The Chateau de Saint-Aubin in the National Geographic road trip guide
The Château de Saint-Aubin, a building that offers the sort of intimate, rural luxury that the French do so well. By the time I leave, Pascale seems more like a friend putting me up for the weekend — albeit in luxury.
The Château de Saint-Aubin, a building that offers the sort of intimate, rural luxury that the French do so well. At the latter, hostess Pascale Rifaux shows me to my sumptuous bedroom and together we look out over the Saint-Aubin vines. “Premier Cru near the house, ordinary Villages beyond — the classifications are so much easier to explain when they’re right in front of you,” she says, handing me the keys to the swimming pool that sits between chateau and vineyard with a conspiratorial wink. The next morning, she goes early to market for my breakfast bread and croissants; by the time I leave, Pascale seems more like a friend putting me up for the weekend — albeit in luxury.
Chatting to Pascale, as she opens wines for me to taste, I realise I’ve failed to consider something important in my odyssey across Burgundy: its ordinary people. The region was never just the domain of monks, dukes and saints, as large and immortal as their stories have become. The heady tapestry of vines and churches braided across the fertile region always stood to elevate the general population, too — and, it seems, the travellers who pass through it. As I sip heavenly wine wrought from this earth, and note the passing of time by the bell clanging in Saint-Aubin’s tiny, 10th-century church, I feel that thanks are due to the land’s custodians — and perhaps a higher power.
However, it’s in the neighbouring village, ,Chassagne-Montrachet that I have a true epiphany. La Cabane is a cabin attached to what the French call ‘un food truck’, created by the owners of Michelin-starred Ed.Em. Here, I drink Saint-Aubin Premier Cru with a bowl of buttery snails, washing that down with a goblet of Chassagne-Montrachet paired with a plate of local pigeon. I wonder if there can be anything more miraculous than tasting a great wine in its birthplace, accompanied by a bird that likely fed on the very same grapes. I’ve journeyed from Saint Jacques to Saint-Aubin, and if neither martyr would’ve approved of my focus on temporal pleasures, they at least would have agreed that these wines were a link between heaven and earth, for pilgrims of all kinds.