolais is reliable, predictable, delicious, and always enjoyable. While they make great companions when writing, they are doubly good when taken from the barrel in a village farm house. You will be reading a lot more about these plans.




• John Scott   |   December 29th, 2012 at 12:32 pm    


I’m sorry to post here but I just couldn’t find your email address.

I’m a NW Indiana resident and just recently returned from a visit to Missouri over Christmas and brought with me a few bottles from St. James Winery, a rather prolific Midwest winery that produces some really interesting wines.

I was told that Indiana does not allow them to ship to me directly so I went online to do a little research first. I found your advocacy group VinSense and it seems that you and others have been fighting an uphill battle to remove this legislation for years but the site appears to be down now.

Is this still something you are involved in? I’ll love to help in any way I can.



Allen Dale "Ole" Olson   |   December 30th, 2012 at 6:26 pm    


Thank you very much for wanting to join the fight against Indiana’s outdated and detrimental wine legislation, especially as it relates to direct shipping from producer to consumer. We dissolved VinSense a couple of years ago but feel we made a bit of a dent in the issue.

Because you live in NW Indiana, I suggest you get acquainted with Dan and Krista Stockman, two fine wine writers in Fort Wayne. They are as uptodate on consumer wine issues as anyone in the state. You can reach them through their website at http://www.cheerswineconsultants.com.
Rick Hofstetter, owner of the Story Inn near Nashville, is also very current on Indiana wine issues. I am spending more and more time enjoying travel and long stays outside Indiana, so am not keeping up daily with legislative action.

I like the St. James Winery and the pioneering wine work they have done in Missouri. Plus their location right at an I-40 Interchange makes for a very pleasant rest stop.

Good luck and thanks for your comment.