Festival La Saint Vincent Tournante

Festival La Saint Vincent Tournante

The festival of La Saint Vincent Tournante is an integral part of the history of Burgundy wine. Every year on the Sunday closest to January 22, St Vincent is honoured as the patron saint of vine growers and wine makers – allegedly, he received this accolade because he was tortured under a wine press. Revived in 1938 by the Confrérie des Chevaliers du Tastevin, the festival draws from a long-held tradition which harks back to medieval times, when the occasion was marked to foster the mutual collaboration and brotherhood of Burgundy’s vine growers. The festivities are held in a different community each year – hence tournante (rotating) in their title. In 2014, for the first time, the festival is being hosted by Saint-Aubin, one of the wine communes of the Côte de Beaune, situated near Montrachet and Mersault, in the heart of the Côte des Blancs.

La Saint Vincent provides the perfect chance to visit the picturesque village of Saint-Aubin, soak up a very special atmosphere and, of course, sample the six cuvées offered up for the occasion. You can’t go wrong with a day of strolling from one caveau to the next, your special souvenir glass in hand. It is a wonderful way to expand your wine knowledge and enjoy the festival atmosphere, which gets more congenial with every sip. The Saint-Aubin appellation produces Chardonnay and Pinot Noir as its main grape varieties, with a ratio of around 75 percent white wine and 25 red. It covers 170 geologically diverse hectares and can boast 30 Premiers Crus.

A solemn parade of 80 effigies opens the festival itself and this is followed by a mass and the induction of the new Chevaliers to the brotherhood. Then it all turns to wine tasting and, of course, delicious food, including an exceptional reservation-only banquet on the evening of January 25, featuring a menu created by Michelin-starred chef Jérôme Brochot. Saint-Aubin is situated just 19 kilometres from Beaune so visitors to the festival should not miss the chance to visit that exceptional town. Beaune offers historical mansions, a wine museum, medieval half-timbered houses and the Hôtel-Dieu (Beaune Hospices), which bears witness to the times when the mighty Dukedom of Burgundy reached all the way to the Netherlands.

La Saint Vincent Tournante in Saint-Aubin, January 25–26, Saint-Aubin, Côte-d’or, Burgundy. Entry: 15 euros (includes seven tastings and the festival’s souvenir wine glass). Tel: +33 3-80-26-21-30

Originally published in the December-January 2013 issue of France Today


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